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Century City's Air Lease posts third-quarter profit

November 11, 2011 |  4:11 pm


Air Lease Corp., the aircraft leasing company started last year by Los Angeles billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy, reported a profit for the third quarter, citing strong demand for its aircraft amid airline expansion in many regions of the world.

The Century City company reported late Thursday that net income for the three-month period ended Sept. 30 came to $18.3 million, or 18 cents a share. Analysts had expected a profit of 15 cents a share. Revenue totaled $92.1 million.

Air Lease bought 14 planes during the quarter and now has a fleet of 79 aircraft. The company plans to expand to about 100 planes by the end of the year.

“Passenger airline growth in many regions of the world continues at a strong rate, coupled with the requirement on the part of all carriers to constantly push toward newer and more efficient fleets,” Udvar-Hazy, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “As such, global demand for new aircraft remains strong, and our lease placements and portfolio returns are in line with our expectations.”

Air Lease is growing its business by focusing on emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, where fast economic growth is driving an increase in air traffic.

During the quarter, Air Lease signed deals with airlines that included South Korea’s Asiana Airlines Inc., Colombia’s Aerovías del Continente Americano and Brazil’s Gol Transportes Aéreos.

Udvar-Hazy, a Hungarian emigre, made a name for himself pioneering the business of buying planes and leasing them to airlines when he co-founded International Lease Finance Corp. nearly four decades ago.

After a rift with ILFC, Udvar-Hazy left to start Air Lease last year. He took the company public in April.

Air Lease shares rose 49 cents, or 2%, to $23.16 on Friday.


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-- W.J. Hennigan

Photo: Air Lease Corp. CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy. Credit: Lai Seng Sin / Associated Press