SMBC to lease 20 Airbus jets to US carrier Sprint

Airline expects deal to help it accommodate capacity plan for 2022 and 2023

Aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital will lease 20 Airbus jets to US-based low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines, the Irish company confirmed on Friday.

Dublin-headquartered SMBC is a leading player in its industry. It buys aircraft from manufacturers, including Airbus and Boeing, which it then leases to airlines around the world.

The firm said on Friday it would lease 20 Airbus A320 neo jets to Miramar, Florida-based Spirit Airlines. Under the deal’s terms, it will buy and lease back 14 of the aircraft to the carrier while supplying the other six directly.

The 14 aircraft subject to the sale-and-leaseback deal will be delivered to Spirit between November this year and September 2022. SMBC will deliver the other six from September 2022 to February 2023.


Narrow-body aircraft

Sale-and-leaseback deals are common in aircraft leasing as they allow airlines to free up cash that can be used for further expansion or other purposes.

Barry Flannery, SMBC’s chief commercial officer, said the deal reaffirmed the continued demand for the company’s “young, fuel-efficient narrow-body aircraft”.

Simon Gore, vice-president and treasurer of Spirit Airlines, predicted that the transaction would aid the airline in reaching planned capacity for 2022 and 2023. Spirit's network covers 83 routes across the US, Caribbean and Latin America. It has 168 aircraft.

Owned by shareholders Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Sumitomo Corporation, SMBC has a fleet of more than 730 owned, managed or committed aircraft.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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