Lessors Not The “Shock Absorber” They Once Were

Credit: Aercap

In past crises, lessors absorbed the shocks to the industry by continuing to take delivery of aircraft on order when airlines had long been canceling their commitments. But it is becoming clear that lessors are not the “shock absorber” they once were.

There is a relatively simple reason for this: The business model of leasing aircraft to airlines is based on the assumption that not all airlines will suffer at the same time. If one airline in a specific region is going through a rough period, aircraft can go to an operator in another region. That model is not viable in the situation the industry is currently experiencing, one where all customers suffer simultaneously.


As a result of the pandemic, lessors are now behaving in the same way that airlines did nearly 20 years ago, deferring or canceling orders wherever they feel they must and have the opportunity to do so.