ANALYSIS: ILFC gives AerCap early new technology slots

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A key driver behind AerCap’s decision to purchase ILFC was the US-based lessor’s order backlog, which delivers early delivery slots on new aircraft programmes.

In a conference call with analysts today, AerCap’s chief executive officer Aengus Kelly was quick to point out that the ILFC orderbook is the “jewel in the crown” in the whole transaction.

“It is the most attractive in the industry,” he adds.

AerCap largely has refrained from placing orders with the manufacturers recently, but ILFC has been eager to build its orderbook, amassing more than $22 billion in orders during the past couple of years.

The US lessor has 37 current generation Airbus A321s and Boeing 737-800s on backlog, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database, and will bring to AerCap 289 firm orders in new technology aircraft. AerCap only has 12 aircraft, two A330s and 10 737-800s, on backlog through 2015.

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ILFC was the first operating lessor to commit to the Airbus A320neo family aircraft when it finalised an order for 100 units in April 2011.

At the 2011 Paris air show, ILFC's president and chief executive officer Henri Courpon emphasised the value of the “early” slots for the re-engined narrowbody programme.

By the end of that week, other lessors had followed suit. GECAS placed orders for 60 units, ALC signed a memorandum of understanding for 50 A320neo family as well as 14 options, while CIT Aerospace also signed a MOU for 50 units.

ILFC has ordered 50 A320neo family aircraft this year, and the 150 aircraft will be delivered during the course of 2015-20.

The Los-Angeles based lessor was also the first to commit to the Embraer E-Jet E2 family at this year’s Paris air show. It is the launch customer of the 97-seat E-190 E2 model through a 100-aircraft letter of commitment, which also includes the larger 118-seat E-195 E2 variant. The firm part of the order has deliveries planned between 2019 and 2023.

ILFC says it took an opportunity to "move early" in the E-Jet E2 programme to position itself as a lessor with early slots. "We did the same thing with the Airbus A320neo family at the Paris air show in 2011. Early slots will give us a competitive advantage over the other lessors," Courpon said in June.

On the widebody front, ILFC has exposure to the Airbus A350-800 and -900 models with a total of 20 firm orders to be delivered between 2015 and 2020. Committed deliveries include Air Caraibes, Cathay Pacific, Sri Lankan Airlines and Vietman Airlines.

ILFC also has 28 Boeing 787-8 deliveries scheduled through 2017, while 41 new 787-9 will deliver between 2015 and 2019.