PIF-backed AviLease buys 13 aircraft to boost growth

The company purchased both narrow and wide-body planes

From left, seated, AviLease chief executive Edward O'Byrne and Avolon chief executive Andy Cronin. Photo: AviLease
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AviLease, a plane lessor and financier backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, purchased 13 aircraft from leasing company Avolon to bolster its growth plans.

The wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund bought both narrow and wide-body aircraft. The transaction included seven Airbus A320neos, two A330neos and a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

The deal is a “true testament to our strength and unwavering purpose and will provide us with further opportunities for direct expansion”, said AviLease chairman Fahad Al Saif.

“We aim to contribute to the development of the aviation ecosystem in the kingdom and enhance the financial sustainability of the sector in line with the strategy of the Public Investment Fund, which focuses on unlocking the potential of promising sectors and enhancing their global competitiveness to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.”

The lessor signed its first deal with Riyadh-based discount airline Flynas last year for the purchase of 12 new Airbus A320neo jets.

Under the agreement, AviLease will buy the aircraft, which will be delivered in 2022 and 2023, and lease them back to Flynas, it said at the time.

In November, the company signed a similar agreement with national airline Saudia to deliver 20 Airbus A320neo aircraft that will be operated on long-term leases by the group’s budget airline flyadeal.

Saudi Arabia aims to attract more tourists and develop its aviation sector, increasing its contribution to non-oil gross domestic product as part of its Vision 2030 economic diversification agenda.

The Saudi Aviation Strategy calls for measures to triple annual passenger traffic to 330 million by 2030 and boost the number of destinations to 250, from 99 at present.

This strategy is backed by $100 billion in government and private sector investment.

With this acquisition, AviLease’s aircraft portfolio will reach 45 on lease to airlines globally.

“The lessee credit composition of the purchased portfolio is second to none and further diversifies our aircraft portfolio and lessee customers,” AviLease chief executive Edward O'Byrne said.

AviLease, which was founded in June 2022 and has its headquarters in Riyadh, is part of the PIF’s efforts to further boost the kingdom’s aviation sector.

The company, which focuses on leasing, trading and asset management services, intends to source deals in both domestic and international markets.

“Trading aircraft is an important and consistent part of our growth strategy and we are pleased to be working with AviLease as a key partner,” Avolon chief executive Andy Cronin said.

“We continue to see strong demand globally as lessors and airlines seek to source supply against the backdrop of an ongoing shortage of new aircraft deliveries.”

Updated: June 02, 2023, 6:02 PM