ILFC warns India: Aeroplane repossession row could scare off funds

Jan 23 2013, 09:47 IST
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ILFC warns India: Aeroplane repossession row could scare off funds. (Reuters) ILFC warns India: Aeroplane repossession row could scare off funds. (Reuters)
SummaryKingfisher Airlines would have to return their planes if they could not pay their bills.

of salary owed to frustrated employees.

US DEMAND

ILFC, or International Lease Finance Corp, has itself rebounded since its seeing funds squeezed by the credit crisis, and is in the midst of being sold to a Chinese consortium.

The lessor said it had broadened funding sources and reduced their cost in 2012, and had $2.9 billion in unrestricted cash.

Speaking in Dubin on the sidelines of an Airline Economics conference, Courpron said he expected the sale of a majority of ILFC by its owner, U.S. insurer AIG, to go ahead as planned in the second quarter. AIG has deemed the unit non-core.

Despite woes in India, where many private airlines complain of high taxes and subsidies to state carrier Air India, Courpron said growing the rise of disposable incomes, especially China, would continue to drive investment in new aircaft in Asia.

He also predicted more appetite for aircraft in the United States, the world's largest aviation market which until two years ago was remarkably quiet in ordering new capacity as airlines there went through restructuring and conserved cash.

"There is still a good activity in the U.S. for replacement of older aircraft," Courpron said.

However, he warned Airbus and Boeing not to over-sell aircraft purely in order to win every battle in their fierce annual duel for orders worth a combined $100 billion.

The waiting list for some types of aircraft has grown to unprecedented levels of 6-7 years and cannot be pushed out even further because buyers cannot plan that far ahead, he said, adding a more sustainable backlog would be 3-4 years.

Just as airlines overbook seats to protect their income in the event passengers cancel, plane manufacturers use exactly the same strategy on the airlines by selling more aircraft than they can actually make in the expectation that some will cancel.

"I don't know if they are over-selling; I think they are very smart and both Airbus and Boeing have mastered the art of overbooking, like the airlines around the world," Courpron said.

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