Doric unveils $8 billion Airbus A380 order

Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:52am EDT
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By Maria Sheahan

PARIS (Reuters) - Transport financier Doric Lease Corp said it would buy 20 Airbus EAD.PA A380 aircraft in a deal worth $8 billion at list prices and could snap up more, putting the planemaker on track to hit its full-year order target for the superjumbo.

Airbus is aiming to sell 25 A380s this year, up from nine in 2012, when orders were hurt by the discovery of wing cracks that shortened the life of certain parts and forced the company to make costly repairs.

"If those last five are still available at year-end and we can get a good deal on them, we'll certainly think about it," Doric Chief Executive Mark Lapidus told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Paris Airshow on Monday.

Two more A380 orders are already in the pipeline from German flagship carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote), whose board has approved the purchase, but its executive vice president of group fleet management, Nico Buchholz, said on Monday it was not yet clear when that deal would be finalized.

With a fleet of 35 aircraft and $6 billion worth of aviation assets under management based on the original cost, Ireland-based Doric is considerably smaller than industry leaders such as GECAS (GE.N: Quote) and International Lease Finance Corp (AIG.N: Quote).

It is the world's 11th biggest aircraft lessor overall, but a number of A380 transactions - including for Emirates EMIRA.UL and Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI: Quote) - have pushed it to the No. 3 spot for the leasing of wide-body aircraft.

That gave the leasing company clout to put what Lapidus called "tremendous pressure" on Airbus over what he felt was a lack of communication on the A380 wing cracks.

"We definitely told Airbus, 'look guys, you've got a fire on your hands and you need to come out with some information'," Lapidus told Reuters. "There was a bit of a clash."   Continued...

An Airbus A380 performs a display flight at the Farnborough Airshow 2012 in southern England July 9, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor