Air Lease Founder Mulls A220 Deal as Airbus Brings ‘Credibility’

(Bloomberg) -- Steven Udvar-Hazy, Air Lease Corp.’s founder and chairman, is studying his first potential orders of the Airbus SE A220 now that the European planemaker controls the single-aisle jetliner.

Airbus’s sales and engineering expertise brings greater potential to the aircraft, Udvar-Hazy said Sunday. The program was developed by Canada’s Bombardier Inc. and formerly known as the C Series before Airbus took over a majority stake July 1.

“It’s a more attractive prospect,’’ Udvar-Hazy said in an interview in London ahead of the Farnborough air show. “This has changed the whole landscape in terms of its credibility.’’

An order from Air Lease would provide the A220 with a seal of approval from one of the world’s most closely watched jet purchasers. Udvar-Hazy has been nicknamed the “godfather’’ of aircraft leasing for his role in founding the industry.

Airbus, which last week won a A220 deal from JetBlue Airways Corp., is trying to quickly build an order book for the plane, while also seeking to make the aircraft more viable by squeezing supply-chain costs. JetBlue’s 60-jet order was valued at $5.4 billion based on list prices. Delta Air Lines Inc. is also a buyer of the plane.

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Udvar-Hazy declined to say when he would consider placing an order the jet, or whether any deals would be announced this week in Farnborough.

He said he’d like to see the A220 win an order from another U.S. carrier and predicted it would sell well in other markets such as Europe and Australia. The plane has gotten positive feedback from operators including Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss unit, Air Baltic and Korean Air, he said.

More sales for the A220 would have a “detrimental effect’’ on Airbus’s own A319 narrow-body plane, Udvar-Hazy said. The impact will be worse for the A319 if oil prices continue to rise, he said.

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