Air Lease Corporation Firms Huge 116 Aircraft Order With Airbus

Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has firmed up a letter of intent (LOI) the company signed with Airbus at the Dubai Air Show. The order for 116 planes covers four aircraft families and includes firm commitments for seven of the latest A350F, the cargo variant of the popular Airbus A350 widebody. Deliveries will start in 2023 and will take ALC’s backlog with Airbus to over 300 aircraft.

Air Lease Corporation Firms Huge 116 Aircraft Order With Airbus
ALC has signed a firm order for 116 aircraft with Airbus, including 25 A220-300s. Photo: Airbus

Air Lease Corporation firms up Airbus order

ALC revealed to investors that, on December 20th, it firmed its letter of intent with Airbus for commitments to purchase 116 new aircraft. This is split between 104 narrowbodies and 12 widebodies. The order breaks down as follows:

  • 25 A220-300s
  • 59 A321neos
  • 20 A321XLRs
  • Five A330-900neos
  • Seven A350Fs

The initial LOI was signed at the Dubai Air Show for 111 Airbus planes. The added five aircraft include one additional A330-900neo and four more Airbus A321neos. Deliveries under this order will start in 2023 and continue through 2028.

Air Lease Corporation Firms Huge 116 Aircraft Order With Airbus
ALC launched the Airbus A350F in Dubai. Photo: Airbus

Considering this order and the existing backlog with Airbus and Boeing, the company would have an estimated aggregate purchase commitment of $28.3 billion between both manufacturers. This does not include purchase options that ALC retains but has not exercised.

Air Lease Corporation is a major aircraft lessor based in Los Angeles. The company advertises an aircraft fleet of 459 jets with 115 customers spanning nearly 60 countries. ALC has leasing arrangements with major airlines like Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, China Southern, and more.

The growing ALC order book

At the end of the third quarter, on September 30th, 2021, ALC had a contractual backlog of 320 aircraft. This included:

  • 51 A220-300s
  • 124 A320neo family aircraft (including 31 A321LRs and 29 A321XLRs)
  • 13 A330-900neos
  • 16 Airbus A350s
  • 88 Boeing 737 MAXs
  • 28 Boeing 787s

In the fourth quarter of 2021, ALC estimates approximately 25 deliveries, split between nine from Boeing and 16 from Airbus. However, delivery delays are possible, especially considering the temporary halt in 787 deliveries due to some manufacturing issues that the planemaker is working on with regulators.

Air Lease Corporation Firms Huge 116 Aircraft Order With Airbus
ALC has weighted its order book heavily towards narrowbodies. Photo: Airbus

Excluding the 25 estimated deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2021, ALC has increased its backlog to 411 firm aircraft. ALC did not release a detailed breakdown of the deliveries of these 116 aircraft, which will likely be available when the company files its annual report early next year.

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Airbus continues to see success

The ALC order is further evidence of the success of the Airbus product lineup. The A321neo, in particular, has proven to be especially popular. Airbus has clocked massive orders from large low-cost carriers like IndiGo, AirAsia, and Wizz Air for the A321neo. Major airlines like Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Turkish, and JetBlue also are large A321neo customers.

Airbus, A321XLR, Final Assembly
Airbus is pushing for a 2023 launch of the A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

In addition, the extra-long-range variant of the A321neo, set for a 2023 debut, has kept airlines dreaming and planning of new routes and opportunities they can tap into. Some major customers include United Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, and the Qantas family.

The most recent product launch from Airbus was the freighter variant of the A350. Launched in Dubai, several major airlines and lessors have placed their bet on the A350F, which marks the next generation of Airbus’ product development on the widebody freighter front. As 2020 and 2021 have shown, cargo remains an important market, and Airbus is not looking to cede it entirely to Boeing.