The largest aircraft leasing company in the world, AerCap, is deferring the delivery of 37 aircraft. The deliveries were expected to take place over the next two years but have been pushed back to 2023. This is just the latest in a series of delays by customers, as a lengthy post-pandemic recovery is expected for the aviation industry.
The aircraft types being deferred remain unspecified by AerCap. Given the challenges of the current aviation climate and decline in travel across the board, the aircraft being deferred could be of any size.
The lessor says that this move to reschedule deliveries will help it to reduce its capital expenditures in 2020 and 2021, by a total of about $4.7 billion.
“We expect our cash capital expenditures during these years to decrease further as we continue our discussions with the aircraft manufacturers and our customers. All of the aircraft delivering in 2020 and 2021 have already been placed on long-term leases,” – AerCap Holdings
The knock-on effect
AerCap’s move is one in a series brought about by COVID-19 and its disastrous effect on the air travel industry. Countries imposing strict travel bans have resulted in reduced travel. This has led to airlines reducing capacity and flight schedules.
Thus, with more aircraft than necessary, some airlines have chosen to expedite the retirement of older aircraft. We’ve seen this move from airlines like Air Canada, Air France, Lufthansa, and many more. With a slow recovery anticipated, an outright retirement saves the expense of daily and weekly maintenance of parked aircraft.
At the same time, some airlines are choosing to defer the delivery of new aircraft. We’ve seen this with ANA and their single remaining A380 order, as well as AirAsia and their orders of A320-family jets.
Therefore, it’s not a huge surprise that AerCap has announced this latest move. With commercial airlines being the main customer for the aircraft lessor, it would not expect to have much new business in the next little while either.
In fact, as lease contracts expire over the next few months and aircraft are returned to lessors, the number of un-leased aircraft will likely go up. Earlier this month, we saw South African Airways return four of its A330-200s to their respective lessor – something the failing (or failed) airline is probably happy to have off of its hands.
Of course, we see this impacting the aircraft manufacturers themselves. At the beginning of April, we reported that Airbus would be cutting its aircraft production by one third, including slowing the impressive and rapid rate of production of its best-selling A320neo line. Later in April we had similar news from Boeing – with the cut of its 777X and 787 production lines.
Do you think we’ll see more news like this come from other aircraft lessors such as GECAS, Air Lease Corp, Avolon, and more? Let us know what you think in the comments.