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Fleet size of the leading lessors in the aircraft operating lease market 2019

In 2019, the largest aircraft operating lessor was Irish-American company, GECAS, who maintained a fleet of 1,143 aircraft. Second was Irish aircraft leasing company, AerCap, with 1,016 aircraft in their fleet.

Airline leasing

Aircraft leasing is where commercial airlines lease an airplane from a third party rather than purchase it from the manufacturer. The aircraft can be leased for a shorter or longer period, and with or without a crew. The primary benefit of leasing is that it allows an airline to deploy new aircraft quickly – a new order from an aircraft manufacturer would likely take years to be delivered, whereas leasing companies already own the aircraft, meaning they can be deployed in a matter of months. In 2017, there were nearly 10,000 leased aircraft globally and leasing accounted for 17 percent of all new aircraft financing. It is estimated that the aircraft leasing market will be worth 473.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2026.


GECAS stands for GE Capital Aviation Services, with the company being a subsidiary of GE Capital who provides financing and leasing services for commercial aircraft. In the financial year of 2018, GECAS were the largest single segment of GE Capital. Note that GECAS are distinct from GE Aviation, with the latter being a subsidiary of parent company General Electric who build aircraft engines. GE Aviation is the largest single division of General Electric .

Leading aircraft operating lessors in 2019, by fleet size

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period


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Statistics on "Aircraft leasing market worldwide"

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