Aircastle acquires 20 aircraft from SMBCAC; AerCap Q3 update
Aircastle buys 20 A320s and 737NGs from SMBC Aviation Capital; AerCap leased, purchased and sold 89 aircraft in Q3; Deliveries delay SAS Irish AOC launch; Embraer Q3 deliveries dip; Fitch assigns 'A+' to CDBL $3bn MTN programme; Aircalin firms up order for two A320neos and two A330neos; AerCap appoints Canniffe as group treasurer; GECAS in ABC 747-8F deal.

Aircastle buys 20 A320s and 737NGs from SMBC Aviation Capital
SMBC Aviation Capital is selling 20 narrow-body aircraft from its portfolio to Aircastle Ltd. Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital, said the deal 'is testament both to the quality of our portfolio and our ability to handle transactions of scale. It is also further evidence that we are delivering on our stated strategy of actively trading and managing our portfolio, enabling us to maintain one of the youngest fleets in the industry.'

Noting that the aircraft involved are on lease to a geographically diverse group of 13 different airlines, his counterpart at Aircastle, Mike Inglese, said the deal demonstrated his company's 'unique ability to find attractive growth opportunities throughout the cycle.'

The deal agreed with SMBC Aviation Capital would allow Aircastle to further optimize its fleet mix with the addition of in-demand, current generation A320s and 737NGs,' Inglese added. 'By continuing to execute our prudent, disciplined investment strategy and maintaining significant financial flexibility, Aircastle is well positioned to achieve steady and profitable growth.'

As of June 30, 2017, Aircastle owned and managed on behalf of its joint ventures 203 aircraft leased to 71 customers located in 38 countries.

AerCap leased, purchased and sold 89 aircraft in Q3
AerCap Holdings completed 89 transactions in the third quarter of this year. These included the signing of lease agreements in respect of 50 aircraft, including 17 widebody aircraft and 33 narrowbody aircraft, of which eight are from the Embraer E2-Jet family, and signed financing transactions in respect of $3.7 billion.

The lessor purchased 11 aircraft in the quarter, including two Airbus A320neo family aircraft, one Airbus A350 and eight Boeing 787s, and sold 28 aircraft. Sales comprised eight Airbus A32s, six Airbus A330s, two Airbus A340s, one Boeing 737 Classic, eight Boeing 737NGs, one Boeing 767, one Boeing 777-300ER from its owned portfolio and one Boeing 737 Classic from its managed portfolio. As of September 30, 2017, AerCap had a portfolio of 1,506 aircraft owned, managed or on order.

Also reporting Q3 activity, Air Lease Corporation said it had delivered three new aircraft to customers over the period - a Boeing 787-9, an Airbus A320neo and an Airbus A321neo - and sold seven. Sales included four to securitisation vehicles Thunderbolt Aircraft Lease Ltd and Blackbird Capital II and three to other third parties. At the end of Q3 ALC’s fleet comprised 236 owned aircraft and 51 managed aircraft.

ALC has also announced a long term lease agreement with Aer Lingus for one additional new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft, delivering in June 2019. It will be the eighth A321neo LR leased to the airline and is from ALC’s order book with Airbus.

Deliveries delay SAS Irish AOC launch
The way that aircraft delivery problems can affect the growth plans of operators is highlighted by the delay in the opening of SAS's new operating unit in Ireland - albeit only by a month at this stage.

In parallel with the implementation of the efficiency enhancements in its core operations, last January the airline decided to establish a new air operator certificate in Ireland as well as bases in London and Malaga, where a total of nine Airbus A320neos will be deployed. Five of the aircraft on the Irish certificate are to be based at London Heathrow, the airline's first base outside Scandinavia, and the remaining four will operate from another new base in Malaga.

These bases are intended to complement its production in Scandinavia, which will continue to account for the main share of its business. Having established a structure for SAS Ireland, SAS has secured its new AOC and recruited a management team, administrative staff and some flight crew. Its first flight from Heathrow was scheduled for the start of its next fiscal year in November, to be followed by Malaga next Spring.

But the company has now revealed that 'There has been a delay in the delivery in aircraft from Airbus and therefore we have to postpone until the beginning of December.'

In its fiscal Q3 report published in early September SAS said that the start-up costs for the new AOC and the new bases 'are expected to impact earnings to begin with and have been very low to date'. Identifying the core purpose of establishing the new approach, SAS said that initially the financial effects from operations at these bases would be small but would gradually increase as operations grow.

'When the bases are fully operational, we expect them to have the same underlying unit cost as our low cost competitors,' it said. Airline spokesman Fredrik Hendriksson has previously identified the cost advantage of an Irish AOC as coming from lower social security expenses and taxes. Now, however, the start up cost of the new AOC and operational bases will have to be carried for a full month without any compensating revenues accruing.

