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Leasing market: Rapid adjustment to credit crisis September 2010 Download PDF

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The post–Lehman market has been very difficult for the leasing industry but the expected funding gap for new deliveries was not as large or problematical as some analysts feared, thanks to a number of factors that include extra finance from the US Export Import Bank, the European export credit agencies and the manufacturers themselves. In addition, the debt and equity markets were not as depressed as many had feared.

In fact, Steve Hannahs, chief executive of Aviation Capital Group, says the impact of the downturn has been “very minor”, as while lease rates have dropped by up to 25% over the last 18 months, the fall in interest rates has enabled yield to remain stable. AWAS too says 2009 was, financially at least, its best ever year, and it had few repossession or credit problems. But these lessors, along with the ever–expanding BOC Aviation had one thing some others lessors didn’t – financially stable owners/parents.

There has been a flurry of asset exchanges. While Macquarie’s purchase of 53 aircraft for $2bn from ILFC in March was sparked by the need of the lessor’s troubled parent AIG to sell assets in order to repay part of the multi–billion dollar bailout from the US taxpayer since being rescued in September 2008, it also reflects the confidence (and financial strength) of a growing number of companies willing to purchase assets. It’s probably a good time to buy assets or even entire lessors, although the window of opportunity to pick up bargains may be small as the market continues to improve.

As for individual lessors, among those for sale last year were ILFC, RBS Aviation Capital and CIT Aerospace but while no buyers could be found for them, all of these companies appear to have stabilised – although this has the drawback for the industry that orders by these lessors (almost 300 in total) will now be delivered, which means less slack in the production backlog than would have been the case if one of more or these lessors had gone under or scaled back drastically.

The more stable of the established lessors have started to place orders again (with a flurry of activity at Farnborough), and they are being joined by private equity investors and others looking to enter the industry. New entrants included Sky Holding and Greenstone Aviation, but the biggest new entrant of all is Air Lease (see below), launched by ILFC founder Steven Udvar–Hazy, and to which John Plueger and other ILFC executives have joined.

Greater long–term challenges to existing lessors may come from new, Chinese leasing entities. In a recent speech Wang Changshun, vice minister of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), said that by 2025 China will require a fleet of 3,000 civil aircraft, of which around 60% will likely be leased. While this is encouraging many Western lessors to beef up their presence in the country, Chinese government policy will inevitably favour home–grown lessors, and a flurry of new companies backed by Chinese banks and industrial conglomerates is likely to emerge over the next few years.

However, the threat may be exaggerated as these companies will need to partner experienced Western lessors if they are to stand any chance of securing business outside of their domestic market. More of a problem may be the development of new Chinese (and Russian) narrowbody models, which will displace Western aircraft in the home fleets.

Aviation Strategy’s annual survey of the leasing industry (see table, below) shows that despite the downturn the overall fleet has grown year–on–year, from 6,877 a year ago to 7,308 aircraft today. And thanks to large orders from GECAS, RBS and Air Lease over the summer, lessors currently have 1,189 outstanding orders, slightly up on the 1,142 total as of a year ago (see Aviation Strategy, September 2009).


With 25 offices around the world and a fleet of more than 1,800 aircraft, General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) remains the world’s largest lessor by a very long way. In the second quarter of 2010 GECAS reported a 1% rise in net profit, to $288m, with higher underlying profit being offset by around $30m of impairment charges. As at June 30th GECAS’s assets were valued at $48.6bn (compared with $47.2bn 12 months’ earlier).

Despite the sale of a portfolio of 15 aircraft to CDB Leasing, a subsidiary of China Development Bank, for around $830m in December 2009, the fleet has grown slightly year–on–year, with 1,530 owned aircraft as well as another 300 aircraft managed on behalf of others.

As of July 98% of this fleet was placed through 2010 and 73% in 2011. 32% of the current placed fleet is with US clients, although that’s significantly down from the 47% placed there in 2005. The next most important market is the EU/Canada (25%), followed by Asia (20%), the Middle East and Africa (16%) and Latin America (7%). Altogether the portfolio is placed with 245 airlines in 75 countries around the world.

More than 70% of GECAS’s fleet is in 737NGs/A320 family aircraft/777/A330s, but GECAS explicitly states that it needs to “restock narrowbody orders”, and indeed at Farnborough GECAS announced an order for 40 737–800s, worth $3bn at list prices, as well as 60 A320 family aircraft. However GECAS also says that it is currently underweight on widebodies – 21% of its fleet are widebodies, compared with 36% in the global fleet (with 56% of GECAS’s fleet being narrowbodies, 14% RJs and 9% cargo models).

GECAS’s current order book now stands at 211 aircraft, comprising 113 Boeing aircraft (102 737s and 11 777s) and 98 Airbus aircraft, all of which are A320s. That’s a significantly higher figure than the 145 on order a year ago, and a sign that GECAS and its parent GE are financially much stronger than their closest rival.


