After $13 billion in deals, a CEO had to cancel his AmEx card

  • 'Actually Christian, my CFO authorized me to give you the American Express,' Plueger said
  • 'We had to increase the limits quite a bit,' he quipped, with Scherer holding up another corner of the card

A running gag that stretched over two days and almost $13 billion in airplane orders briefly cost a chief executive officer his platinum American Express card.

Air Lease Corp. kicked off the Paris Air Show with a 100-jet deal from Airbus SE and some banter from John Plueger, the lessor’s chief executive officer. He stopped the press conference just before the traditional contract signing, reaching into his pocket and interrupting Airbus’s chief salesman, Christian Scherer.

“Actually Christian, my CFO authorized me to give you the American Express,’’ Plueger said, pulling out his platinum card and triggering flashes of photographers and camera phones from the roomful of journalists.

“We had to increase the limits quite a bit,’’ he quipped, with Scherer holding up another corner of the card as they posed for a photo.

A day later in front of Boeing’s sales chief, Plueger was asked how he intended to finance the five Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliners that Air Lease had ordered minutes earlier. Alas, he said, he’d had to cancel his AmEx the day before because photos of his appearance with Scherer captured the card’s number.

Heh, Air Lease’s John Plueger handing over the company Amex for a job lot of Airbeese this morning. #PAS19 #PaxEx #avgeek pic.twitter.com/Ll3HNIdowm

— John Walton @ #PAS19 (@thatjohn) June 17, 2019

Plueger’s longtime business partner, Steven Udvar-Hazy, offered up a solution for the next aircraft deal.

“If you’d just used a simple American dollar," he said, holding up a bill.

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