Sales exceeding leases at BAE aircraft management arm

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BAE Systems' regional aircraft management division placed 44 aircraft in 2009, a significant fall in activity from 2008, in which it completed 75 placements.

The 44 aircraft placed included 30 aircraft from the British Aerospace 146 and Avro RJ families: 13 BAe 146 and 10 RJ passenger jets, three BAe 146QT freighters, three Avro business jets, and one BAe 146 leased to Titan Airways for a military contract.

The remaining 14 aircraft comprised eight British Aerospace ATP freighters, three ATP passenger aircraft and three Jetstream 32 turboprops.

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft vice-president of sales and marketing Steve Doughty believes the company did "rather well" given prevailing market conditions.

Owing to declining lease rates, he estimates business is split 80:20 between sales and leases.

At a briefing in London yesterday the company revealed leases of three additional E-class ATP freighters to West Atlantic Group and sold another to Miami's Regional One. BAE's ATP fleet is now fully contracted.

Beyond aircraft placements, BAE also concluded 25 "other" deals in 2009, including a number of lease-end adjustments for Eurowings, as well as engine sales and engine leases. These 25 deals were "fairly small", admits Doughty.

BAE secured third-party mandates to broker sales of 42 aircraft, as it strives to ensure viability as its out-of-production aircraft depart from service.

Eight of these 42 aircraft have been sold, and six withdrawn from sale, leaving 28 still available: 13 Condor Boeing 757-300s for lease-back, four Airbus A321s, five Boeing MD-83, a 737-500, a 767-300ER, and four other BAe regional aircraft.

Last year was a "challenging" one in the regional aircraft support business, says the company, with spares and modification businesses "depressed", particularly in the second half of the year.

Staff levels reduced by 15% in the fourth quarter. However, rate-per-flight-hour support business has held up "remarkably well", says the company.