Doric is scheduled to announce the deal as early as today as the 50th Paris Air Show begins, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. The London-based company plans to outfit the superjumbo with all-economy seats on the lower deck, the person said.
Airbus has struggled to generate demand for the world’s largest plane, with no new firm orders booked so far this year against a target of 25. The A380, which costs $403.9 million at list price and seats about 525 people, hasn’t been popular with lessors, partly because airlines’ cabin customizations make the aircraft expensive to refit for another user.
Stefan Schaffrath, a spokesman for Airbus in Toulouse, France, declined to comment, as did Irena Badelska, a spokeswoman for Doric.
Doric has financed A380s for Emirates, the biggest operator of the jet, and for Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) (SIA)., the first airline to fly the plane in 2007. There were 103 A380s in service through May, with Emirates flying 33. Doric is the only leasing company to buy the plane, after International Lease Finance Corp. dropped plans for a purchase.
Doric, which has expanded its A380 financing model to more customers, has said it sees demand growing as new operators including British Airways gain familiarity with the plane. British Airways is set to receive its first A380 on July 4, and the jet will make an appearance at this year’s Paris expo.
Founded in 2005, Doric had 35 aircraft and assets of $7 billion under management, based on original costs, as of May 2013, according to the company we site. Airlines typically buy planes at a discount to list prices.
Airbus has booked 262 firm A380 orders, with Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) announcing on March 14 it would raise its total commitments to 19 planes. Airbus still has open production slots in 2015. John Leahy, the company’s chief salesman, said he’s confident he’ll fill the vacancies.
Emirates President Tim Clark has said he plans to order 30 more planes beyond 90 on order. Other airlines have said they are considering the A380 for their fleets, including PT Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines to top up more on the super jumbos and as well as Turkish Airlines, which is building a hub to challenge Persian Gulf carriers.