Airbus lands $9B order for rivals to 787, 777, 737

Airbus has won a $9 billion order for A350 and A320 new engine option jets from Air Lease Corp., the European jet maker said Monday.

ALC’s order consists of 20 A350-900 and five A350-1000; both are versions of Airbus’ new A350XWB, which will compete with the larger version of Boeing’s 787 and its 777 aircraft. The lessor also exercised options from a previous order for 14 A320neo jets, Airbus said in a statement.

The Los Angeles-based leasing company also has options to buy five additional A350-1000s.

“The A350 XWB family is becoming the industry benchmark for efficiency in the long-haul segment,” Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, CEO of Air Lease, said in a statement.

Udvar-Hazy, who is considered one of the most influential figures in commercial aviation, helped found International Lease Finance Co. He left ILFC, which is owned by American International Group, to start Air Lease Corp. in 2010.

“ALC offers its customers the most modern, efficient aircraft on the market, and both the A350 XWB and the neo fit right in that category,” Udvar-Hazy said.

Airbus’ A320neo competes with Boeing’s Renton-built 737 MAX. Airbus’ A320neo is set to enter commercial service in 2015. Air Lease has a total of 50 A320neo jets on order.

ALC’s order pushes Airbus’ A350XWB order tally past 600 to 617 and makes the leasing company the 35th A350 customer. The smaller A350, the A350-800, is scheduled to enter service in 2014. Airbus’ A350 family of jets seat between 270 and 350 passengers.

Air Lease’s A350 order comes as Boeing struggles to resolve 787 issues, which have led to the Dreamliner’s grounding. Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney said last week that the company continues work on the 787-9 and could launch the larger 787-10 by year’s end.

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