International Lease Finance (ILFC) has revealed that it is close to placing two Airbus A380s with Air China. "We are in serious discussions with Air China for the lease of two aircraft in time for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing," says ILFC chairman and chief executive Steve Udvar-Hazy in an interview published by Airbus last week to mark the A380 "reveal" ceremony.

Five A380 freighters form part of ILFC's 10 orders for A380s, which include two passenger versions that have already been placed with Emirates. Udvar-Hazy adds that negotiations are being held "with European and Asian airlines which are now looking to be part of the A380 story".

Airbus, meanwhile, now expects to finalise the long-awaited deal with an undisclosed Asian airline for five A380s by the end of March.

Source: Flight International