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Aircraft-leasing firm ILFC to open office in Amsterdam

January 26, 2011 | 11:27 am

Courpron

Century City-based International Lease Finance Corp., one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, announced plans to set up a regional office in Amsterdam by this summer.

The company, better known as ILFC, said it intends to use the office to expand its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The markets "are critical to ILFC’s present and future success," CEO Henri Courpron said in a statement.

Aircraft leasing, the business of buying planes and renting them to airlines, "is certainly one of a global nature and our desire is to be closer to our customers so that we may be increasingly responsive in the support and strategies we offer," he said.

The move comes at a time when aerospace analysts are forecasting a sustained upswing in sales and production in the commercial aircraft business. In particular, the regions that ILFC is targeting with the new office are expected to have a growing demand for planes as airline traffic grows in coming years.

The Amsterdam office also marks a renewed expansion push for ILFC, which hasn’t placed an order for new passenger jets since 2007. The company, which owns a fleet of about 950 aircraft, was hampered in its ability to buy new jets due to the financial crisis that nearly brought down its parent company, American International Group Inc.

In 2008, AIG received commitments of up to $182.5 billion in bailout money from the federal government after its near-collapse. The government began overseeing AIG operations and even placed limits on salaries of the company's top executives, including those at ILFC.

Courpron, a former executive at European commercial jet maker Airbus, took over as chief executive last May. He replaced ILFC co-founder Steven Udvar-Hazy, who had abruptly left the company three months earlier to start a rival business, Air Lease Corp.

ILFC said the new office would be managed by Colin Bole, who most recently held an executive position with Irish aircraft lessor Macquarie AirFinance.

-- W.J. Hennigan

Photo: CEO Henri Courpron at ILFC's offices in Century City. Credit: Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times

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