Pressure to meet aircraft lease payments appears to have been a factor in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filings of Avianca Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, highlighting the increasingly weak condition of the aircraft leasing industry.

Colombian carrier Avianca took the unusual step as a non-US carrier of filing for US bankruptcy protection on 21 March because most of its debt is in the USA. US lessor CIT says it has payments outstanding of $41 million from Avianca for leases on a Boeing 757 and an MD-80.

Hawaiian, which sought Chapter 11 the same day, blames the filing on "certain of our aircraft lessors". Chief executive John Adams says the carrier had no choice as it was unable to reach agreement with lessors on reducing payments. Hawaiian is Boeing Capital's fifth largest customer, accounting for $467 million of its $11.8 billion portfolio.

Source: Flight International