AIG’s hoped–for sale of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) just didn’t happen, as even at the bottom of the cycle the portfolio was just too large for any one company or consortium to buy at an acceptable price.

In January AIG formally took ILFC off the market, thus forcing the lessor to raise further debt from AIG and the markets, as well as selling off a number of aircraft. In March ILFC raised $2.75bn in unsecured debt, and altogether it has raised $4.4bn in debt during the first–half of the year, which will help pay off some of the debt maturing this year.

AIG says it will continue to support ILFC through to February 2011, but ILFC insists that any further extension of support from AIG will not be necessary and that it aims to repay at least part of the $3.9bn in current loans from AIG in the near term – although that will only come about thanks to more debt issuance and the sale of assets.

The extent of ILFC’s continuing predicament was confirmed in results for the first six months of 2010, when it revealed revenue of $2.1bn – some 17.5% ($0.5bn) lower than January–June 2009. Net profit plunged from $439m in the first half of 2009 to just $48m in January–June 2010, which the lessor says was due to “impairment and other lease related charges taken on aircraft we have agreed to sell to generate liquidity to repay maturing debt obligations, and the increasing costs of borrowing”.

ILFC has already sold or earmarked for sale 59 aircraft this year, which should generate around $2.1bn of gross proceeds – but this is before impairment charges of more than $400m on these assets (which went into the first–half results). Of these the 53 aircraft being sold to Macquarie Aerospace for $2bn are among the youngest aircraft in the ILFC fleet, and the lessor has admitted the average age of its remaining aircraft will rise from 7.4 to 7.6 years once the Macquarie transaction is completed.

ILFC’s current funding woes are particularly untimely as they preclude the lessor from its traditional practice of buying aircraft at the bottom of the cycle. From a high in its order book of 360 aircraft in 2004, the total has fallen steadily since, and now stands at 115 (compared with 125 a year ago), comprising 10 737s, 74 787s, one A320, 20 A250s and 10 A380s. ILFC claims its “historic low” order book enables it to be ready to take advantage of the market upturn, but the simple fact remains that if it could afford to, it would be ordering new aircraft now.

The 115 aircraft that are on order are scheduled for delivery through to 2019 at an estimated cost of $13.5bn, and will have to be financed by more borrowing or further asset sales. Thankfully none is scheduled to be delivered this year, and just six are due in 2011, which will cost $248m. The 787s will begin arriving in June 2012, and so far Los Angeles–based ILFC has placed 24 of these aircraft with clients.

Further bad news came for ILFC in August this year when Mexicana — at which the lessor has placed 12 aircraft — filed for bankruptcy protection. It’s undoubtedly a testing period for Henri Courpron, previously an EVP at Airbus and most recently president at the Seabury Group, who became CEO at ILFC in May after the sudden departure of interim CEO John Plueger (who left just a month after he replaced former CEO and ILFC founder Steven Udvar–Hazy). Plueger reportedly was unhappy at pay caps imposed on AIG as a condition of its federal bail–out, which no doubt will not be a constraint at Air Lease.

Boeing Capital Corporation

The Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC) provides “last resort” finance for Boeing aircraft (as well as for space and defence products), and its 160 employees are based at its main office in Renton, Washington, as well as at Los Angeles, St. Louis, Moscow and Hong Kong.

In January BCC installed a new president — Mike Cave, previously a SVP at Boeing — and for the first–half of 2010 BCC had $324m of revenue, slightly down on the $330m of revenue recorded in January–June 2009, although net profit rose 48% to $62m. As at the end of June, BCC owned 267 aircraft (280 a year ago) and had partial ownership or interest in another 42 (49 a year ago), with the portfolio worth $5.3bn, compared with $5.7bn as of six months’ earlier and $6.4bn a year ago.

In its latest 10Q report BCC stated that “to the extent capital market conditions continue to improve, we believe the overall aircraft financing market should improve as well — and lessen the need for us to provide financing”.

As a lender of last resort BCC is heavily exposed to older models – 717s account for 42% of its entire portfolio by value, with the next largest categories being 757s (16%) and 737s (9%). Again by value, 25% of its aircraft are more than 11 years old, and just 11% were manufactured in 2005 or later. 69% of the fleet is with US airlines, and 60% is with just five customers: AirTran, American, Hawaiian, Continental and — unfortunately — Mexicana.


In March this year Dutch–based AerCap merged with Genesis Lease, which was listed on the NYSE but based in Shannon, Ireland (with its aircraft managed on its behalf by GECAS). The previous owners of Genesis took a 29% stake in the merged company, which now has a portfolio of 301 owned and managed aircraft worth around $7bn.

