In the airline leasing industry, aircraft can either be leased using wet-leasing, for short-term leasing, dry-leasing, for longer-term leases, or through a combination of both. The region with the largest fleet of aircraft on operating lease was Europe with 3,500 aircrafts on lease in 2017. It is closely followed by North America with 3,324 aircraft on lease in that same time period.
The leading aircraft operating lessor in the Asia-Pacific region is BOC Aviation. Globally, the largest independent aircraft leasing company is the Irish company AerCap. In 2019, AerCap’s fleet was valued at almost 34.5 billion U.S. dollars. The Irish-American company GECAS is the largest leasing company for commercial aircraft. The company has an estimated fleet size of around 1,143 aircraft.
Two of the main funding sources in the aircraft leasing market are through capital markets and bank debt. Funding can also be obtained using cash or export credit. China is one of the major sources of commercial bank debt used for aircraft leasing. In 2019, China accounted for 24 percent of the bank debt in the aircraft leasing market.