Lessors See Profit, Investor Interest, Customer Growth

Avolon A321neo
Credit: Airbus

Irish lessor Avolon returned to profit in 2021, while San Francisco-headquartered BBAM has raised a further $1.5 billion in funding and SMBC Aviation Capital has agreed to introduce ACMI-provider SmartLynx Airlines to Boeing 737 MAX operations.

“We have passed an inflection point and we are in the re-build phase for our industry,” Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery said Feb. 8. Slattery acknowledged that short-term challenges remain and the recovery will be geographically uneven.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2021, Avolon generated $2.1 billion in revenue, marking a 5.9% decline on 2020. However, over that same period, the company swung from a $37 million net loss to a $47 million net profit. 

Avolon ended the year with $6.3 billion in liquidity—down from $6.9 billion at the end of 2020—while total assets remained stable at $30.9 billion.

Meanwhile, rival lessor BBAM announced that it has raised $1.5 billion through its new commercial aircraft investment fund, Incline Aviation II.

“A diverse group of institutional investors committed to Incline Aviation II, including some of the world’s largest public and private employee pension plans and sovereign wealth funds. The fund attracted a mix of repeat and first-time investors,” BBAM said Feb. 4. By the end of 2021, Incline Aviation II had already invested approximately $318 million into 31 aircraft. 

Finally, SMBC Aviation Capital has agreed to lease a pair of 737-8s to wet-lease provider SmartLynx Airlines, paving the way for the carrier’s first 737 MAX operations.

SmartLynx CEO Zygimantas Surintas said the MAXs will expand his company’s geographical reach. A pilot recruitment campaign is already underway.

The Riga-headquartered ACMI-provider increased its fleet to 35 aircraft in summer 2021 and is planning “substantial growth” in 2022. 

Victoria Moores

Victoria Moores joined Air Transport World as our London-based European Editor/Bureau Chief on 18 June 2012. Victoria has nearly 20 years’ aviation industry experience, spanning airline ground operations, analytical, journalism and communications roles.