Willis to Lease Engines to Southwest Airlines

Willis Lease Finance reported Q1/15 net income of $2.3 million compared to net income of $4.3 million in Q1/14. Total revenue of $42.8 million was down from $43.3 million a year earlier. Willis noted that lease rent revenue of $25.1 million was down 6.7% from $26.9 million in Q1/14.

“During the first quarter we made good progress toward improving our portfolio utilization percentage,” said Charles F. Willis, CEO. “We increased our utilization rate from 79% at year-end to 83% as of March 31, 2015.”

A major highlight during Q1/15 involved Willis Lease entering into an engine lease support agreement with Southwest Airlines, to provide long-term lease support to Southwest for twenty-two CFM56-7B24 spare aircraft engines over the course of the next five years. The first two engines to be leased under this agreement have now been delivered. “I’m very proud of the work our team did to put this transaction together, and it’s an outstanding achievement to have been selected by Southwest for this program,” said Willis.

“We now have seen four consecutive months of steadily improved utilization since year-end 2014,” said Donald A. Nunemaker, president. “We have gone from 79% at year-end to 84% at the end of April. This equates to an increase in the amount of on-lease assets of approximately $50 million during this four-month period.

The forgoing excludes a new GEnx engine which we purchased at the end of April and for which we are pursuing various lease opportunities. The GEnx engine powers the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and is the first of its kind in our portfolio.”

“Besides working to increase utilization, we are also placing greater emphasis on funding new portfolio growth,” added Nunemaker. “Since we formed the Willis Mitsui joint venture over three years ago, we have grown that portfolio to approximately $260 million in net book value while at the same time maintaining the Willis Lease portfolio at right around $1 billion. We expect to see more balanced growth of the two portfolios going forward. We also expect to purchase more aircraft as a means of sourcing less expensive engines both for our engine lease pools and for part-out.”

To view the full Willis Lease Finance news release, click here.

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