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Charter Airlines: Lease Or Buy?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:06 am

Do charter airlines, in particular UK airlines lease or buy thier aircraft or is it a bit of both? Surely smaller airlines like Excel cannot afford a £multimillion plane? Does this also apply to the bigger airlines like First Choice and Thomsonfly? Thanks.
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RE: Charter Airlines: Lease Or Buy?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:09 am

It's a bit of both. A number of them lease birds from other regions. This is because the "low" season in some parts of the world is in fact the "high" season for the UK. That said I don't have too much carrier specific information for you.

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RE: Charter Airlines: Lease Or Buy?

Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:39 am

For Boeing aircraft, the customer codes can give some idea of what is leased/owned. e.g. Thomsonfly's Boeing customer code is '04', so the majority of their fleet is made up of 767-204ER, 767-304ER, 757-204 and 737-804 (although the 737-500s and 737-300s have a wide variety of customer codes from being picked up on the second hand market)... But this usually only applies to new aircraft, delivered from an order placed by the operator who took delivery.

However, I believe First Choice (Boeing customer code '8A) operates some 757-236s that they own - they were originally ordered by BA, but BA dropped the order/switched it to 777s maybe, so First Choice took the aircraft brand new from Boeing (a similar situation to Virgin Atlantic taking the 747-443s originally ordered by Alitalia, but which Alitalia changed the order to 777-243s).

But these airlines can and do buy aircraft on the second hand market as well, so the customer codes in one airlines fleet can be quite varied. The leased Boeing aircraft carry the customer code of the lessor, e.g. 'Q8' for ILFC, '6N' or 'BQ' for GECAS

Airbus aircraft are harder to track as they do not have customer codes.

This link might help a little - lists of operators, their aircraft and the histories of those aircraft. Some of the data is not fully up-to-date though.
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