Major Lessors GECAS And AerCap Could Merge

Two of the world’s largest aircraft lessors could be announcing a merger as early as later today. The news was obtained by sources close to the matter. Both AerCap and GECAS have some of the largest and most diverse portfolios of aircraft on the market, with some of the world’s largest airlines as major customers.

AerCap claims to be the world’s largest owner of commercial aircraft. Photo: AerCap

A possible Monday merger

According to Bloomberg, a source familiar with the matter notes that the potential deal could be announced today, Monday, March 8th. It’s been noted that the deal is expected to have a value of over $30 billion. The two lessors combined would have a fleet of nearly 3,000 aircraft either owned, managed, or on order.

Despite the size of the two firms, both have been hit hard by the global health crisis. While a good deal of customers were locked in to lease agreements that they chose to keep, other airlines with expiring leases chose not to renew. Instead, aircraft leases were returned. Furthermore, new lease agreements have largely dried up due to the crisis.

Neither GECAS nor AerCap has responded to Simple Flying’s request for comment at the time of publication.

Major Lessors GECAS And AerCap Could Merge
According to its website, GECAS owns, services, or has on order approximately 1,650 aircraft. Photo: GECAS

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The two firms compared

On its website, GECAS states that it owns, services, or has on order approximately 1,650 aircraft. As per AerCap’s December 31st, 2020 count, that figure is 1,330 – which consists of 1,044 owned or managed and 286 on order. Thus, the total aircraft portfolio combined would be 2,980.

The reach of both firms is similar as AerCap has around 200 customers in roughly 80 countries, while GECAS serves over 200 customers across roughly 70 countries.

The following are claims made on AerCap’s website:

  • World’s largest owner of commercial aircraft
  • World’s largest Airbus A320neo Family lessor (327)
  • World’s largest 787 lessor (114)
  • World’s first lessor of Embraer E-Jets E2 (50)

Meanwhile, GECAS stands out for its diversity of aircraft and services. In addition to standard commercial passenger aircraft, the firm offers the following:

  • Narrowbody and widebody freighters for lease.
  • A 737-800 conversion program and is in the process of developing its 777-300ERSF conversion program.
  • Deals with the leasing and financing of engines. This is not just exclusive to GE products and includes engines made by CFM, IAE, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney.
  • Helicopter leasing services. These mainly support the offshore oil & gas industries, search & rescue, EMS, police surveillance, mining, and other utility missions.
Major Lessors GECAS And AerCap Could Merge
With 114 Dreamliners owned, AerCap is the world’s largest 787 lessor. Photo: AerCap

The world’s largest aircraft lessor

Based on fleet size data from Statista, a merger of the two firms would make the new aircraft lessor the largest in the world. Based on 2019 data, GECAS and AerCap already dominated the aircraft lease market with the largest and second-largest fleets, respectively. It will be interesting to see if any regulatory bodies step in as this could hurt overall competition.

With news expected as soon as today, we’ll have to keep an eye out for how this developing story unfolds.

What do you think of two of the world’s largest aircraft lessors merging? Let us know in the comments.