Aircraft leasing - Statistics & Facts

Aircraft leasing involves the use of a lease by airlines and other aircraft operators to obtain an aircraft from either another airline or from a leasing company. With over 182 billion U.S. dollars required in funding by 2022 to meet new aircraft demand, the necessity to lease is born by the need to operate an aircraft without the financial burden of having to buy them. Aircraft leasing may also be used by an airline company in providing a temporary increase in capacity.

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 2017, AerCap’s fleet of some 1,076 aircrafts was valued at over 31.9 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 1,324 aircraft. For both companies, the average age of each one of their fleet is a little over 11 years old.

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 2017, China accounted for 31 percent of the bank debt in the aircraft leasing market.

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