Twin-aisle leasing market challenges

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By Vincent Valery


Sep. 7, 2020, © Leeham News: The timeline for a passenger traffic recovery remains uncertain. The IATA does not expect passenger traffic to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024. Leeham Co. predicts that it will take four to eight years before traffic returns to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Long-haul markets, where airlines almost exclusively operate twin-aisle aircraft, witnessed the sharpest drop in passenger traffic. As outlined in a previous article, airlines already retired significant numbers of older aircraft. Due to lingering travel restrictions, those markets should be the slowest to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Ishka, the UK-based appraisal company, outlined the sharp drop in aircraft lease and purchase prices since the beginning of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, twin-aisle aircraft are among the worst affected. There are virtually no takers for second-hand widebody passenger aircraft now.

Separately, Airbus and Boeing decreased their passenger twin-aisle production rates from a combined 28 to 15 per month from next year: 787 at six, A350 at five, 777 and A330 at two each.

Given the extent and expected duration of the drop in long-haul passenger traffic, LNA analyzes the factors that will influence leasing rates in the twin-aisle market this decade.

  • Current in-service widebody fleet;
  • Lease expiration timelines;
  • Some models more exposed than others;
  • The rationale for current twin-aisle production rates;
  • Major factors outside airlines’ and lessor’s control.

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