The enlarged lessor also has offices in the US, UK, Ireland, China and Singapore. Thanks to the merger, in the first six months of 2010, AerCap saw revenue almost double to $959m, although net profit fell 4% to $83m. Its portfolio is placed with 114 airlines in 49 countries, the majority of which are in Europe (45 customers), followed by North and South America (24) and the Asia/Pacific region (24).

AerCap’s fleet had an asset value of $9.1bn as at the end of June 2010, a 48% increase compared with June 2009 – although of the increase only half ($1.5bn) came from the Genesis transaction, which added 53 aircraft; the other $1.5bn increase in assets came primarily from the purchase of 39 aircraft (although in the first half of the year AerCap also sold 10 aircraft). The average age of the fleet is now 5.5 years, and 79% of aircraft are narrowbodies, including 154 A320 family aircraft and 43 737NGs.

The lessor has just 12 A330s on order, and Klaus Heinemann, CEO at AerCap, says there is “no urgent need” to order new aircraft — although he hints that they make consider placing orders for delivery in 2013 to 2015.

CIT Aerospace

CIT Aerospace is part of the CIT Group, a bank holding company quoted on the NYSE that went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November last year, although it emerged from this one month later after reorganising its capital structure substantially. The leasing arm was put up for sale, but no buyers were found and the group has reportedly decided to keep the lessor as it is now regarded as a “core business”.

CIT Aerospace has a portfolio of 300 narrowbody and widebody aircraft — approximately the same as a year ago — that are fully placed with 100 airlines in 55 countries and valued at $7bn. The lessor has 86 aircraft on order, including 10 787s, 14 737s, 44 A320 family aircraft, 11 A330s and seven A350s, with 19 due in the next 12 months, all of which have been placed with clients.

The lessor is based in New York and its executives are located at seven other CIT offices around the globe, including three in the US, one in Canada and three in Europe (in Toulouse, London and Dublin).


BBAM is essentially a reincarnation of Babcock & Brown Aircraft Management (with most of its senior executives), the lessor that was part of the operating lease division of Babcock & Brown, the Australian investment bank and asset management group that went into bankruptcy in 2009.

BBAM was formed in April 2010 from the assets of Babcock & Brown Aircraft Management by a partnership between the lessor’s management and Babcock & Brown Air, the owners of a portfolio of 62 aircraft that Babcock & Brown Aircraft Management formerly managed on its behalf (and which the newly–formed BBAM now manages). Babcock & Brown Air now owns 15% of BBAM, and 85% is owned by its management, led by Steve Zissis, the president of BBAM (and chairman of Babcock & Brown Air).

Based in San Francisco, BBAM has a fleet of 290 aircraft worth approximately $8bn, and has outstanding orders for 20 737s.

Aviation Capital Group

Based in Newport Beach, California, and with offices in London, Santiago, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore and Stamford, Aviation Capital Group (ACG) is owned by insurance giant Pacific LifeCorp. In 2009 ACG saw revenue drop 3% to $592m, although its portfolio asset value rose 13% to $6.1bn.

ACG’s portfolio of 241 owned or managed aircraft (most of which are narrowbodies) is placed with 94 airlines in 39 countries around the world. That portfolio has increased by just eight aircraft in the last 12 months, but ACG is now on the look–out for acquisitions and plans to add another 20 or so aircraft through 2010, with a medium–term goal of 360 aircraft by 2013 or 2014 as it has “excess capital”, according to chief executive Steve Hannahs.

ACG already has the third–largest order book of any lessor, which currently stands at 138 aircraft (67 737s, five 787s, seven A319s, 55 A320s and four A321s).

RBS Aviation Capital

RBS Aviation Capital suffered a blow in January when seven executives resigned to join former founder Domhal Slattery at his new leasing company Avolon.

That development undoubtedly complicated the much–delayed sale of RBS Aviation Capital, which has been expected ever since the UK government stepped in to bail out troubled parent RBS in 2008 (the government now owns 84% of RBS).

The banking group has been disposing of non–core assets since then, but a buyer for the leasing arm has not been found, hampered initially by the cancellation of orders for 20 787s last year and now by the resignation of the key executives. Reports now indicate that RBS may formally take its leasing business off the market for a while, and at least wait until the cycle peak is reached so that it can achieve a preferable price. For the moment though, it is still for sale.

Based in Dublin, RBS Aviation Capital owns or manages 240 aircraft, worth an estimated $8.1bn and placed with 53 customers, with the two most important markets being Europe (18 airlines) and the Asia/Pacific region (17 airlines).

Its order book was apparently empty, however, until this summer when at Farnborough it revealed previous orders for 43 737s and 52 A320s (which were placed with manufacturers as far back as 2008, but not previously disclosed) that are worth more than $7.5bn, and which presumably have been revealed now in order to make it appear more of a “going concern” for a potential buyer.


Headquartered in Dublin, AWAS employs 124 and has offices in New York, Miami and Singapore. The lessor is owned by Terra Firma, which is likely to be waiting until the new cycle reaches a peak before it secures a profitable exit.

