Airbus Wins Air Lease Launch Order For A350 Freighters

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Airbus
Airbus Wins Air Lease Launch Order For A350 Freighters

European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) secured a provisional debut order for seven A350 freighter jets from U.S. leasing company Air Lease Corp (AL.N) on Monday, stepping up efforts to challenge Boeing for a bigger slice of the booming cargo market.

The expansion of e-commerce has accelerated since the global pandemic, while upcoming international rules on plane emissions are putting pressure on freight operators to modernise fleets.

“It is very clear that … e-commerce is a very stabilising factor in the freighter market place and a growing factor,” said Air Lease Chief Executive John Plueger.

A letter of intent for the freighters signed at the Dubai Airshow on Monday also included more than 100 passenger jets: 25 A220-300s, 55 A321neos, 20 A321XLRs and four wide-body A330neos.

Industry sources said the coveted endorsement from one of the powerhouse lessors that drive the $150 billion jet market may have included sweeteners such as some conversions between models and attractive delivery slots for the in-demand A321XLR.

“We are supremely confident with this order, and that we will have more orders in the future,” Air Lease Corp (ALC) Chief Executive John Plueger said.

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The order will be finalised in coming months, Airbus said, without giving a value for the deal.

Airbus and ALC also said they would launch a multimillion-dollar ESG (environmental, social and governance) fund initiative that would contribute towards investment into sustainable aviation development projects.

Boeing, which dominates the market for cargo planes, is expected to launch a competing freighter version of its 777X wide-body passenger plane within weeks. It said on Sunday it was in advanced talks with potential customers.