10-K 1 al-20171231x10k.htm 10-K al_Current_Folio_10K

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549


FORM 10‑K

(Mark One)

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                          to                        

Commission File Number 001-35121

AIR LEASE CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)

27‑1840403
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

2000 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1000N
Los Angeles, California
(Address of principal executive offices)

90067
(Zip Code)

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code): (310) 553-0555

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

    

Name of each exchange
on which registered

Class A Common Stock

 

New York

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well‑known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒  No ☐

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes ☐  No ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S‑T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S‑K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10‑K or any amendment to this Form 10‑K. ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check One):

Large accelerated filer ☒

Accelerated filer ☐

Non‑accelerated filer ☐
(Do not check if a
smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company ☐

 

 

 

Emerging growth company ☐

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the Registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐     No ☒

The aggregate market value of registrant’s voting stock held by non‑affiliates was approximately $3.6 billion on June 30, 2017, based upon the last reported sales price on the New York Stock Exchange. As of February 21, 2018, there were 103,621,629 shares of Class A common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Designated portions of the Proxy Statement relating to registrant’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders have been incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.

 

 


 

Form 10‑K

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2017

INDEX

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

Page

PART I. 

 

Item 1. 

 

Business

4

Item 1A. 

 

Risk Factors

13

Item 1B. 

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

36

Item 2. 

 

Properties

36

Item 3. 

 

Legal Proceedings

37

Item 4. 

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

38

PART II 

 

Item 5. 

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

39

Item 6. 

 

Selected Financial Data

42

Item 7. 

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

45

Item 7A. 

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

64

Item 8. 

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

66

Item 9. 

 

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

96

Item 9A. 

 

Controls and Procedures

96

Item 9B. 

 

Other Information

96

PART III 

 

Item 10. 

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

97

Item 11. 

 

Executive Compensation

97

Item 12. 

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management Related Stockholder Matters

97

Item 13. 

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

97

Item 14. 

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

97

PART IV 

 

Item 15. 

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

98

Item 16. 

 

Form 10-K Summary

110

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10‑K and other publicly available documents may contain or incorporate statements that constitute forward‑looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Those statements appear in a number of places in this Form 10‑K and include statements regarding, among other matters, the state of the airline industry, our access to the capital markets, our ability to restructure leases and repossess aircraft, the structure of our leases, regulatory matters pertaining to compliance with governmental regulations, and other factors affecting our financial condition or results of operations. Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates” and “should,” and variations of these words and similar expressions, are used in many cases to identify these forward‑looking statements. Any such forward‑looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results to vary materially from our future results, performance or achievements, or those of our industry, expressed or implied in such forward‑looking statements. Such factors include, among others, general commercial aviation industry, economic, and business conditions, which will, among other things, affect demand for aircraft, availability, and creditworthiness of current and prospective lessees, lease rates, availability and cost of financing and operating expenses, governmental actions and initiatives, and environmental and safety requirements, as well as the factors discussed under “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. We do not intend and undertake no obligation to update any forward‑looking information to reflect actual results or future events or circumstances.

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PART I

ITEM 1.  BUSINESS

Overview

Air Lease Corporation (the “Company”, “ALC”, “we”, “our” or “us”) is a leading aircraft leasing company that was founded by aircraft leasing industry pioneer, Steven F. Udvar-Házy. We are principally engaged in purchasing new commercial jet transport aircraft directly from aircraft manufacturers, such as The Boeing Company (“Boeing”) and Airbus S.A.S. (“Airbus”), and leasing those aircraft to airlines throughout the world with the intention to generate attractive returns on equity. In addition to our leasing activities, we sell aircraft from our operating lease portfolio to third parties, including other leasing companies, financial services companies, and airlines. We also provide fleet management services to investors and owners of aircraft portfolios for a management fee.  Our operating performance is driven by the growth of our fleet, the terms of our leases, the interest rates on our debt, and the aggregate amount of our indebtedness, supplemented by the gains from our aircraft sales and trading activities and our management fees.

We currently have relationships with over 200 airlines across 70 countries. We operate our business on a global basis, providing aircraft to airline customers in every major geographical region, including markets such as Asia, the Pacific Rim, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and North America. Many of these markets are experiencing increased demand for passenger airline travel and have lower market saturation than more mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe. We expect that these markets will also present significant replacement opportunities in upcoming years as many airlines look to replace aging aircraft with new, modern technology, fuel efficient jet aircraft. An important focus of our strategy is meeting the needs of this replacement market. Airlines in some of these markets have fewer financing alternatives, enabling us to command relatively higher lease rates compared to those in more mature markets.

We mitigate the risks of owning and leasing aircraft through careful management and diversification of our leases and lessees by geography, lease term, and aircraft age and type. We believe that diversification of our operating lease portfolio reduces the risks associated with individual lessee defaults and adverse geopolitical and regional economic events. We mitigate the risks associated with cyclical variations in the airline industry by managing customer concentrations and lease maturities in our operating lease portfolio to minimize periods of concentrated lease expirations. In order to maximize residual values and minimize the risk of obsolescence, our strategy is to own an aircraft during the first third of its expected 25 year useful life.