For the last financial year (the 12 month period ending November 30th 2009), AWAS reported lease revenue of $763m, 9% down on the previous year due to lower lease rates and aircraft sales. However, the operating result improved from a $138m loss in 2007/08 to a $118m profit in 2008/09, while net loss improved from $369m in 2007/08 to just a $4m loss in 2008/09.

AWAS called 2009 a “challenging” year, and said its strategy has been “an aggressive focus on the minimisation of the costs of default and operating cash flow”, although it adds that it started experiencing an improvement in the leasing market in the last few months of 2009.

AWAS bought five aircraft and sold 12 in 2009, and its portfolio now stands at 207 aircraft (valued at $5bn) leased to 95 airlines in 45 countries. The lessor is relatively unexposed to a few key clients – the top five customers (SIA, Cargolux, Asiana Airlines, Kingfisher US Airways) accounted for just 17% of total revenues in that last financial year. The Asia/Pacific region is its most important market, with 38% of the fleet by value leased to clients there, followed by 28% in Europe, 22% in North America, 9% in Latin America and 3% in the Middle East and Africa.

The average age of the fleet is more than eight years, with 56% of the fleet by value being narrowbodies, and 44% widebodies. AWAS has 116 aircraft on order, including 33 737s, 79 A320 family aircraft, two A330s and two A350s.

In March AWAS announced that CEO and president Franklin Pray would be leaving the lessor, and his replacement in August was Raymond Sisson, previously CCO at SR Technics Switzerland, although before that he was with GECAS for 13 years.

BOC Aviation

Owned by the Bank of China, BOC Aviation (formerly known as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise – SALE) has continued its aggressive expansion over the last 12 months, under a so–called “counter–cyclical strategy” that was planned back in 2007, and with the lessor becoming a net buyer of aircraft from early 2009 onwards. The Bank of China is one of the world’s ten largest banks by market capitalisation, and pumped in another $100m in equity into BOC Aviation last year.

The lessor added 19 aircraft in the last 12 months, and the portfolio now stands at 118 owned and 24 managed aircraft with an asset value of $5.8bn and an average age of four years. The portfolio consists mostly of 737NGs and A320 family aircraft, which are placed with around 40 airlines worldwide.

Based in Singapore, BOC also has offices in Dublin, London and Seattle, and in 2009 its net profits rose by 28% to $137m. There are 39 aircraft on order, including 12 737s, 22 A320s, and five A330–200Fs, and the fleet is likely to grow by another 20 or 30 aircraft this year.


With 75 employees, Aircastle is based in Connecticut and has other offices in Dublin and Singapore. It does not manage aircraft for others and its focus is 5–10 year old new generation narrowbodies, “top quality” widebodies, freighters and new aircraft with ECA/Exim backed debt.

It currently has a fleet of 129 owned aircraft with a net book value of $3.7bn and an average age of around 11.5 years. They are placed with 63 clients in 36 countries, with the top five lessees accounting for 34% of revenue. By value 47% of the portfolio is placed with European airlines, 19% is in the Asia/Pacific region, 12% in each of North America and the Middle East/Africa, 9% is in Latin America and 1% are unplaced.

By value 36% of the fleet is in new generation narrowbodies, 25% is in mid–bodies, 29% are freighters, 8% older model narrowbodies and just 2% are widebodies, (with 71% of aircraft by value being passenger aircraft and 21% freighters).

Aircastle has a lease expiration spike in 2012 when almost 30 aircraft will come off leases, but this should coincide with a period approaching the peak of the next cycle. In the first–half of 2010 Aircastle’s revenue fell 3% to $261m, and net profit fell to $37m, compared with $46m in the January–June 2009 period.

Aircastle has 10 A330s on order, which will cost around $870m. In the second half of this year two A330s are scheduled to be delivered, and these have been placed to an affiliate of Hainan Airlines. Seven A330s are due to be delivered in 2011, and again these have been placed with clients (with six aircraft going to South African Airways).

Macquarie AirFinance

In April Macquarie Bank (which owns 37.5% of Macquarie AirFinance) announced a deal to buy a portfolio of 47 aircraft from ILFC for $1,671m in cash, as well as purchase rights for a further six aircraft (which would cost another $316m). The 47 aircraft are leased to 35 airlines in 27 countries (with an average lease term of five years) and currently have an average age of around four years. More than 70% of the portfolio consists of A320 family and 737NG aircraft, with the remainder being “in–production” widebodies.

Macquarie AirFinance is based in Dublin, with offices in London, Singapore and San Francisco, and prior to the ILFC deal the lessor has a fleet of 86 owned and 37 managed aircraft. The ILFC deal will occur in stages over the remainder of 2010, but when completed (assuming that the purchase rights to the other six aircraft are taken up) this will bring the lessor’s portfolio bring up to 176.

