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Willis Lease, China Aviation Supplies Launch Engine Leasing Joint Venture

June 10, 2014, 06:10 AM
Filed Under: Aircraft

Willis Lease Finance Corporation and China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Corporation Limited ("CASC"), China's leader in aviation supplies trade, distribution and logistics, announced the launch of CASC Willis Engine Lease Company Limited ("CASC Willis"), a new 50/50 joint venture. The new company will be dedicated to supplying Chinese airlines with the best engine support solutions and creating an engine resource sharing platform. CASC Willis will be based in Shanghai and will concentrate on meeting the fast growing demand for leased commercial aircraft engines and aviation assets in the People's Republic of China.

"Willis Lease has been a long-time leader in engine leasing and MRO operations in China," said Li Hai, President and CEO of China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, the parent company of CASC. "Combined with CASC's industry expertise and strong relationships, we believe this joint venture has a very promising future. Based on industry forecasts and conservative assumptions, we believe the size of the spare engine market in China over the next five years will reach approximately US$2 billion, and we expect that CASC Willis will be well-positioned to capture a sizable portion of that business."

"We've been active in China for nearly twenty years," said Charles F. Willis IV, Chairman and CEO. "We leased our first engine in China in 1997 to Shanghai Airlines and since that time both the Chinese market and our customer base have grown significantly. Over the next twenty years, China is expected to be the world's fastest growing aviation market. In order to take full advantage of that growth potential, we felt we needed to find a strong and experienced Chinese partner. That's why we have joined together with CASC, a well-known, highly-respected company that is heavily involved in supporting the Chinese aviation industry. We are very pleased to have them as our partner and are looking forward to working together to capitalize on the many opportunities the Chinese market will present in the future."   

CASC Willis will be established within the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone ("SFTZ") in order to take advantage of the evolving governmental support programs offered to companies there. "The SFTZ is the right place for us to establish our new joint venture company, and it offers great opportunities for growth and success," said Kejian Tan, President of CASC. "By working with our new joint venture in the SFTZ, our airline customers will enjoy reduced operating costs through the lease of engines under our unique programs."

"Our initial focus will be investing in current generation engines powering the fleet of narrow body and wide body commercial aircraft in China," said Donald A. Nunemaker, President of Willis Lease. "However, we fully expect to migrate into new technology engines, such as CFM International's LEAPx, General Electric's GEnx and GE9X and Pratt & Whitney's GTF, once those engines become available."

The formation of the joint venture company is subject to board approvals and certain Chinese government approvals, which are in process and expected in the near term.

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