Leasing coming to military freighters

A C-130J Hercules dropping a pallet. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Richard Rose

MADRID — The first commercial aircraft lease was inked in 1965. Today, around 40% of commercial aircraft are leased.

Today, in addition and finally, the military sector is starting to discover leasing. At SMi Group’s Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refueling Conference here last Tuesday, both Boeing and TLD Group, a provider of cargo handling equipment, disclosed that they are working on leasing programs for their military equipment. The companies did not offer details beyond saying leasing was on their development schedules.

At least one private commercial enterprise, Skytech, is looking to provide nations with leased military transport aircraft, as well. Skytech is offering 10- to 12-year leasing options, a duration that matches expected lifecycles for military aircraft.

Some conference attendees said that leasing could revolutionize military aviation, especially since Boeing is seemingly embracing the financing option. Leasing has new appeal today, because budgets for military equipment on a global basis are becoming constrained, especially in Europe as the United States reduces its financial support of NATO. A USAF major general told Cargo Facts that leasing could notably increase global military transport aircraft acquisitions – an important endorsement for the financing option.

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