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Leasing has ‘enormous growth potential’ in Africa

Posted 9 June 2021 · Add Comment

ACIA Aero Leasing Group CEO, Mick Mooney, believes that now is the perfect time for airlines across the continent to grasp the opportunities presenting themselves in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Opportunity to build the fleet: Commercial aircraft leasing companies will play a larger role in airline funding and liquidity over the coming years. Picture: ACIA Aero Leasing.

Africa-based operators have been at the heart of ACIA’s activities since its inception around two decades ago.

Its aircraft operate in South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique and Tanzania.

To service these operations, the company has offices in Mauritius and South Africa.

In January it completed deals for four aircraft to Sahel Aviation Service in Mali and one ATR cargo aircraft for Johannesburg’s Solenta Aviation.

Mooney said: “This region presents significant opportunities and these will be greater, post-pandemic. As many of our operators in Africa run domestic flights, its impact has been felt less when compared to others relying on cross-border travel to support their business models.”

According to Mooney, operators like Ethiopian Airlines have demonstrated what is possible in Africa. And for other countries to follow suit, he says, national and regional governments must provide airlines – and not just national companies – with financial and regulatory support, while facilitating experienced management teams, but without exercising control.”

Mooney said ACIA’s strategy differs from some aircraft leasing companies because of its internal capability to own and manage commercial aircraft throughout the process. “In addition to acquiring new, or near-new, aircraft for lease, we have a very efficient conversion business (IPR Conversions) that enables us to take mid-life and ageing ATR aircraft and convert them for freight,” he explained. “This can extend the life of an aircraft by 10 to 15 years.”

Mooney believes that commercial aircraft leasing companies will play a larger role in airline funding and liquidity over the coming years.

With freight aircraft forming a growing percentage of the company’s portfolio, he said the exponential growth of e-commerce was “very encouraging”.

He concluded: “So, basically we are very optimistic for the long-term future of the industry and especially for the niche segment that we support. We believe that 2021 will turn out to be a year of strong growth for ACIA.”

Vincent Chappard reports.


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