Avolon cancels aircraft orders amid Covid-19 crisis

Irish aircraft leasing chief Dómhnal Slattery says commercial aviation is facing the biggest challenge in its history

Global travel restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus have grounded airlines, and are likely to significantly cut demand for aircraft.  Photograph: Getty Images

Global travel restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus have grounded airlines, and are likely to significantly cut demand for aircraft. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Irish aircraft lessor Avolon has cancelled or postponed orders for almost 120 aircraft to help the business survive the Covid-19 crisis.

Global travel restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus have grounded airlines, and are likely to significantly cut demand for aircraft.

Dublin-based Avolon said on Friday that it had cut commitments to buy new craft to 165 from 284 over the 2020 to 2023 period, reducing its short-term need for capital.

Avolon, which buys aircraft from manufacturers and leases them to airlines around the world, said that among other steps it had cancelled orders for 75 Boeing 737 Max aircraft due for delivery through 2020 to 2023.

The firm has postponed the delivery of further craft, including 16 Max 737s due over the 2020 to 2023 timeframe until 2024. The 737 Max is awaiting certification from safety regulators in the US and Europe.

Avolon chief executive Dómhnal Slattery said the company was facing the most challenging period in commercial aviation’s history. He noted that the Irish company had $5 billion (€4.6bn) in cash and available credit.

Mr Slattery added that Avolon would remain flexible to allow the business to meet its airline customers’ needs.

“While it remains difficult to determine the length or depth of this crisis, we remain confident in our prospects and in the ability of the industry to recover in the aftermath of Covid-19.”