Grab your wallet: Here comes the airliner bubble

Thomas Lifson
A substantial portion of the world's commercial aviation fleet is leased to airlines, rather than sold outright. One of the world's two largest aircraft leasing companies, ILFC (International Lease Finance Corporation) is owned by none other than AIG (the other giant of the industry is GE Commercial Aviation Services, owned by GE, which has its own woes piling up).

Not only is the airline business tanking, with the associated collapse in lease prices, and the parking of perfectly usable airliners in the desert, it is getting difficult of ILFC to come up with the scratch to meet its obligations. Dominic Gates reports in the Seattle Times:

The 2009 jet delivery commitments alone require $3 billion in cash. In 2009, ILFC must also come up with $6.2 billion to pay maturing debt and another $1.3 billion for debt interest payments. As of Jan. 1, ILFC had $2.4 billion in cash on hand.

Unlike AIG's purely financial units, ILFC is a profitable subsidiary with valuable aircraft assets. It owns nearly 1,000 jets, mostly widebodies, worth about $43 billion, according to the financial report.


The U.S. government, which now controls AIG, is trying to arrange a sale of ILFC. Any buyer will have to take on and refinance about $31 billion in ILFC debt.

Hat tip: Bryan Demko
A substantial portion of the world's commercial aviation fleet is leased to airlines, rather than sold outright. One of the world's two largest aircraft leasing companies, ILFC (International Lease Finance Corporation) is owned by none other than AIG (the other giant of the industry is GE Commercial Aviation Services, owned by GE, which has its own woes piling up).

Not only is the airline business tanking, with the associated collapse in lease prices, and the parking of perfectly usable airliners in the desert, it is getting difficult of ILFC to come up with the scratch to meet its obligations. Dominic Gates reports in the Seattle Times:

The 2009 jet delivery commitments alone require $3 billion in cash. In 2009, ILFC must also come up with $6.2 billion to pay maturing debt and another $1.3 billion for debt interest payments. As of Jan. 1, ILFC had $2.4 billion in cash on hand.

Unlike AIG's purely financial units, ILFC is a profitable subsidiary with valuable aircraft assets. It owns nearly 1,000 jets, mostly widebodies, worth about $43 billion, according to the financial report.


The U.S. government, which now controls AIG, is trying to arrange a sale of ILFC. Any buyer will have to take on and refinance about $31 billion in ILFC debt.

Hat tip: Bryan Demko