Dubai Air Show

DAE challenges leasing rivals with mammoth airliner deal

 - November 12, 2007, 11:15 AM

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise made good on a promise to challenge the aerospace industry’s established aircraft leasing giants by committing to orders for 200 new Airbus and Boeing jets worth more than $27 billion.

DAE chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum yesterday officially added $13.5 billion to Airbus’ already bursting order book when he and the European consortium’s CEO, Tom Enders, signed a letter of intent for 70 A320 family aircraft plus 30 A350s. Later in the day, Sheikh Ahmed joined Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson and other executives to formalize a commitment for 70 Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft and 30 widebodies split among the Boeing 787, 777 and 747.

DAE Capital will hold discussions with commercial banks and other investment sources about financing opportunities for the orders, said Bob Genise, CEO of DAE Capitol. DAE formed the business unit last year to take on GE Capital Aviation Services and International Lease Finance Corp., the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies.

“This deal, along with DAE’s access to efficiently priced capital, will help DAE generate significant returns for our investors,” Genise said. “Moreover, it allows DAE Capital to offer all airlines attractively priced operating lease terms and will help us to become a major force in the industry.”  

Deliveries of the A320s are due to start in 2013, with the first A350 following in 2018. The last delivery is scheduled for 2022. Rolls-Royce shared in the deal to the list-price tune of $1.2 billion for Trent XWB engines to power the A350s. Genise said a significant part of the fleet would find homes in the Middle East but much of it would go elsewhere around the globe.

Genise added that the Airbus deal would become firm by the end of the year: “We’ve done a lot of definitive agreements with Airbus so we know what we have to do to get it done.” Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy said the addition of the 30 DAE airplanes to the 266 firm sales already announced for the A350 meant the order total for the type would reach 300 by the end of the year, “a record for any aircraft ever.”

Deliveries from Boeing will start in 2010 and continue through 2018. DAE selected GE’s CFM56-7B for the 737s, GEnx engines to power five Boeing 747-8s and the GE90-115B for 10 777-300ERs. Customers for the airplanes have not yet been identified, Genise said.

The Dubai government created DAE two years ago to build a $15 billion global aerospace, manufacturing and services company. Genise stressed that the $27.2 billion the company is spending on airliners is separate from the original startup investment, which in a very short span of time has involved the purchase of large maintenance facilities and commercial airports around the world.