* Doric signs MoU for 20 Airbus A380s
* Order to be finalised in coming months
* Deliveries seen from 2016
* Order is big step toward Airbus 2013 A380 order target
By Maria Sheahan
PARIS, June 17 Transport financier Doric Lease
Corp said it would buy 20 Airbus 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, 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 finalised.
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 and International Lease Finance
It is the world's 11th biggest aircraft lessor overall, but
a number of A380 transactions - including for Emirates
and Singapore Airlines - 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."
Still, Lapidus said he believed in the long-term future of
the A380 and said he was seeing lively interest from airlines
for A380 leases, which cost about $2.5 million a month.
"We see how airlines that do not yet have the A380 are
interested in it and approach us and ask questions, which shows
us that there is pent-up demand for this aircraft," he told a
"If anything, we are perhaps under-ordering the A380."
He said there were about 10-15 airlines that were potential
first-time customers for the new A380s but said he hoped all 20
aircraft could be placed in only two or three transactions,
without being more specific.
The order is expected to be finalised within a few months,
with deliveries due to start in 2016.
In contrast to larger peer ILFC, Lapidus said he did not
believe it would be difficult to place used A380s down the line
because it was relatively easy and inexpensive to reconfigure
the aircraft for a new customer, at less than $5 million.
"I'm actually already seeing interest from customers for the
first A380s coming off lease at Singapore Airlines in 2017/18,"
ILFC CEO Henri Courpron said earlier on Monday he was not
warming to the superjumbo after his company scrapped an order
for 10 A380s more than two years ago.
"The A380 is a great plane. But it's not a great plane for
our business," he said. "The first lease is not a problem. But
what happens five or 10 years down the line? Nobody has done a
used A380 deal yet. I don't want to be the first one."