Amedeo’s A380 order spotlights the role of aircraft lessors

12 February 2014 Feature story

As the commercial air transport sector continues to emerge from the economic downturn of recent years, the world’s aircraft leasing companies are taking on even greater importance – with more and more customers now looking to rent their aviation assets.

This growing trend toward “airliners for hire” was underscored today at the Singapore Airshow, where Airbus and Amedeo finalised a contract covering 20 A380s – offering a more flexible method for customers to access the double-deck jetliner’s unique benefits. The 20-aircraft agreement originally was announced at the 2013 Paris Air Show – when Amedeo was known as Doric Lease Corp.

Leasing companies account for many of Airbus’ largest customers, each holding order backlogs of up to hundreds of aircraft. A majority of the major players are from the United States or Europe, however new Asian entrants are rising fast catering to civil aviation’s largest growth market.

Lessors often make speculative purchases to gain access to early and regular delivery slots for aircraft that, if ordered directly by an airline today, are unlikely to be delivered before 2020.  Having these aircraft – in particular, efficient jetliners from the Airbus product line – usually pays off: in 2013, every single lessor delivery had an airline operator lined up (there were 138 A320 Family aircraft and 17 A330s provided last year). And for 2014, all of the 152 single-aisle aircraft and 16 A330s on lessor order have been assigned.

The leasing market is driven by fleet size and availability, which is why the bulk of aircraft placed are from the single-aisle category. However, Amedeo clearly sees the A380 as an opportunity.  Amedeo’s senior management built a multi-billion dollar aircraft portfolio while at Doric Lease Corp., including 18 A380s acquired through sale-leaseback arrangements – then adding four more during 2013 in the framework of Amedeo.  This makes it the world’s largest asset manager of leased A380s.

Now for the first time, the lessor is making speculative orders – expressing full confidence in its ability to place them when made available through deliveries from Airbus beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2020.

Amedeo CEO Mark Lapidus said the A380 is unrivalled in terms of its economic performance and product offering, adding that the aircraft’s capacity is highly marketable as traffic comes back in regions around the world.  

“This will help for airlines that perhaps were ‘shy’ in the previous difficult environment to opt for the A380,” he added.  “Airlines that operate the A380 will have an advantage – especially with our leasing solution.”