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Aussie asset managers support lessor’s $2.2bn fleet expansion

written by Keith Ford | January 12, 2023

Macquarie Asset Management and the Australian Retirement Trust (ART) will back a global lessor’s US$2.2 billion acquisition of 73 next-generation commercial aircraft.

Macquarie AirFinance provides leasing and financing solutions, with a portfolio of 189 aircraft leased to 77 airlines across 47 countries.

It also has a current order book of 59 Airbus A320neo and A220-300 aircraft and has counted both Qantas and Virgin as customers.

The order, which will also be backed by PGGM Infrastructure Fund (PGGM), will include 20 Boeing 737 MAXs from Kuwaiti lessor ALAFCO.


Macquarie said the transaction, first announced in November, will enable the business to expand and diversify its fleet.

The business added that it would also improve the “emissions profile, scale, average age, remaining lease term, and orderbook size of Macquarie AirFinance as the recovery of the aviation sector gains pace”.

Jonathan Watkinson-Hall, head of asset finance at Macquarie Asset Management, said, “This strategic acquisition will enable Macquarie AirFinance to grow its network of customers globally while increasing its exposure to more efficient aircraft.

“As passengers return to the skies and investor appetite for transportation assets strengthens, we are excited to support Macquarie AirFinance as it acquires this attractive portfolio and positions for future growth.”

Dennis van Alphen, head of infrastructure investments at PGGM, added that the investment is in line with PGGM’s commitment upon becoming a shareholder in Macquarie AirFinance in 2019, which was to “finance the acquisition of young aircraft and to provide an attractive risk-return to our clients”.

“In the next decades, the global aviation industry will demand aircraft with an increasingly lower carbon footprint as the industry works towards its 2050 net zero target, as formulated by IATA member airlines in 2021,” he said.

Michael Weaver, head of global real assets at ART, said, “ART is pleased to increase its investment. The diversification of Macquarie AirFinance’s fleet into more efficient and lower-emissions aircraft is consistent with our broader strategies to lower net emissions across our portfolio, while never compromising on our members’ best financial interests.

“Our partnership with Macquarie and PGGM in Macquarie AirFinance continues to provide ART’s members an attractive investment into a unique asset with diversification benefits across our portfolio.”

ALAFCO shareholders approved the transaction on 27 December 2022, with completion expected during 2023 following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

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