Dubai Air Show

ILFC first 787 lessor

 - December 7, 2006, 9:31 AM

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has become the first named major lessor to order the Boeing 787 under an agreement covering twenty 787-8 and -9 aircraft (and options on a further four) valued at $2.7 billion at list prices. Deliveries are set to start in January 2010 and continue through the following year.

ILFC president and chief operating officer John Plueger said he is “supremely confident” that the new 787 is “the aircraft of the future”–a revolutionary design that was driving the next-generation “platform.” The lessor is continuing its established policy of taking about 10 percent of new airliner production, having recently accepted its 50th Model 777, out of 530 so far delivered; its total fleet is about 750 aircraft.

With this order ILFC becomes the 25th identified customer for the 787, for which Boeing now holds more than 300 orders and “commitments.” Inadvertently mixing Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 nomenclature, Plueger said ILFC had not yet specified the mix of “-800s and -900s” it would take. He also said ILFC had not talked with Boeing “very much about the -10.”

The 787-10 is expected to be a further stretch that the U.S. manufacturer declines to confirm beyond saying it is always looking at alternative variants. The lessor is working with three potential 787 lease customers.

Meanwhile, new lessor Low-Cost Aircraft Leasing (LCAL) has identified itself as a previously unnamed launch customer for the Boeing 787-8, having ordered six Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered airliners on May 16 this year. LCAL also is negotiating the acquisition of nine General Electric GEnx-engined 787-8s and -9s and will operate no other type. The aircraft, which are nominally valued at $780 million but are subject launch-customer discount, will be delivered starting in September 2009.

One way in which the new lessor seeks to manage cost is through use of supplier’s service programs, such as the “care” packages provided by Boeing, GE and Rolls-Royce. For example, R-R’s program permits aircraft to be transferred between lessees without “having to worry about return conditions on the engines,” said the engine-maker.

LCAL is partnered by Al Jomaih, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent and successful holding companies whose activities range from soft drinks to foodstuffs to automobiles. Its operating base will be in Hong Kong, but much of its business will be conducted on the Internet.