The majority of the current portfolio comprises modern narrowbodies — 44 A320 family aircraft and 35 737NGs. They are placed with 60 customers, the majority of which are in Europe (34%), the Asia/Pacific region (21%) and Central and South America (15%). Macquarie currently doesn’t have any aircraft on order.


Pembroke has seen its fleet increase slightly over the last year, to 111 owned and managed aircraft at present. The portfolio is placed with more than 20 customers around the globe, including United, SIA and Emirates.

The majority of the portfolio is narrowbodies, including 43 A320 family aircraft and 20 737s,although it also has seven 777s and five A330s. The lessor is owned by Standard Chartered and is based in Dublin, with another office in Limerick.

Airplanes Group

Delaware–based Airplanes Group had a tough 2009, due to its portfolio of “older, less fuel efficient aircraft” which resulted in lower lease rates and aircraft values, and which led to a 13% fall in revenue during its 2009/10 financial year (ending March 31st), to $210m.

Airplanes Group currently has a portfolio of 101 aircraft (down from 116 a year ago), all but six of which were on lease to 42 customers in 30 countries as of March 31st. The single largest category of aircraft is 20 737–400s, and the Airplanes Group also has 12 A320s, 11 737–500s and 11 MD–83s, with just five widebodies in its portfolio, all of which are 767s.

As of March 31st the most important market is Latin America, where it has placed 27 aircraft, of which 11 are with MexicanaClick, its single largest customer and whose parent is now in bankruptcy protection. The next important market is Europe (excluding the CIS) where 17 aircraft are on lease, the Asia/Pacific region (15) and North America (12).

Al Waha Capital

Al Waha Capital is based in Abu Dhabi and is a holding company for a variety of businesses, including an aircraft leasing operation that has ambitious growth plans. Its portfolio of owned and managed aircraft has now broken the 100 barrier (almost double the 53 aircraft it had 12 months ago), and they are valued at $4.2bn. Its focus is mostly on 737NGs and younger A320 family aircraft, although it also has widebodies in its portfolio.

They are leased to a variety of customers that include Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways in the Middle East, as well as Aeroflot, Air Canada and Malaysia Airlines. Al Waha also has a 50% stake in lessor AerVenture, which it bought last year for a reported equity commitment of $135m.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

Severe troubles within the Dubai economy has meant the deep pockets of the Dubai government are not as deep as they once were, and this has cascaded down to aerospace group Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) and its leasing operation, run by its DAE Capital division.

This has forced the cancellation of 50 aircraft (split equally between Airbus and Boeing), worth some $8bn, from its previous order book of 216 aircraft, and the 186 remaining are for 52 A320s, 23 A350–900s, 70 737NGs, 15 747s and six 777s.

The portfolio stands at 67 aircraft, which includes 11 A330s, 15 A320 family aircraft and 13 737NGs. 43 of these are fully–owned by DAE Capital, and the overall portfolio is placed with a variety of airlines around the globe, including China Southern, easyJet, Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Air New Zealand. The majority of aircraft — 35% — are placed in the Asia/Pacific region, with the next most important markets being the Middle East and Europe, each with a 25% share.


Kuwait–based lessor Alafco has 34 owned and managed aircraft (compared with 29 a year ago), comprising 18 A320 family aircraft, nine 737–800s, four 777s, two 737–900ERS, and an A310. The current asset value is $1.7bn and the lessor is targeting to reach the 50–aircraft level by the end of 2010.

Alafco is majority–owned by the Kuwait Finance House and also has a listing on the Kuwait stock exchange. In the first half of the 2009/10 financial year (the six months ending March 31st 2010) Alafco recorded an operating profit of S$32.1m and a net profit of $17.4m.

The fleet is placed with 14 customers, with 13 aircraft in Europe, 12 in the Middle East, eight in the Asia/Pacific region and one in Africa. The two most important customers are Saudi Arabian Airlines, with six A320s, and Turkish Airlines, which is leasing five 737–800s.

Alafco has orders outstanding for 45 aircraft – six 737s, 22 787s, five A320s and 12 A350- 900s.The A350 orders were originally placed back in 2007 for the 800 model, but this summer the lessor changed them to the larger capacity 900s (which will seat 314, compared with the 270 seat capacity of the A350–800).


In May AerCap sold six A320s to Avolon, a Dublin–based leasing company that was launched earlier this year after raising an initial $1.4bn in debt and equity, including $750m from three private equity funds – Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Oak Hill Capital Partners, all of which have other aviation or aircraft investments.

Avolon also has offices in New York, Shanghai and Hong Kong and is reported to already have 26 aircraft, with a number of other deals believed to be under negotiation as the lessor attempts to buy assets before the cycle improves.

