A leading lessor is advocating a revival of government-backed financing for airline customers in the wake of the industry crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during the Leasing Leaders on the Aviation Crisis webinar, organised on 7 May by FlightGlobal in association with IBA Group, BOC Aviation chief executive Robert Martin said airlines need to find financial liquidity amid the crisis and export credit agency (ECA) funding is an obvious source.

“It’s time to roll the export credit agencies back out and they could play their traditional role as effectively lender of last resort,” says Martin. “This is going to be needed for a lot of emerging-market carriers, for widebodies that need to be delivered over the next couple of years and in countries where governments just aren’t as strong as the Chinese or US governments.

“So I believe that now there is a real role for Exim and European export credit agencies to play that they haven’t really been playing over the last 2-3 years,” he adds.

Martin believes that ECA funding could be tapped by both airlines and lessors as a source of funding amid the crisis.

“BOC Aviation is probably not likely to tap into export credit now because we have access to the capital markets with our investment grade rating but for those leasing companies that may not have investment grade credit rating then I think [they will],” he says.