Aircastle on track for $170m in Q4 investments

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Operating lessor Aircastle is targeting an additional $170 million in investments during the fourth quarter, after sealing more than $600 million in purchases through September.

Aircastle acquired four Boeing 737-800 aircraft during the third quarter to 30 September for approximately $120 million, bringing its total investments to $610 million this year, says Ron Wainshal, chief executive of Aircastle on a third quarter earnings call. An additional $170 million of investments closed, or is expected to close, during the fourth quarter, Wainshal indicates.

Wainshal say the lessor has been "very active" in addressing 30 aircraft coming off lease this year - 25 of which been replaced, or sold, and another that is subject to a letter of intent.

"There are at least four to go with a net book value of 2.5% of our total fleet," he says.

The remaining four aircraft include two Boeing 747-400 freighters with Southern Air, which is undergoing Chapter 11 restructuring, one Boeing 767-300ER and an Airbus A320.

Also, Aircastle agreed to early terminate one 747-400 freighter aircraft with Martinair and has signed a lease with a "leading ACMI provider" for the unit.

In exchange, Martinair agreed to extend the lease on one MD-11 freighter, which had been set to expire in January of next year.

The lessor says it has 18 aircraft scheduled to come off lease during the next 12 months.

"We've been making progress in reducing this list," says Wainshal. The net book value of these aircraft is about 6% of the lessor's total fleet.