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September 7, 2020

China aircraft lessors now rival Ireland in top 50 rankings

By Zoe Wickens

The number of China-based aircraft lessors that rank among the global top 50 increased by more than 40% in Q2 2020, compared with Q4 2019, according to data provider Cirium.

The global travel and data analytics company, which monitors the activity of the world’s lessor fleet, said China-based lessors comprise more than a quarter of its global 50 ranking, from nine in Q4 2019 to 13 in Q2 2020, matching the number of Ireland-based lessors and overtaking the number of US-based lessors, which is 12.

Regarding portfolio value and fleet size, China-based lessors account for 19% and 15% of the global top 50 totals respectively, with Ireland-based lessors having the largest total portfolio value of 35% and US-based lessors having the largest total fleet size of 36%.

Rob Morris, global head of consultancy at Ascend by Cirium, said: “Some lessors, like Singapore-based BOC Aviation and Ireland-based Standard Chartered Aviation Finance, have used their parents’ financial backing to support customers and bolster their fleets by adding aircraft via large sale-and-leaseback deals. As a result, they have advanced their positions on the leader board.

“In order to cope with the strains on cash flows from struggling airlines unable to pay rent, many lessors have been building their liquidity and deferring orders.

“The top five global lessors alone have deferred over 75 aircraft orders and cancelled nearly 200 since the health crisis began,” he added.

Cirium has monitored 213 lessors based in 32 countries in Q2 2020, with the criteria receiving an update in 2020 to include aircraft on finance lease. Most companies have seen a downward shift in values due to a surplus of equipment and evaporating demand.

Cirium said: “Some lessors, like Singapore-based BOC Aviation and Ireland-based Standard Chartered Aviation Finance, have used their parents’ financial backing to support customers and bolster their fleets by adding aircraft via large sale-and-leaseback deals. As a result, they’ve advanced their positions on the leader board.”

Ireland’s AerCap is the world’s biggest aircraft lessor and the top five are either from Ireland or the US.

Rahul Oberai, managing director, Asia Pacific, Cirium, said: “As airlines seek to generate liquidity in the near term, they are offering aircraft for sale-and-leaseback.

“There have already been almost 100 such used aircraft sale-and-leasebacks in 2020, with airlines active in this market including China Airlines and Cathay Pacific in Asia, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue in North America, and EasyJet in Europe.”

 

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