Air Lease Will Be Launch Customer for Airbus A350F

Los Angeles-based ALC intends to buy 111 new Airbus jets, including seven of the new freighter variant.

Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has agreed to become the launch customer for the Airbus A350F—the freighter version of the A350.

ALC signed a letter of intent to purchase 111 new Airbus aircraft, including seven of the new freighters, both companies announced in a statement Monday at the Dubai Air Show.

The multibillion dollar deal, which is expected to be final in the coming months, makes the Los Angeles-based ALC one of Airbus’ largest customers.

Founded in 2010, ALC has ordered 496 Airbus aircraft to date. The letter of intent also includes 25 A220-300 airliners, making ALC among the largest A220 customers in Airbus’s order book.

The ALC-Airbus deal also includes:

  • 55 A321neos
  • 20 A321XLRs
  • Four A330neos

“With this major order, we underscore our confidence not only in the strong future and growth of global commercial air transport, but in ALC’s business model, in our specific aircraft purchase decisions including, for the first time, the new A350 freighter, and finally in our long term view that ordering new aircraft is an optimum investment of our shareholder capital,” said John L. Plueger, ALC CEO and president, in a statement Monday.

Airbus said the A350F offers at least 20 percent lower fuel burn than the competition and is the only new generation freighter aircraft that will be ready for the 2027 International Civil Aviation Organization CO2 emissions standards.

Why This Matters

This order would position Airbus to gain a larger market share of the global freight market which Boeing has long dominated. In their World Air Cargo Forecast for 2020-39, Boeing predicts that the global freighter fleet could grow by more than 60 percent to more than 3,260 in the next two decades.

During the COVID pandemic, while passenger traffic plummeted, passenger carriers relied on air freight to bolster revenue. The current supply chain crisis has made additional air freight capacity particularly important.

“With foresight, ALC is solidifying its order portfolio for the most desirable aircraft types as we exit the crisis and in particular, it has seen the formidable value the A350F brings to the cargo market,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International.

“ALC’s endorsement confirms the global enthusiasm we see for this quantum leap in the freighter space and we applaud its insightfulness in selecting it and in beating everyone to the finish line for the first A350F order announcement.”

Delivery is expected to begin in 2026.

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