International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), the world’s largest commercial leasing company and a subsidiary of American International Group, Inc, has signed a contract with Airbus for 12 new A350 aircraft.

"The Airbus A350 is the natural choice for a global lessor like us," said ILFC Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy. "The A350's innovative features combined with operational commonality with existing Airbus fleets, give it a winning performance with our customers, as well as making it an attractive asset to invest in for the future. It complements our portfolio of Airbus aircraft in which the A330 and its singe-aisle Family are the cornerstones."

ILFC was a launch customer for Airbus' A319, A321-200, A330-200, A330-300, A340-600 and A380, all market leaders in their categories, and has ordered virtually every type of Airbus airliner. It is Airbus' largest single customer worldwide. ILFC has a portfolio of more than 750 airliners. By placing an early commitment for the A350 series, including A350-800s and A350-900s, ILFC underlines the confidence leasing companies and financial markets are placing in the value of Airbus' new aircraft.

"ILFC is renowned not only for its formidable marketing success, but also as a visionary and trend-setter," said Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert. "As the premier lessor of Airbus aircraft, including the A380, we are very happy to see this renewed vote of confidence in our innovations and future plans as embodied in the A350."

With this transaction ILFC has ordered over 600 new Airbus aircraft since its first order in 1989.

Expected to enter service in 2010, the A350 Family will initially include two members. The A350-800 will carry up to 253 passengers in a three-class configuration up to 8,800 nm/16,300 km. Its larger sister, the A350-900, will accommodate as many as 300 passengers in a three-class layout up to 7,500 nm/13,890 km. These new aircraft share the technologically advanced innovations of the A380 and are endowed with the latest technologies.

With a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium lithium that combine to give the whole aircraft up to 60 per cent advanced materials, with a new landing gear, a new cabin, and up to 90 per cent new manufacturing part numbers, the A350 will have an unassailable advantage when it comes to fuel consumption and seat-mile costs, as well as cash operating costs. In addition, it will retain full operational commonality with the current Airbus widebody long range fleet, allowing this new aircraft to benefit from the "Family effect", complementing the current leading A330 and A340 Family with which it shares the same Type rating. With the ILFC endorsement, total firm orders and commitments for the new Airbus A350 now stand at 155 from 11 customers.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.