New International Lease Finance chief Henri Courpron is bullish about the future, despite fresh competition from entrants such as ILFC founder Steve Hazy's new Air Lease venture.

"We are the largest leasing company in the world. They are a paper operation, so what they achieve over the next few years will be completely different to us," said Courpron, speaking at the Farnborough air show. "It will take them 20 years of perfect execution to get to where ILFC is today. They [other lessors] have to do what we do. We don't have to do what they do. That's what leadership's all about."

ILFC has 1,000 aircraft placed with 200 operators all over the world. Its portfolio is worth some $45 billion, says Courpron, with another $13-14 billion worth of aircraft yet to be delivered.


"Start-up leasing companies might make a big PR splash with their billion-dollar aircraft orders, but that will not impact our business or competitive position," says Courpron. He adds that the flurry of lessor orders at this year's air show simply validates the business model and shows that demand is returning.

But Courpron plays down the likelihood of an ILFC order, quipping: "We already have a lot of aircraft on order. I like to buy aircraft when nobody else is buying, rather than when everyone is buying. We already have orders, so there's no pressure to come out and order aircraft during the show."

Courpron says he will work to make the company more "nimble and responsive", but he insists ILFC is in a good liquidity position and is "not in crisis mode". Both the market and lease rates are improving and ILFC's geographical spread position it well to tap the asymmetrical global recovery.

In the wake of the economic crisis and financial woes of ILFC's parent AIG, the leasing giant was put on the market. But Courpron stresses: "Attempts to sell company, and there have now been a couple, have stopped. There are no efforts under way to divest ILFC in the short-term."

Source: Flight Daily News