The world’s largest aircraft leasing company, AerCap, has just delivered the first of eight new Airbus A321neo aircraft to China’s Loong Air. The aircraft, registered B-323U, is the first of eight new A321neos that the European planemaker will deliver to Looing Air between now and the end of 2022.
The aircraft left the Airbus factory at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) on August 13, 2021, for the 5,336-mile flight to Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) in China. The A321neo needed to stop at Novosibirsk International Airport (OVB) in Russia to fly from Germany to China.
HGH and PEK and HGH and CAN
Following the successful delivery, the plane was deployed on a test flight between Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) and Wenzhou Longwan International Airport (WNZ) in southern Zhejiang Province. Three days later, Loong Air deployed the aircraft again for a two-hour, 45-minute flight from HGH to Xining Caojiabao Airport (XNN) in Qinghai Province.
#AerCap has delivered the first of 8 new @Airbus #A321neo aircraft, on lease, to Loong Air. It’s the first aircraft of its type to enter Loong Air’s fleet and is equipped with 8 business class seats.#WeAreAerCap #AVGeek #AircraftLeasing #AviationFinance #A320Family pic.twitter.com/r4B71v3EJG
— AerCap (@AerCapNV) August 18, 2021
According to ch-aviation Loong Air plans to use the aircraft daily between HGH and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN).
Rather than the standard 220 seats, Loong Air has configured its Airbus A321neo with eight business class seats and 202 economy class seats for a total of 210 seats.
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About Loong Air
Loong Air was first launched as a cargo airline in 2012 and flew under the name CDI Cargo. The airline started life with a single Boeing 737-300F before applying to the Civil Aviation Administration of China to become a passenger airline. Rebranding itself as Loong Air, it ordered eleven A320s and nine A320neos to use for passenger flights. Since then, according to ch-aviation the fleet has grown and now includes the following aircraft:
- 28 x Airbus A320-200s
- 27 x Airbus A320-200neos
- 1 x Airbus A321-200neo
- 3 x Boeing 737-300Fs
From its base at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH), Loong Air flies to 27 destinations. As well as domestic flights within China, Loong Air also flies to Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Myanmar, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
With its headquarters in the Irish capital, Dublin, AerCap is currently the largest aircraft leasing company in the world. As of June last year, AerCap had 1,035 planes in its portfolio. AerCap has over 200 customers in 80 counties and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange trading under the symbol AER.
Besides its headquarters in Dublin, AerCap also has offices in Shannon (Ireland), Los Angeles, Singapore, Amsterdam, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi. Because of primarily doing business with Boeing and Airbus, AerCap also has offices in Seattle and Toulouse.
In 2013 AerCap acquired the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) for around $5.4 billion. $3 billion was paid upfront in cash, while the remaining $2.4 billion was paid in newly issued AerCap common stock. Once completed, the deal gave AerCap a total of $43 billion in assets.
As the company continues to grow in March of this year, AerCap announced it was buying GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) for US$24 billion in cash and $1 billion of AerCap notes, and approximately 46% of the combined business in shares. The acquisition was approved by the AerCap board but is still subject to regulatory approvals.
Have you ever flown with Loong Air? If so, please tell us what you think of them in the comments.