We ended 2017 with 244 owned aircraft and 50 aircraft in our managed fleet portfolio.  As of December, 31, 2017, the net book value of our fleet increased by 10.3%, as compared to December 31, 2016, to $13.3 billion, with a weighted average lease term remaining of 6.8 years and a weighted average age of 3.8 years. We have a globally diversified customer base comprised of 91 airlines in 55 countries. As of February 22, 2018, all of our aircraft in our operating lease portfolio were subject to lease agreements.

During 2017, we increased our total commitments with Airbus and Boeing by a net 35 aircraft.  As of December 31, 2017, we had commitments to purchase 368 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing for delivery through 2023, with an estimated aggregate commitment of $27.0 billion.  We ended 2017 with $23.4 billion in committed minimum future rental payments and placed 79% of our order book on long-term leases for aircraft delivering through 2020.  This includes $10.1 billion in contracted minimum rental payments on the aircraft in our existing fleet and $13.3 billion in minimum future rental payments related to aircraft which will deliver between 2018 and 2022.

We finance the purchase of aircraft and our business with available cash balances, internally generated funds, including aircraft sales and trading activities, and debt financings. Our debt financing strategy is focused on raising unsecured debt in the global bank and debt capital markets, with a limited utilization of export credit or other forms of secured financing. In 2017, we issued $2.2 billion senior unsecured notes with an average interest rate of 3.16%, with maturities ranging from 2022 to 2027 and in January 2018, we issued (i) $550.0 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2021 that bear interest at a rate of 2.50% and (ii) $700.0 million in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2025 that bear interest at a rate of 3.25%. In 2017, we increased our unsecured

4


 

revolving credit facility capacity to approximately $3.8 billion, representing an 18.6% increase from 2016 and extended the final maturity to May 5, 2021. In February 2018, we further increased the capacity of our unsecured revolving credit facility by 4.7% to approximately $3.9 billion. Borrowings under our unsecured revolving credit facility will bear interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 1.05% per year. We ended 2017 with total debt outstanding, net of discounts and issuance costs, of $9.7 billion, of which 85.4% was at a fixed rate and 94.6% of which was unsecured.  Our composite cost of funds decreased to 3.20% as of December 31, 2017 from 3.42% as of December 31, 2016.

On December 22, 2017, the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Reform Act”) was signed into law.  The Tax Reform Act significantly revised the U.S. corporate income tax law by, among other things, lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. As a result of the Tax Reform Act, we recorded an estimated tax benefit of $354.1 million or $3.16 per diluted share due to the remeasurement of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the quarter ended December 31, 2017.

In 2017, total revenues increased by 6.9% to $1.5 billion, compared to 2016.  The increase in our total revenues is primarily due to the $1.2 billion increase in the net book value of our operating lease portfolio. Our net income for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $756.2 million, or $6.82 per diluted share compared to $374.9 million, or $3.44 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2016. The increase in our net income and diluted earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2017 was due to the $1.2 billion increase in the net book value of our operating lease portfolio, and the re-measurement of our U.S. deferred tax liabilities associated with the enactment of the Tax Reform Act, resulting in a tax benefit of $354.1 million. Our pre-tax profit margin for the year ended December 31, 2017 was 40.2% as compared to 40.9% for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Our adjusted net income before income taxes excludes the effects of certain non-cash items, one-time or non-recurring items, such as settlement expense, net of recoveries, that are not expected to continue in the future and certain other items. Our adjusted net income before income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $657.8 million or $5.94 per diluted share, compared to $622.9 million, or $5.67 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2016. Our adjusted margin before income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2017 was 43.4% compared to 44.1% for the year ended December 31, 2016.  Adjusted net income before income taxes, adjusted margin before income taxes and adjusted diluted earnings per share before income taxes are measures of financial and operational performance that are not defined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”).  See Note 2 in “Item 6. Selected Financial Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of adjusted net income before income taxes and adjusted diluted earnings per share before income taxes as non-GAAP measures and reconciliation of these measures to net income.

Operations to Date

Current Fleet

Our fleet, based on net book value, increased by 10.3% to $13.3 billion as of December 31, 2017 compared to $12.0 billion as of December 31, 2016.  As of December 31, 2017, we owned 244 aircraft, comprised of 188 narrowbody jet aircraft and 56 widebody jet aircraft, with a weighted average age of 3.8 years. As of December 31, 2016, we owned 237 aircraft, comprised of 188 narrowbody jet aircraft and 49 widebody jet aircraft, with a weighted average age of 3.8 years. In addition, we also managed 50 jet aircraft for third party owners on a fee basis as of December 31, 2017 compared to 30 jet aircraft as of December 31, 2016.

