December 9, 2014 / 10:54 AM / 3 years ago

Boeing sees funding for aircraft buyers remaining strong

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

LONDON (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) sees no let-up in the strong supply of funding available to help commercial jet aircraft buyers acquire the $124 billion worth of airliners expected to be delivered next year, the U.S. planemaker said in its annual forecast.

New aircraft deliveries have risen steadily over the last five years, with the $124 billion spending forecast for 2015 double the value of deliveries in 2010.

“The financing today ... is continuing to be very plentiful for airlines,” Boeing Capital Corporation’s vice president for aircraft financial services, Tim Myers, told reporters at a news conference.

“We’re seeing the most volume we’ve ever seen in this market right now.”

Airlines were benefiting from the liquidity of the jet financing market, an increasing diversity of sources available, competition between lenders and low interest rates.

Demand for new jets is expected to continue to rise, driven by emerging markets such as China. In September Airbus (AIR.PA), Boeing’s main rival, raised its 20-year forecast for jet demand by 7 percent to 31,400 passenger and freighter aircraft worth some $4.6 trillion at list prices.

Lenders into the market were attracted by the anticipated growth in passenger traffic, record airline profitability and the strong need amongst some airlines to replace their fleet with more fuel-efficient jets.

Capital markets are a growing source of funding for aircraft deliveries, forecast to support nearly a third of deliveries next year, up from just 3 percent in 2009.

Guarantees from government-backed export credit agencies (ECA), which rose sharply as a funding source during the financial crisis, are expected to continue, but at historically low levels, Boeing said.

The U.S. Congress is grappling with whether to reauthorise the U.S. Export Import Bank’s charter. Boeing and others argue that the institution is crucial to their ability to compete.

“Even though there’s a lot of financing out there today, it’s coming from all over, they (customers) still want to be assured that the ExIm bank is there when they need it, so it’s important,” Myers said.

RUSSIAN BUYING

Specific concerns have been raised over whether such funding will remain available to airlines in Russia amid tensions with the West over the conflict in Ukraine.

Boeing is set to deliver aircraft worth $2 billion to Russia over the next 18 months, with sanctions against the country making it more difficult to secure funding, because it ruled out tapping some funding sources in Europe and capital markets in the United States, Myers said.

“We’re working with them ... to bring other lending sources that don’t have those same kind of sanctions,” he said, adding that Chinese and Middle East lenders were amongst those who could help finance the jets heading to Russia.

Myers shrugged off concerns that the falling price of oil could affect appetites for new aircraft, saying that more fuel-efficient new jets with lower maintenance requirements were needed by airlines who had not replaced aircraft for decades.

“It doesn’t really drive down the need for the kind of replacement that we’re seeing,” he said.

The price of benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 has plummeted 43 percent since June, reaching a five-year low of below $66 a barrel on Tuesday.

Editing by Greg Mahlich

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