Embraer Q3 deliveries dip
Embraer deliveries of new aircraft dipped significantly in the third quarter this year compared to the same period last year. However, this was due in part to the surge in its deliveries of new commercial aircraft in the preceding quarter.

In Q3 this year Embraer delivered 45 new aircraft, of which 25 were commercial and 20 business jets. This compared with deliveries of 54 aircraft in the same quarter last year, of which 29 were commercial and 25 business. It is also well below the 59 aircraft delivered in Q2 this year, comprising 35 commercial and 24 business jets.

There were significant differences, too, in the rate of deliveries in Q1 this year, when 33 aircraft in total were delivered, compared to last years Q4 total of 75. The net result is that deliveries in the first nine months of this year comprised 78 commercial aircraft and 59 business jets, as against 76 commercial and 74 business jets in the corresponding period last year. It will require, therefore, another strong final quarter to achieve last years combined total of 225 aircraft delivered.

The firm's order backlog showed a slight upturn, up from $18.5 billion at end Q2 to $18.8 billion at end Q3.

Fitch assigns 'A+' to CDBL $3bn MTN programme
Reflecting an anticipated high level of support from the ultimate parent, Fitch Ratings has assigned an expected rating of 'A+(EXP)' to CDB Leasing Co's $3 billion medium-term note programme set up under CDBL Funding 1 and to this month's senior unsecured US dollar notes to be issued by CDBL Funding 1.

The proposed notes will be guaranteed by CDB Aviation Lease Finance DAC (CDBALF) with a keepwell deed and deed of asset purchase undertaking provided by CDB Leasing. Under the programme CDBL Funding 1, an offshore special purpose vehicle wholly owned by CDBALF, can issue notes either guaranteed by CDB Leasing or guaranteed by CDBALF with a keepwell deed and deed of asset purchase undertaking provided by CDB Leasing.

CDBALF became a direct wholly owned subsidiary of CDB Leasing in late 2016 and the ultimate parent of both companies is China Development Bank Corporation (CDB, A+/Stable).

The programme and the proposed notes will be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the proceeds will be used for the CDB Leasing group's working capital and for general corporate purposes. The maturity structure will be finalised upon settlement.

CDBALF, which is domiciled in Ireland, serves as a management platform for the entire aircraft portfolio of CDB Leasing group. The aircraft portfolio is owned by multiple entities established primarily in Ireland and China. Fitch notes that aircraft leasing accounts for about one-third of CDB Leasing's total assets.

Aircalin firms up order for two A320neos and two A330neos
Aircalin, the Noumea-based carrier in the French territory of New Caledonia, has firmed up an order for two A320neos and two A330-900 wide-body aircraft.

The A320neos will be equipped with 168 seats and deployed on regional routes to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The A330neo will have 26 business, 21 premium and 244 economy class seats. Aircalin plans to deploy the aircraft on commercial services to Japan for onward connections.

AerCap appoints Canniffe as group treasurer
Brian Canniffe will become group treasurer of AerCap Holdings at the beginning of next year on the retirement of Paul Rofe. Canniffe, who joined AerCap in October 2016 as head of investor relations, has over 20 years of experience in banking, lending and the capital markets. Prior to joining AerCap he was Managing Director and Head of Global Markets Financing for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Paying tribute to Rofe, AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly said: 'Paul has played a key role in the success of AerCap, including the ILFC acquisition and the raising of over $50 billion of funding during his tenure from a wide range of financial institutions and investors. We thank him for his outstanding service and wish him well in the future.'

Kamenz joins C&L as SVP aircraft sales
C&L has recruited Donald Kamenz as Senior Vice President - Sales, with a focus on expanding regional aircraft sales and brokering activity. He was previously VP Sales at Commercial Jet. His previous experience over three decades includes spells with Bombardier and Dornier and nearly 10 years as VP of Airline Sales and Marketing at Saab Aircraft Leasing.

GECAS acquires 747-8F on lease to AirBridge Cargo
GECAS has acquired from Boeing Capital Corporation a 747-8 freighter on lease with AirBridge Cargo Airlines. ABC operates an all-747 fleet of 18 aircraft, including two 747-400ERFs on lease from GECAS.

Sergey Lazarev, General Director of ABC, said the company was undertaking a programme of fleet renewal involving 'smooth replacement of older 747-400Fs with state-of-the-art 747-8Fs'. Its fleet of 747-8F aircraft was key to the company's overall success and further development, he added. The 747-8F provides approximately 20 tonnes of additional revenue freight versus the 747-400F and is powered by more efficient GEnx-2B67 engines.

Operating from a cargo hub in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport, ABC covers more than 30 major cargo gateways across the trans-regional markets of South-East Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.