Emirates-based airline orders 20 Sukhoi jets from Russia in US$1 billion deal

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), the world's largest commercial leasing company, announced Tuesday an order for 12 new Airbus A350 aircraft.

The deal, worth some US$2 billion (Ђ171 billion) was announced during the third day of the Dubai Airshow, the region's largest aircraft exhibition.

"The Airbus A350 is the natural choice for a global lessor like us," said ILFC chairman and chief executive officer Steven Udvar-Hazy.

ILFC is Airbus' largest single customer world-wide. It was a launch customer for several of Airbus' aircraft, including the double-decker A380, the world's largest passenger plane.

On Monday, ILFC announced a firm order for 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with four additional options, a deal worth about US$2.7 billion (Ђ2.3 billion).

Boeing touts the 787, which is scheduled to enter service in 2008, as up to 20 percent more fuel-efficient than any similar plane on the market today. Boeing's plane is competing with the Airbus A350, which is due to enter into service with airlines in 2010.

Also at the Air Show Tuesday, an Emirates-based aircraft leasing company announced an order for 20 Sukhoi Regional Jets from Russia in a deal worth US$1 billion (Ђ85 million).

Concord Aviation will receive the planes over five years, beginning in 2009, according to a Sukhoi statement.

The Regional Jet, which flies short and medium-length routes, is a new plane that is due to make its maiden flight in 2007.

Concord, a start-up leasing company, is the first Sukhoi customer outside Russia, "a real breakthrough which enables the Regional Jet program to open up new markets," said Sukhoi director-general Victor Subbotin.

Sukhoi is a major manufacturer of Russian fighter jets.

Russian aircraft manufacturers have struggled to attract foreign customers in recent years because many of their planes do not meet European noise and emissions standards, reported AP. P.T.

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