Air India has signed a definitive sale and lease back agreement with Willis Lease Finance Corporation for 34 CFM56-5B engines installed on its Airbus A320 fleet.

The engines will be covered under Willis Lease’s ConstantThrust program, which will deliver significant reliability and cost savings versus a traditional MRO shop visit program, the carrier said in a statement. 

First such agreement

This is the first ConstantThrust sale and leaseback agreement for aircraft engines by any Indian carrier.

Under the sale side of the transaction, Willis Lease will purchase from Air India 34 engines powering 13 Airbus A321 aircraft and 4 Airbus A320 aircraft. Through the program, Willis Lease will provide replacement and standby spare engines, thereby allowing Air India to avoid costly and unpredictable shop visits on engines powering a transitioning aircraft fleet. Willis Lease will also have an in-country team to co-ordinate and manage the entire programme and all logistics and transportation involved.  

Headquartered in Florida, USA, Willis Lease is a leading global aviation finance company, specialising in the lease, finance and management of aircraft, spare commercial aircraft engines and auxiliary power units. ConstantThrust leverages those capabilities and Willis Lease’s spare parts, engine and aircraft technical management services, as well as its aircraft engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, to deliver programmatic support to airlines and lessors worldwide.

Landmark transaction

According to Nipun Aggarwal, CCO, Air India, this is a unique and landmark transaction which will enable the carrier to eliminate the maintenance burden and fully de-risk itself from the maintenance cost uncertainty associated with the engines. 

“This transaction will allow Air India to derisk itself operationally, improve fleet reliability, reduce cost, and optimise cash flows,” he said. 

Aggarwal said, Air India ran a “rigorous process” to evaluate all options before selecting 

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