Exclusive: CALC buys Norwegian 737s for Chinese lessee
Hong Kong SAR-based China Aircraft Leasing (CALC) has acquired three Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Norwegian through its ARI subsidiary and placed them with Air China affiliate Shandong Airlines, the lessor confirms to Airfinance Journal.
This continues the lessor’s strategy of maintaining close ties with China’s state-controlled airlines.
The three 737-800s were all manufactured in 2014, feature CFM56-7B26E engines and have operated for Norwegian since delivery.
The trio is expected to transfer to Shandong Airlines’ Jinan base in early July, says CALC.
Following the acquisition, CALC’s 737NG fleet has grown to 21 units from 18 previously; CALC has outstanding orders for 92 737 Max aircraft.
Shandong Airlines had previously said it would lease seven additional 737-800 units this year: three from CALC and two each from ACG and Bocomm Leasing. The first ACG unit arrived in Jinan in May, following a transfer from China Eastern.
Last week, CALC chief executive Mike Poon told Airfinance Journal (AFJ) that the lessor’s China focus was paying off as “most Chinese airlines have resumed paying rentals and started to settle deferred payments already”.
Approximately 65% of CALC’s fleet is on lease to mainland Chinese airline customers; the Chinese domestic market has rebounded by approximately 70% from its nadir in February.
As at 30 April, only 16% of CALC’s fleet of 116 owned aircraft was subject to deferred lease rental payments, the lessor has confirmed.