Aircraft Returns Pose Lessor Challenges

Finnair is looking to cut some of the aircraft in its fleet following the closure of Russian airspace.
Credit: Finnair

Over the summer several aircraft lessors have beefed up their technical departments.

Abelo Aviation, for example, which named Paul Dillon as chief technical officer after hiring him from Nordic Aviation Capital, where he was head of engine management.

One month earlier, Singapore-based Avation hired Michael Dela Cruz as head of technical from ST Engineering.

In the U.S., Voyager Aviation appointed ex-GECAS leader Todd King as vice-president technical.

One reason for lessors to focus more on their technical capabilities may be that certain aircraft are spending longer between leases, forcing lessors to manage maintenance tasks that might normally fall to their airline customers.

Widebody aircraft are particularly prone to longer remarketing times. Many airlines jettisoned them as part of restructuring plans during and after the pandemic, and the slower recovery of long-haul travel makes finding an onward customer difficult for lessors.

In Scandinavia, for example, SAS is seeking to reject leased aircraft comprising three Airbus A330-300s, two A350s, nine A320neos and a Boeing 737-700 as part of its Chapter 11 process.

Rival carrier Finnair also wants to cut its fleet after the closure of Russian airspace scuppered its business model, which focused on shorter routes over Russia connecting Europe and Asia.

“As Finnair is now faced with a different competitive situation and the weight of the different markets in Finnair’s business is changing, significant structural renewal is required to be competitive,” stated the airline this week.

Like SAS, Finnair’s fleet includes A350s and A330s, although the airline has not yet specified which types it wants to get rid of.

For a thorough analysis of the technical challenges lessors are facing as airlines return aircraft, see the next issue of Inside MRO.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.