Aercap chief executive officer Aengus Kelly believes that lessors will own 50% or more of the global airline fleet within the next three years.
Speaking on an analyst call on 10 November, Kelly said that the Covid-19 crisis had increased the “velocity” at which lessors are growing their ownership of the global airline fleet.
This trend will continue as the recovery phase begins, he added.
“There is no doubt in my mind that as airlines come out of this crisis that their number one focus will be deleveraging their balance sheet, particularly those who have taken on government involvement,” he said.
Kelly said that government involvement will “handicap” airlines on a strategic level and a self-interest level and inhibit their ability to “enumerate themselves”.
He also doubts that airlines will be prepared to pay Airbus and Boeing “billions of dollars” for owned aircraft.
Kelly sees a trend by lessors to own more new technology aircraft, particularly widebodies.
In parallel, Kelly sees a lot of the “tourist” money that entered the leasing space withdrawing in light of the crisis.
“I think it's fair to say that those people who have come into the sector, looking for yield over the last five years or six years, and thought this was a spread business, and they didn't need a full-scale operating platform to run the business, have found that, that is not a valid assumption,” he said.