US carriers Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air say they are seeing improved financing appetite from the markets for their product.
“The feedback we are hearing from the markets is that everything is available to us,” said Ted Christie, chief financial officer of Spirit Airlines at the Airline Economics forum in Dublin today. “I think we will be dipping our toe in the water in a variety of alternative ideas going forward."
Spirit completed an initial public offering in 2011, and that gave the carrier access to the “full suite of available products,” he says.
The carrier is taking delivery of 29 aircraft in the next 24 months, so it will be “actively looking at those alternatives to finance”, he adds.
Jude Bricker, senior vice-president of planning and treasurer at Allegiant noted the “biggest change” for his carrier has been the return of the mortgage lenders to the aviation sector.
“Regional banks are very aggressive on straight vanilla financing for aircraft,” he says, adding: “German banks are back and being very aggressive.”
According to Bricker, “there is not a sector of the financing space that isn’t open for business".
He says Allegiant plans on maintaining its fleet ownership structure - out of 69 aircraft, only two units are on lease.
“The challenge of leasing with our fleet is related to maintenance harvest. We are going to be the last guy operating everything, so it is really about not returning any value to a lessor,” he says. “Ownership structure is the way we need to go for a while. “