ADGM-based lessor Sirius brushes pandemic aside and buys 10 jets from BOC Aviation

The company plans to grow its fleet to 100 aircraft over the next three years

FG81FD View of new business district at Abu Dhabi Global Market square (ADGM) on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates. Alamy
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Aircraft lessor Sirius Aviation Capital Holdings bought 10 narrow-body, mid-life jets from Singapore-based competitor BOC Aviation in the first five months of the year.

The acquisition was made through joint ventures with aviation investors Corrum Capital and HPS Investment Partners. The type of aircraft purchased was not disclosed.

The company's contribution to the deals was funded through a commitment by anchor investor Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a joint venture between Mubadala Investment Company and US investment company Falcon Edge.

“We are delighted to have grown our fleet to 10 aircraft during the worst year in the history of commercial aviation,” said Sirius Aviation chief executive Howard Millar.

“This is testimony to the strength of our business model, which is to acquire aircraft on lease to top-tier airline credits availing of the attractive returns available in mid-life, single-aisle aircraft leasing.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is the worst crisis to hit the aviation industry, with airlines, plane makers, lessors and other companies in the supply chain affected after demand for air travel fell last year.

Sirius began operations at the Abu Dhabi Global Market in March last year soon after the onset of the pandemic. The company aims to grow its fleet to more than 20 aircraft in the next 12 months and exceed 100 over the next three years.

“We look forward to working closely with our investors, shareholders and the ADGM team to deliver these ambitious targets,” said Mr Millar.

“We continue to see attractive investment opportunities in aviation as traffic volumes recover due to the global roll-out of vaccines.”

The International Air Transport Association expects the global outlook to brighten in the second half of the year. This year's passenger numbers are expected to be 52 per cent lower than they were in 2019.

However, they are set to rebound next year to 88 per cent of their pre-crisis levels before rising by 105 per cent from pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

In May, the Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, one of the world's biggest plane lessors, said it expects rapid vaccination campaigns to boost air travel growth.

Cash-strapped airlines have deferred payments to lessors, which have shored up funding and delayed taking deliveries from Boeing and Airbus due to the economic blow of the pandemic, after having expanded rapidly as the industry boomed in the few years before the onset of Covid-19.