Icelandair Secures Financing For Three Boeing 737 MAX Jets

On October 1st, Icelandair announced that it had partnered with the firm Aviation Capital Group (ACG) to secure the financing for three of its future jets. This consists of two Boeing 737 MAX 8s and one 737 MAX 9 aircraft. With aircraft being a capital-intensive part of running an airline, leasing firms fill an essential role in allowing carriers to grow and modernize their fleets with lower upfront expenses.

Icelandair has a fleet of nine Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Photo: Icelandair

“Icelandair is delighted to team up with ACG, a long-lasting business partner, on this transaction. The campaign we ran for this financing resulted in favorable terms, that both show the faith that financiers have in the value and the opportunities of the aircraft, as well as in the strength of Icelandair and its business model.“ -Bogi Nils Bogason, President & CEO, Icelandair Group

Paying for new aircraft

When an airline orders new aircraft, someone obviously needs to pay for it. This will either come from the airline itself (with its own savings, or a loan it has secured itself), or through a lessor.

In the case of Icelandair’s three upcoming Boeing 737 MAX deliveries, the firm Aviation Capital Group (ACG) will work with the airline to finance the deal. The airline notes that this is a sale and leaseback of two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and a finance lease of one Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. Icelandair says that it had backstop financing in place for these three aircraft. However, because of the deal with ACG, this will not be exercised.

The global health crisis depleted the cash reserves of most airlines as they struggled to cover operational expenses amid plummeting revenues. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

The fact that one part of the deal was a sale and leaseback means that Icelandair had initially ordered the MAX 8s intending to own the jets outright. However, due to the airline’s financial situation, it has opted to sell these jets to ACG and lease them instead. This will allow Icelandair to follow through on its aircraft orders and fleet growth plans and still pay Boeing for the jets.

New aircraft coming soon

The aircraft for which financing has been secured are scheduled for delivery in December 2021 and January 2022. According to ch-aviation.com, these are the final jets yet to be delivered to the carrier. Indeed, following this transaction, Icelandair says that it has completed the financing of all the twelve 737 MAX aircraft that were originally ordered from Boeing in 2013.

With the aircraft being scheduled for delivery three to five months from now, we still don’t have too much info on the jets. However, with information from BOE Family Flights, we do know the most recent aircraft manufactured by Boeing marked for Icelandair was “delivered” on August 17th, 2021. This 737 MAX 9 is registered TF-ICD and was sent straight to storage at Grant County International Airport. This same jet is marked by Planespotters.net as a future order, meaning that the aircraft could have been waiting for this financing deal to go through.

Have you flown on the 737 MAX yet? Will you do so with Icelandair? Let us know in the comments.