Leasing company forecasts flurry of orders, with the yet-to-be-launched 650-seat stretch to dominate

International Lease Finance (ILFC) chief executive Steven Udvar-Hazy predicts a new surge in interest in the Airbus A380 following certification and service entry at the end of 2006. He forecasts that the planned A380-900 stretch will ultimately become the best-selling variant.

A380 demand surge ILFC W445
© Airbus

 Udvar-Hazy says more airlines will follow A380 operators like Emirates

“Through 2003, 2004 and 2005 we saw a lot of interest and then, as it has been going through certification, there has been a pause – which is normal. Now the market is in a wait-and-see period, but I think as soon as it is certificated we’ll see a secondary surge of those carriers that will have to compete with the likes of Emirates, Qantas and Singapore Airlines in a head-to-head environment,” he says.

Udvar-Hazy told the Speednews supplier conference in Los Angeles last week that airlines such as Air China, British Airways and Japan Airlines and others “will have to react” as they will not have anything with the “magnetism or prestige of the A380”.

ILFC, with 10 A380s on order, is currently the only leasing company to have secured slots on the double-decker’s production schedule. Udvar-Hazy says “we anticipate later this year you’ll see additional orders placed”. He predicts that the yet-to-be-launched 650-seat -900 stretch will “be the predominant version when we look back 20 years from now. I think the stretch will be the mainstay of the fleet.”

Meanwhile, ILFC sees continuing strong growth in the leasing business and predicts that “around one-third of all commercial aircraft will be leased by 2010”. Udvar-Hazy says the reliance of carriers on operating leases has mushroomed, with the leased fleet growing, as a percentage of the global passenger fleet value, from 14% in 1990, to 24% in 2005.

Leasing companies have almost 720 commercial airliners on back order, of which ILFC has the largest share, with around 290 aircraft yet to be delivered. The bulk of these are single-aisle aircraft, such as the Airbus A320 family (131), and Boeing Next Generation 737 (69), but with substantial orders still held for the 777 (22), 787 (20), A350 (16) and A330 (22).


Source: Flight International