Udvar-Hazy Says Jet Now "Satisfies The Market"
One of Airbus' biggest question
marks regarding the transition of orders for its original A350 jet,
to the significantly revamped A350 XWB, has been answered.
International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) and Airbus have
concluded a revision of ILFC's original 16 A350 order to 20 A350
XWBs. The revised agreement by the world's largest commercial
leasing company by fleet value, and a subsidiary of American
International Group, Inc, is for both the -800 and the -900
As ANN reported, ILFC founder
and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy (right) was among the most vocal critics
of Airbus' original plan for the A350, which called for an
essentially re-vamped A330 widebody mated to a new wing and
Stung by his March 2006 comments, Airbus put the program through
five revamps... resulting in today's XWB, which will utilize
composite fuselage panels and support structures (though NOT in
the "barrel" form adopted by Boeing for its 787, as ANN reported
in September -- Ed.) in addition to a
lighter, stronger wing mated to fuel-efficient turbofans.
In perhaps the most significant news of this announcement,
Udvar-Hazy finally gave his approval to the A350 design. "Airbus is
now offering an outstanding product which satisfies the market and
our requirements," says ILFC Chairman and CEO Steven
It is still telling, however, that ILFC has but 20 A350 XWBs on
order, compared to 74 Boeing 787s... reflective of the latter's
popularity in the market, compared to its Airbus rival.
Airbus President and CEO Thomas Enders said ILFC's commitment
shows the planemaker now has a truly viable alternative to the
"ILFC's order confirms that the A350 XWB is a very attractive
asset for a leading lessor. It is yet another strong endorsement by
the financial community for our all new product," Enders said. "The
all-new A350 XWB will bring unrivalled operating performance and
economics, whilst passengers will enjoy more comfort in a highly
advanced and more spacious cabin. Being extremely fuel efficient
and quiet, it will also set new standards in terms of environmental
ILFC has the option to also select the -1000 version upon
request. ILFC's commitment brings total orders for the A350 XWB to
196, from nine customers.