AerCap does not foresee Boeing customers changing to Airbus equipment as a consequence of escalating trade tensions between the USA and China.
"We see no evidence whatsoever of any airline moving from Boeing to Airbus because of this trade dispute," Aengus Kelly, AerCap's chief executive said today on an earnings call.
AerCap – which is the world's largest aircraft leasing company by fleet value – has several ongoing marketing campaigns in China for new technology aircraft. Kelly says that the majority of these aircraft are Airbus merely because the airlines are existing Airbus operators.
Tariffs on over 1,000 products, which could impact some parts in Boeing's Chinese supply chain, were implemented on 6 July and fears of Chinese retaliation continue.
During the earnings call, Kelly hastens to note that switching from Airbus to Boeing takes an operator years to implement and comes at a huge cost.
He further notes that there is still demand out of China for used aircraft, though, like the USA, it is not as robust as a few years ago.
Since winning certification in China, AerCap plans to deliver up to five Airbus A350s to Chinese customers by year-end. AerCap has agreed to lease one A350-900 (MSN 060) to Sichuan Airlines and two of the same type (MSNs 098, 112) to Hainan Airlines.
Kelly, like many of his peers, believes the impact of a potential trade war on aviation still remains to be seen.
At the Farnborough air show in July, Air Lease chief executive Steven Udvar-Hazy said his company had seen no signs of a hit to orders due to US tariffs implemented against China on 6 July.
"We have seen no evidence from any of our customers – 100 around the world – of any reduction in traffic or advanced reservations or cargo movement," Udvar-Hazy said at the Airline Chiefs Strategy Round Table event at the Farnborough air show. "In fact, we've seen the opposite."
A few weeks prior, Delta's chief executive Ed Bastian said he had not seen any "slowdown or any pullback" in demand from China since the 25% tariffs on $34 billion in annual trade were announced earlier in June, speaking at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington DC on 27 June.
However, not all aviation leaders feel that a potential trade war is a non-threat.
Earlier this year, on 5 March, Domhnal Slattery said during a keynote speech at a San Diego conference that "if a trade war ensues as a result of some of the initiatives [proposed tariffs] that President Trump announced last week, it really is going to make Brexit seem like a regional warm-up".