Avolon wants to build up its portfolio to more than 130 aircraft over the next four years so that it becomes a medium–sized player, and according to CEO Domhal Slattery (previously founder and head of RBS Aviation Capital until 2004) its “primary focus will be on A320 and 737NG family aircraft”. However, this summer Avolon also signed a joint venture deal with AerCap, in which AerCap will manage three A330s that are on long–terms leases with Aeroflot.

Avalon is also looking to place orders for new aircraft, and at Farnborough this summer Boeing announced that 12 737–800s previously counted as unidentified (but actually ordered in December 2009) were destined for Avolon.

Other lessors

The UK’s BAe Systems Asset Management also has offices in Germany, the US and Malaysia, and currently has a portfolio of 148 jets of all types, including MD–80s, 737s, 757s and RJs. ORIX Aviation has a portfolio of 100 aircraft (down from 115 a year ago), and worth an estimated $2.1bn. Based in Dublin, it is owned by the Orix Corporation, a Japanese financial services group.

MC Aviation Partners (MCAP) is based in Tokyo and with offices in Los Angeles and Dublin, and is a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation. It has a portfolio of 100 owned and managed aircraft — down by 20 units over the past year — of which 73 are narrowbodies (with 38 737NGs and 28 A320 family aircraft) and 23 widebodies. Nearly half of the aircraft are placed with Asian/Pacific clients, with the next largest market being Europe and Africa, where 33 aircraft are leased. MCAP has one 737 on order.

Aergo Capital is a Dublin–based lessor that has a portfolio of 100 aircraft leased to 23 airlines in 20 countries. It specialises in older narrowbodies, with MD–82s and 737–2/3/400s accounting for the majority of its fleet. Two subsidiaries – Aergo Leasing (which leased 15 MD- 80s to Alitalia) and Safair (a Johannesburg–based lessor acquired in December 2008) – are being wound up, but this is apparently not affecting ongoing business at Aergo Capital.

Based in San Francisco, new lessor Sky Holding has 90 owned and managed aircraft in its portfolio. Many of its management team previously worked at Pegasus, and the company has been backed by a $0.5bn investment from Oaktree Capital Management. It also has offices in Miami, Seattle and Buenos Aires, and will launch an office in Europe sometime this year. New orders are apparently not on the horizon, but it will continue to add to the fleet from sale and leasebacks.

Sumisho Aircraft Asset Management, a subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, has been pursuing an expansion strategy and its fleet stands at 70 owned and managed aircraft, valued at approximately $2.5bn. Based in Amsterdam, the majority of the lessor’s fleet is 737 and A320 family aircraft.

The finance group parent of Sydney–based Allco Finance went into administration at the end of 2008, but the lessor’s long–awaited sale to the HNA Group, a Chinese state–owned transport and logistics group, was not completed until January this year (for a reported US$150m), after creditors finally gave the go–ahead. Its portfolio of 68 aircraft are valued at $2.7bn, and are leased mainly with Asia/Pacific airlines such as Qantas, Asiana and SIA, although it does have customers outside the region, such as Ryanair and Emirates. HNA also has stakes in a number of Chinese airlines and according to reports is looking to acquire other aircraft leasing assets.

Texan lessor Jetran International has an estimated fleet of 50 aircraft, while based in San Francisco are World Star Aviation, which manages an estimated 50 cargo and narrowbody aircraft, and Compass Capital, an asset finance and management company with around 40 owned or managed aircraft.

CDB Financial Leasing is part of the state–owned China Development Bank and in December 2009 bought a bundle of 15 aircraft from GECAS for $830m. It now has an estimated 50 aircraft in its portfolio, but this will grow strongly over the next few years. A sign of its ambition was revealed in January this year when it signed an MoU with Airbus to co–operate in a variety of leasing and financing projects over the next five years.

Based in Sydney, Global Aviation Asset Management (GAAM) also has offices in London and Dublin and has a portfolio of 50 aircraft that are placed with 25 airlines, including Air China, BA, South African Airways and Air France. The portfolio comprises 23 A320 family aircraft, three A340s, six 717s, one classic 737 and 17 737NGs.

BCI Aircraft Leasing operates out of Chicago and has a portfolio of 45 aircraft, up from 33 as of a year ago. They are valued at approximately $700m, and include a range of models, from 737s to 747s and A340s. In March Brian Hollnagel, the owner and chief executive of the lessor was indicted in the US on two bribery charges, one of which relates to an alleged bribe paid to an executive of AAR Corp in the mid 2000s to induce that company to buy two aircraft from BCI and then lease them to US Airways. Separately Hollnagel faces charges related to investments of $82m in BCI from various people, which the US SEC alleges was a so–called “Ponzi scheme”.

Guggenheim Aviation Partners is based in the US and has a portfolio of 42 passenger and cargo aircraft, with $2.7bn of assets under management. GAP is owned by Guggenheim Partners, a diversified financial services company that has 20 offices around the world. GAP has 10 aircraft on order, including two 747s, five 777s and three A330s.

