Avolon earns €41m profit as travel revives

Irish aircraft lessor turns around loss and predicts uneven recovery in 2022

Irish aircraft lessor Avolon earned €41 million profit last year as air travel revived from widespread Covid curbs.

Dublin-headquartered Avolon buys aircraft from manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing that it leases to airlines around the world. Results published on Tuesday show it earned $47 million (€41 million) profit in 2021, turning around a $37 million loss the previous year, as air travel returned.

Chief executive Dómhnal Slattery dubbed 2021 a “challenging year” but noted that the company saw evidence of its own recovery and that of its airline customers.

“While challenges remain in the short term, and recovery will be uneven across markets, we have passed an inflection point and we are in the rebuild phase for our industry,” he said.

Mr Slattery added that the company boosted its fleet, cut repayment rates on its debt and reduced its secured liabilities. Consequently it is entering 2022 with significant cash and a stronger balance sheet “positioned to take advantage of opportunities as they arise”, he said.

Avolon owned or managed 592 aircraft on December 31st, 4 per cent more than 12 months earlier.

It had a $6.6 billion warchest at the end of the year, including $775 million in cash and $5.5 billion in available debt that it had yet to draw down.

Avolon earned $2.1 billion in revenue from leasing aircraft and generated net cash of $895 million.

During last year Avolon ordered 500 zero-emissions VX4 aircraft from Vertical Aerospace, a business in which the Irish company has invested.

The lessor said that carriers including Japan Airlines and Brazil's GOL had committed to taking 70 per cent of the VX4s.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas