July 10, 2012
Air Lease Corp. (ALC) yesterday stole the big order limelight at the Farnborough air show by announcing a deal worth $7.2 billion covering firm orders and options for up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The contract is the first order placed for the MAX derivative of the 737 by a leasing company and includes firm orders for 75 aircraft. Of these, 60 are for the 737-800-sized 737-8 and 15 for the larger 737-9. The deal also includes rights for an additional 25 for which ALC will have order flexibility depending on the needs of its customers.
The order is a significant endorsement for the MAX from ALC Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, who at last year’s Paris air show, and even as recently as April this year, said he was “underwhelmed” with the concept. However, Udvar-Hazy says recent changes made to the design, the adoption of a larger-diameter fan and other improvements to the CFM Leap-1B engine have changed his mind.
In a statement, Udvar-Hazy adds the 737 MAX “represents a step-change improvement that our airline clients need to compete in the future.”
Coming on top of a recently announced contract from Virgin Australia for 23 737 MAXs and four options, the ALC deal takes orders and commitments to more than 1,000 aircraft. Overall, California-based ALC has now ordered 170 Boeing aircraft—75 737 MAXs, 78 737-800s, five 777-300ERs and 12 787-9s.