RPK Capital Management is based in Chicago and has approximately 35 aircraft in its portfolio, but in April announced a partnership with the Carlyle Group for $600m in new equity, which will be leveraged up to $1bn with debt. This will be used to buy a range of aviation assets, include aircraft, which will then be leased out, and in particular RPK is believed to be targeting older aircraft, whose value have fallen the most in the last couple of years. Most of these are likely to be acquired in Europe, it is believed, and then leased out to expanding markets in the Asia/Pacific region and the Middle East.

Based in Dublin, Amentum Capital is owned by the HSH Nordbank and has 32 aircraft in its managed fleet, comprising a mix of narrowbodies and widebodies. They are on lease to 14 airlines in 11 countries, and the largest customers are Air France/KLM, which has four E190s, and Lion Air.

AAR is an Illinois–based aviation support group with offices in London and Singapore, and has a portfolio of 32 aircraft (of which five are wholly–owned) worth more than $300m. Munich–based Bavaria International Aircraft Leasing is owned by German corporate group Schorghuber, and has increased its fleet over the last 12 months from 20 to 30 aircraft, all of which are narrowbodies.

GA Telesis is a Florida–based aerospace support and maintenance company with a portfolio of approximately 30 aircraft of all types, while operating out of Connecticut is SkyWorks Leasing, which manages 30 aircraft for financial institutions, a figure that has remained static in the last year.

VGS Aircraft Holding is located in Dublin and its portfolio has eased back by three over the last year, to 29 aircraft valued at $490m. The UK’s Aircraft Leasing and Management manages an estimated 25 aircraft for clients, and Dallas–based Aircorp has a fleet of 25 aircraft, all of which are 727s and 737s.

In January US lessor First Greenwich Kahala bought 10 MD–80s on lease to Delta Airlines, its first acquisition in two years and a deal that brings its portfolio up to an estimated 25 aircraft. GMT Global Republic Aviation (GMT Global) is based in Dublin and also has an office in Colorado. It has 24 aircraft (worth approximately $500m), including narrowbodies and widebodies.

Fort Lauderdale–based Jetscape owns or manages 23 aircraft (a decrease of three in the last year), which are placed with 16 customers in 12 countries. They include two A319s at Volaris, two 737–500s at Rossiya and three E1902 at AeroMexico. Goal, a Munich–based lessor that is owned by Lufthansa (40%) and KG Allgemeine Leasing (60%), has eased back its portfolio from 26 to 22 jet aircraft over the last year. It includes four 737s, three A310s and 11 CRJs.

AerVenture, (owned 50% by Waha Capital and 50% by AerCap), has a fleet of 22 A320 family aircraft and outstanding orders for another nine of the model. Doric Asset Finance is based in Frankfurt and also has offices in London and New York. Its portfolio has risen by 50% in a year, and today stands at 21 aircraft, most of which are widebodies, and which collectively have a value of $2.2bn.

Sojitz Aircraft Leasing is based in Amsterdam and has 20 Boeing aircraft worth an estimated $490m, while Israel–based Global Knafaim Leasing (GKL) has 20 aircraft worth $250m. ICBC Leasing is owned by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and has an estimated 20 aircraft in its portfolio.Unconfirmed reports say it is negotiating to acquire a package of aircraft from GECAS.

In San Francisco Vx Capital Partners has approximately 20 aircraft, while Novus Aviation is a Swiss lessor with an estimated 20 aircraft. Automatic is based in Orlando (with offices also in Hamburg and Santiago, Chile) and has a portfolio of around 20 aircraft. In December 2009 it bought and leased back five 747–400s to KLM.

Aldus Aviation operates out of Shannon and has a portfolio of 16 E–170s and E–190s, valued at $0.4bn, while based in the UK is Skytech-AIC, which owns or manages an estimated fleet of 15 aircraft. Airbus Asset Management sells and leases aircraft for its manufacturer parent and has an estimated 15 aircraft in its portfolio, the same number as Itochu Airlease, which is based in Seattle but owned by Japan’s Itochu Corporation and whose portfolio is worth around $350m.

Working out of Gibraltar, Global Aviation Leasing has a fleet of 15 DC–9/10s and MD–80s, while Q Aviation is based in Texas and Dublin, and has a fleet of 15 aircraft worth an estimated $325m. New York–based Deutsche Bank Equipment Leasing has 14 older narrowbodies in its portfolio while headquartered in Mauritius is Veling, which has 13 aircraft, including four A340s on lease to Sri Lankan and two A310s that are with Air India.

In Singapore Aviation has 11 aircraft; California’s Tombo Aviation is owned by Japan’s Matsui & Co and has an estimated portfolio of 10 narrowbody and widebody aircraft; while Lease Corporation International is owned by the private Libra Group and is based in Dublin, with other offices in London and Singapore. It has a fleet of 10 aircraft, including A320s, 737s and A330s.

