Qatar Airways was present at the recent Paris Air Show where the company was busy purchasing new aircraft. The aircraft are for regular airline operations, but more importantly, to grow its aircraft leasing business. The aircraft leasing business has a lot of opportunities available for an airline such as Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways Leasing Business
Qatar Airways is already in the aircraft leasing business, but it hopes to expand the current offerings. Qatar is one of the top airline companies in the world operating with a full fleet. The excess fleet can be used to generate additional profits for the company.
During the Paris Air Show, Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, announced that new aircraft purchases would be utilized to support the aircraft leasing segment of the airline. Qatar Airways has a complete aircraft lineup with no gaps in types of planes that it needs. New purchases are primarily made for the upkeep of the fleet. Older plane models are replaced with the latest releases and more modern technology. Having a constant cycle of airplanes, Qatar Airways has the resources to become a dominant player in the leasing business.
Benefit to Leasing Planes
The aircraft leasing business presents opportunities for high-profit margins in the industry. Airplanes are always the largest investment for new airline companies. Leasing is an option for testing out their business and begin establishing their brand before acquiring its own fleet. Operational airlines also need additional aircraft in the case of maintenance or logistics. If planes are taken out of service for any reason, having extra planes available is always beneficial.
The major issue with having a plane surplus is having idle planes. Planes always have maintenance and storage involved with ownership costs, regardless if it’s being used or not. Airlines try to minimize the number of idle jets that they have at any moment as a way to maximize the profit on their assets. Qatar Airways has taken advantage of its idle planes by leasing them out across the industry.
Qatar Airways is part of the One World Alliance as well as having stakes in three airlines total. The company’s network within the airline industry gives them more opportunities for becoming the go-to company for leases. Two of Qatar’s biggest leasing clients are British Airways and Air Italy, both of which are a part of Qatar Airways’ airline portfolio. Al Akbar has stated previously that a majority of the current leases are leased back into their operations. Growing the aircraft leasing business will mean finding lease partners externally.
In 2018, Qatar Airways experienced a blockade on new routes that they were planning to operate. The blockade resulted in numerous aircraft becoming idle, and ultimately a significant loss in revenue. The occurrence led to Qatar Airways shifting a focus into the leasing business.
Many of Qatar Airways’ leases have been the Airbus A320 single-aisle planes. The exact order at the Paris Air Show hasn’t been revealed yet, but many of the aircraft could be going directly into future leases.
Which airlines do you think could benefit from leasing Qatar Airway planes?