Air New Zealand may look to do more sale and leasebacks on its narrowbody fleet, but plans to retain ownership of its forthcoming Boeing 787-9s.
Chief financial officer of the Star Alliance carrier, Rob McDonald, says that it is at an "interesting juncture" over the leasing structure of its fleet.
"We certainly see in the narrowbody space a lot of opportunity for sale and leaseback and also just market leases," he says. "There's quite a lot of leases coming up for expiry on the Tasman fleet."
Those aircraft include 13 Airbus A320s that were delivered between 2003 and 2006. Most of those aircraft are leased from lessors including International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), BOC Aviation and Air Lease Corporation (ALC).
Air New Zealand also ordered 14 A320s in 2009, which are now being delivered to replace the Boeing 737-300s used on domestic routes.
Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database shows that the carrier owns four of the A320s it has in service, and has not yet announced any sale and leaseback arrangements for the remaining eight aircraft on firm order. The carrier also holds purchase rights for 11 additional A320s for delivery out to 2018.
McDonald adds that ANZ is not looking to take on any further sale and leaseback activity on its widebody fleet in the short term.
"As we look at the widebodies, particularly 787s, those aircraft - given the nature of the way they are built - probably have a longer life and, realistically, we are looking to own those," he says.
McDonald says that as those aircraft enter the fleet from mid-2014 onwards, the carrier's gearing ratio will likely increase to about 50%, which is "mid-range" for its desired gearing.
As of 30 June, the airline's gearing ratio was at 39%.
The Ascend database shows that Air New Zealand already has a number of widebody aircraft on operating leases, including four 777-200ERs and one 777-300ER from BBAM. The airline's final two -300ERs are leased from ALC.