Budget carrier EasyJet has carried out the sale-and-leaseback of five Airbus A321neo jets, concluding a programme of such transactions covering a total of 23 aircraft.

The five A321neos – ranging from five to nine months in age – have been sold to Bocomm Leasing, a division of the Chinese Bank of Communications, through an Irish subsidiary vehicle.

EasyJet says the deal raised aggregate cash proceeds of $266 million. The aircraft will be leased back until they are 10 years old, with lease obligations totalling around $160 million.

This means the overall sale-and-leaseback programme has generated total proceeds of $771 million – towards the higher end of the $650-850 million estimate from the carrier at the end of May.

EasyJet says the funding raised will be used to “maximise liquidity” and strengthen the airline’s financial position.

Some 50% of the airline’s fleet remains unencumbered. The leasebacks have contributed to an overall £2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) in liquidity raised since the coronavirus crisis emerged.

“EasyJet will continue to review its liquidity position on a regular basis and will continue to assess any further funding opportunities,” the airline adds.