Owned aircraft fleet recovers faster than leased fleet. Rates stay low

Premium Analysis

As the global aviation cycle slowly moves through its recovery phase, it is clear that airlines are returning their owned aircraft into service at a faster rate than leased aircraft, according to data from the CAPA Fleet Database.

The number of leased aircraft in service fell faster than owned aircraft in the early phase when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and that proportion is still further below pre-crisis levels. At the end of Oct-2021, the active leased fleet was still 12% smaller than its Jan-2020 size, whereas the active owned fleet was only 5% smaller.

Although the active fleet is now considerably bigger than it was at the Apr-2020 nadir of the crisis, the pool of parked aircraft remains a source of growth in preference to new aircraft - particularly new leased aircraft. Total numbers of new aircraft deliveries have only partly recovered through 2021 and leased aircraft deliveries remain even more depressed.

As a result, aircraft values remain in a slump and lease rates, even more so. This situation is likely to persist until the market returns closer to a state of equilibrium between supply and demand.

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