Kuwait-based lessor Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALAFCO) has converted its 2007 firm order for 12 Airbus A350-800s into an order for the same number of the higher-capacity A350-900 model.
The A350-900 is the first of the three members of the A350 XWB family to be introduced and will enter service in mid 2013, according to Airbus.
ALAFCO’s main shareholder is Kuwait Finance House. ALAFCO specialises in Sharia-based commercial-aircraft leasing – that is, aircraft lease deals based on Islamic Sharia law, which prohibits the charging of interest as such but does not prohibit leasing companies charging customers a service fee for leasing aircraft to them or financing aircraft for them.
“Our customers are seeing rapid recovery in demand. The A350-900 is best suited to meet the needs of our customers in the decades to come. The A350 XWB will be a strong asset in our portfolio,” says Ahmad Al Zabin, ALAFCO’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“Growth in the industry is undeniable. As passenger traffic begins to recover, we are delighted that ALAFCO have chosen the most popular A350 XWB model. This decision is further evidence of a wider industry trend towards larger aircraft,” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer customers.
The A350-900 typically has a capacity of around 40 more seats than the smaller A350-800 model, says Airbus, which adds that the A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient, medium-capacity, long-range widebodies.
With a range of up to 8,300 nautical miles (15,400 km) the A350 XWB will be available in three basic passenger versions: the A350-800 accommodating 270 passengers; the A350-900, seating 314 passengers; and the A350-1000, which will seat 350 passengers in a typical three-class layout.
Airbus also says the A350 XWB has the widest fuselage in its category and claims it will offer the lowest operating costs and lowest seat-mile cost of any aircraft in its market segment. With power supplied by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of volatile fuel prices, rising passenger expectations and environmental concerns.
Orders for A350 XWB-family jets stand at more than 530 from over 33 customers.