27 SEPTEMBER 2021
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Steven Udvar-Hazy, the man who virtually invented the airline leasing business with International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in 1973, and now chairs Air Lease Corporation, was the star speaker at the Airline Economist conference in London last week.
Aircraft leasing companies are for the first time buying more of the world's passenger aircraft than actual airlines. This was down to the effects of Covid-19, although the figure had been growing over the years.
“Aircraft lessors, who buy planes from manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing and lease them on to airlines, had accounted for around 40-45% of aircraft deliveries before the pandemic,” said Mr Udvar-Hazy. "Leased content has grown to around 60% of deliveries."
Spread over three days, and hosted at Central Hall Westminster in London, for the first time in 2021 it brought aircraft manufacturers, engineering supporters, the air finance industry and actual operators together. It was a true networking/social gathering for people who had not actually met in two years.
What became clear as the many hundreds of delegates from all over the world intermingled (and followed the Covid rules) was the strong view of the jetmakers that there was a strong aircraft demand even as the industry braces for tough new environmental measures. Young aircraft that are not eco-friendly will be paid off. However, some financiers have raised doubts over forecasts that the $150bn industry will return to pre-Covid growth in just a few years.
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