FARNBOROUGH: Udvar-Hazy returns with 51-aircraft A320 deal

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Industry legend Steven Udvar-Hazy has signalled his return, signing for 51 Airbus A320 family aircraft for his new venture Air Lease Corporation (ALC). The new venture aims to increase its portfolio to 200 aircraft within three years.

The $4.4 billion Airbus order covers 31 A320s and 20 A321s, with deliveries of the former due to begin in January 2011 and the overall order running to 2015.

Udvar-Hazy was founder and former chairman of mega-lessor International Lease Finance and is now head of ALC.

John Plueger, a fellow ex-ILFC executive and now ALC chief executive, says: "We'd like to have about a 100-aircraft fleet within next 12-18 months and a similar order of magnitude in the following 12-18 months."

john leahy & stephen udvar hazy (middle & right), h.gousse/airbus
 © H.Gousse/Airbus
John Leahy & Stephen Udvar Hazy (middle & right)

He adds that the growth will be achieved through a mix of new aircraft orders and sale/lease back transactions.

Hazy says that ALC's planned expansion will be financed "by profits, hopefully".

Air Lease took delivery of its first aircraft, an A320 taken through an Air Berlin sale and leaseback, on 19 May. It has also completed a sale/leaseback deal for an A330-200.

Most of the A321s ordered will be equipped with "sharklet" winglets to give the type improved take-off and range performance, says Udvar-Hazy. He adds that the lessor would take a mix of CFM International CFM56 and International Aero Engines V2500 engines for the new fleet.

Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says that the early initial deliveries are the result of a deal that Udvar-Hazy concluded with Air New Zealand for two aircraft prior to the establishment of ALC.