Upcoming entrants

In Singapore Phoenix Aircraft Leasing has an estimated 10 aircraft, and Frankfurt–based Deutsche Structured Finance, owned by Aareal Bank, has an estimated 10 aircraft. AerDragon Aviation Partners is based in Ireland and is a joint venture owned 50% by the China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Group Corporation, 25% by AerCap and 25% by Caylon AirFinance. It has received nine aircraft from an order for 13 A320s. At the Farnborough air show Air Lease Corporation — the new lessor launched by ILFC founder Steven Udvar–Hazy — placed orders for 31 A320s and 20 A321s, which will begin arriving in 2012. At the same time an order for 54 737–800s was also “announced”, although Boeing released a statement saying that the deal had not yet been finalised, and at the time of going to press the order had still not appeared in Boeing’s official order book. These orders follow the securing of $1.3bn in equity funding and $2bn in debt financing earlier this year. Udvar–Hazy is targeting a fleet of 100 aircraft within the next 12 months, and the Los Angeles–based lessor has already agreed sale and leaseback deals for five aircraft with Air France and six aircraft with Air Berlin.

John Slattery – brother of Avolon’s Domhal Slattery – has set up his own lessor called Greenstone Aviation. Based in Dublin, Greenstone was launched in June 2009 and had ambitious plans to buy 737s and A320s at the bottom of the cycle and open offices in New York, Beijing, Singapore and Dubai, but little has been heard of it since as it has tried to raise €0.5bn in equity funding. At the start of the year Slattery stated that its first aircraft transactions were expected by April, and that Greenstone aimed to have a portfolio worth some £3bn by the end of 2012.

US freighter leasing specialist Intrepid Aviation has ordered 20 A330–200 freighters, while Swiss–based AlphaStream Capital Management has an outstanding order for 15 A320 family aircraft. Deucalion Capital, part of Germany’s DVB Bank group, has two 777Fs on order, while two US private equity companies — MatlinPatterson and Oak Hill Capital Partners — respectively have six A330–200Fs and two 777s on order. Dubai–based LCAL(Low–Cost Aircraft Leasing) has five 787s on order.

Company Owned* Managed/
Total Boeing
GECAS 1,530 300 1,830 113 98 211
ILFC 946 103 1,049 84 31 115
BCC 267 42 309      
AerCap 256 45 301   12 12
CIT     300 24 62 86
BBAM     290 20   20
ACG     241 72 66 138
RBS     240 42 52 94
AWAS     207 33 83 116
BAe Systems Asset Management   148      
BOC Aviation 118 24 142 12 27 39
Aircastle 129   129   10 10
Macquarie AirFinance 86 37 123      
Pembroke 35 76 111      
Airplanes Group     101      
Al Waha Capital     100      
ORIX     100      
MCAP     100 1   1
Aergo Capital     100      
Sky Holding     90      
Sumisho     70      
Allco Finance/HNA     68      
Dubai Aero Capital 43 24 67 91 75 166
Jetran     50      
World Star Aviation     50      
CDB Financial Leasing   50      
GAAM     50      
BCI Aircraft Leasing     45      
Guggenheim     42 7 3 10
Compass Capital     40      
RPK Capital Management   35      
Alafco     34 28 17 45
Amentum Capital   32 32      
AAR 5 27 32      
Bavaria     30      
GA Telesis     30      
SkyWorks Leasing   30 30      
VGS Aircraft Holding     29      
Avolon 26 2 28 12   12
Aircraft Leasing and Management 25 25      
Aircorp     25      
First Greenwich Kahala   25      
GMT Global     24      
Jetscape     23      
Goal     22      
AerVenture 22   22   9 9
Doric Asset Finance     21      
Sojitz Aircraft Leasing   20      
GKL     20
ICBC Leasing     20      
Vx Capital Partners     20      
Novus Aviation     20      
Automatic     20      
Aldus Aviation     16      
Skytech-AIC     15      
Airbus Asset Management   15      
Itochu Airlease     15      
Global Aviation Leasing   15      
Q Aviation     15      
Deutsche Bank Equipment Leasing   14      
Veling     13      
Avation     11      
Tombo Aviation     10      
Lease Corporation International   10      
Phoenix Aircraft Leasing   10      
Deutsche Structured Finance   10      
AerDragon Aviation Partners   9   4 4
Air Lease Corporation       51 51
Intrepid Aviation         20 20
Alphastream         15 15
MatlinPatterson         6 6
LCAL         5 5
Deucalion Capital         2 2
Oak Hill Capital Partners       2 2
Total 3,463 767 7,308 548 641 1,189
Note: This table includes jet lessors with at least nine owned or managed aircraft. We exclude entities set up solely to manage the leasing activities of a specific airline.
*Where known.

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