No need for the sale and leaseback obituary just yet: Sisson

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Operating lessor AWAS is still inking sale and leaseback deals despite more liquidity flowing into this part of the aviation finance sector.

"I wouldn't write the sale and leaseback obituary just yet," says Ray Sisson, president and chief executive officer of AWAS in an interview with Flightglobal Pro. "We're still finding good places to play in the sale and leaseback market."

The return of liquidity has pushed some lessors, such as BOC Aviation, out of the sale and leaseback market, for now, due to increased competition.

"Last year we had a strong year for sale and leasebacks, completing about 25 deals...this year we have zero, as the financing market is back in a big way," said BOC Aviation's chief executive officer Robert Martin in an interview with Flightglobal Pro in May.

Sisson believes the return of capital to the sector will not curtail the market's sale and leaseback activity. "There are a lot of aircraft on order and airlines need financing," he says.

AWAS has just 21 aircraft remaining to place from its 130-plus unit order with Airbus and Boeing, struck in 2006-07.

However, Sisson is reluctant to commit to another speculative order "unless the returns are comparable" to what AWAS can achieve in the secondary market.

"I am certainly not adverse to new orders, but we need the right returns to match our high-yield strategy."