With global aviation finding aircraft leasing getting prominence over ownership and in view of Qatar's burgeoning aviation industry, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has said its attractive ecosystem, business-friendly regulations, and proximity to Qatar Airways, allow lessors to maximise the current market opportunities.
"For the first time in aviation history the number of leased planes exceed those owned by operators, which was a result of airlines’ financial constraints...The current market backdrop is attractive to lessors, however the variety of opportunities before them differ greatly," the QFC said in its report 'QFC: A Compelling Destination for Aircraft Leasing Companies'.
In 2021, aircraft lessors, buoyed by access to inexpensive financing, drove global purchasing activity and accounted for nearly 60% of all airplane deliveries.
Highlighting that the leasing companies would be wise to place their assets with airlines that are financially secure like Qatar Airways; the report said “these lessors would be encouraged by the QFC’s attractive ecosystem, business-friendly regulations, and proximity to Qatar Airways.”
Prior to the onset of Covid in 2019, lessors only accounted for about 45% of the owners of the total global fleet, but that rose to above 50% in 2021 during which time aircraft deliveries were recovering, said the report, authored by Thaddeus Malesa, senior adviser for Economics and Research at the QFC.
Global aviation continued to be severely disrupted throughout 2021 due to the Covid-19; however lessors filled the gap to enable a 63% year-on-year expansion of overall aircraft deliveries over the first three quarters of the year, the report said.
Over the first nine months of 2021, global aircraft deliveries totalled 761 versus 467 in the same period of the previous year when the pandemic lockdowns were in effect, it said.
While all global airlines faced significant operational challenges over the past two years, the use of their fleets has varied considerably – with Qatar Airways near the top of the range, the report said.
Qatar Airways continued to service a variety of destinations and pivoted to carrying more cargo, whereas most passenger-focused airlines posted cancellations of flights over several months, it said, adding higher global demand for air cargo led the national carrier to convert six passenger planes to freighters, resulting in its cargo division handle 2.73mn tonnes of cargo in the 2020/21 fiscal year, or 4.6% more than a year prior.
"Qatar’s economy is set to expand dramatically over the coming decade, driven by a series of business investments in key sectors, including aviation. The QFC’s attractive ecosystem, business-friendly regulations, best-in-class tax regime, along with its proximity to one of the world’s premier airlines with set global expansion plans, will be an ideal platform for global aviation lessors,” said QFC Authority chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida.
Qatar Airways has ambitious plans for further expansion of both cargo and passenger flights, which in the short run are hampered by the grounding of its 20 A350s, the report said.
Qatar Airways will soon own 60% of and operate Rwanda’s Bugesera International Airport that will have capacity to accommodate 7mn passengers as well as a dedicated cargo terminal in its first phase in 2022, after which it will cater to 14mn passengers in the second phase in 2032, it said.
The QFC report said Qatar Airways’ growth plan in East Africa looks set to capitalise on the recent trends, with African air freight growing at the fastest comparative regional pace at 32.8% year-on-year in September 2021 and yet accounts for only 2% of the world’s share.
"Arguably a significant impediment to realising this and other elements of Qatar Airways’ strategic expansion plans is access to quality airplanes – an opportunity that could be bridged by savvy lessors," the report said.
Related Story