5


 

Geographic Diversification

Over 95% of our aircraft are operated internationally. The following table sets forth the dollar amount and percentage of our rental of flight equipment revenues attributable to the respective geographical regions based on each airline’s principal place of business:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended

 

Year Ended

 

Year Ended

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

December 31, 2016

 

December 31, 2015

 

 

 

Amount of

 

 

 

Amount of

 

 

 

Amount of

 

 

 

 

 

Rental

 

 

 

Rental

 

 

 

Rental

 

 

 

Region

    

Revenue

    

% of Total

    

Revenue

    

% of Total

    

Revenue

    

% of Total

 

 

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

 

Europe

 

$

450,628

 

31.1

%  

$

400,491

 

29.9

%  

$

380,295

 

32.4

%

Asia (excluding China)

 

 

332,284

 

22.9

%  

 

308,658

 

23.1

%  

 

223,284

 

19.0

%

China

 

 

324,147

 

22.3

%  

 

293,206

 

21.9

%  

 

265,450

 

22.6

%

The Middle East and Africa

 

 

116,799

 

8.1

%  

 

106,300

 

7.9

%  

 

90,416

 

7.7

%

Central America, South America, and Mexico

 

 

102,205

 

7.0

%  

 

112,068

 

8.4

%  

 

114,672

 

9.8

%

U.S. and Canada

 

 

76,685

 

5.3

%  

 

69,918

 

5.2

%  

 

54,294

 

4.6

%

Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand

 

 

47,987

 

3.3

%  

 

48,361

 

3.6

%  

 

46,133

 

3.9

%

Total

 

$

1,450,735

 

100.0

%  

$

1,339,002

 

100.0

%  

$

1,174,544

 

100.0

%

 

The following table sets forth the regional concentration based on each airline's principal place of business of our flight equipment subject to operating lease based on net book value as of December 31, 2017 and 2016:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

December 31, 2016

 

 

    

Net Book 

    

 

    

Net Book

    

 

 

Region

 

Value

 

% of Total

 

Value

 

% of Total

 

 

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

 

Europe

 

$

4,205,431

 

31.7

%  

$

3,547,294

 

29.5

%

Asia (excluding China)

 

 

2,981,339

 

22.4

%  

 

2,739,554

 

22.7

%

China

 

 

2,720,124

 

20.5

%  

 

2,779,546

 

23.0

%

The Middle East and Africa

 

 

1,481,825

 

11.2

%  

 

935,968

 

7.8

%

Central America, South America, and Mexico

 

 

926,732

 

7.0

%  

 

937,287

 

7.8

%

U.S. and Canada

 

 

599,367

 

4.5

%  

 

647,743

 

5.4

%

Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand

 

 

365,432

 

2.7

%  

 

454,533

 

3.8

%

Total

 

$

13,280,250

 

100.0

%  

$

12,041,925

 

100.0

%

 

At December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, we owned and managed leased aircraft to customers in the following regions based on each airline's principal place of business:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

December 31, 2016

 

December 31, 2015

 

 

    

Number of

    

 

    

Number of

    

 

    

Number of

    

 

 

Region

 

Customers(1)

 

% of Total

 

Customers(1)

 

% of Total

 

Customers(1)

 

% of Total

 

Europe

 

31

 

34.0

%  

27

 

31.8

%  

27

 

30.0

%

Asia (excluding China)

 

18

 

19.8

%  

18

 

21.2

%  

19

 

21.1

%

U.S. and Canada

 

11

 

12.1

%  

12

 

14.1

%  

11

 

12.2

%

The Middle East and Africa

 

11

 

12.1

%  

 7

 

8.2

%  

 8

 

8.9

%

China

 

 9

 

9.9

%  

 9

 

10.6

%  

12

 

13.4

%

Central America, South America, and Mexico

 

 9

 

9.9

%  

 9

 

10.6

%  

11

 

12.2

%

Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand

 

 2

 

2.2

%  

 3

 

3.5

%  

 2

 

2.2

%

Total

 

91

 

100.0

%  

85

 

100.0

%  

90

 

100.0

%


(1)

A customer is an airline with its own operating certificate.

6


 

For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015, China was the only individual country that represented at least 10% of our rental revenue based on each airline's principal place of business. In 2017, 2016, and 2015, no rental revenue from any individual airline represented 10% or more of our rental revenue.

Aircraft Acquisition Strategy

We seek to acquire the most highly in demand and widely distributed, modern technology, fuel efficient narrowbody and widebody commercial jet transport aircraft. Our strategy is to order new aircraft directly from the manufacturers. When placing new aircraft orders with the manufacturers, we strategically target the replacement of aging aircraft with modern technology aircraft. Additionally, we look to supplement our order pipeline with opportunistic purchases of aircraft in the secondary market and participate in sale-leaseback transactions with airlines.

Prior to ordering aircraft, we evaluate the market for specific types of aircraft. We consider the overall demand for the aircraft type in the marketplace based on our deep knowledge of the aviation industry and our customer relationships. It is important to assess the airplane’s economic viability, the operating performance characteristics, engine variant options, intended utilization by our customers, and which aircraft types it will replace or compete with in the global market. Additionally, we study the effects of global airline passenger traffic growth in order to determine the likely demand for our new aircraft.

For new aircraft deliveries, we source many components separately, which include seats, safety equipment, avionics, galleys, cabin finishes, engines, and other equipment. Often times we are able to achieve lower pricing through direct bulk purchase contracts with the component manufacturers than would be achievable if the airframe manufacturers sourced the components for the airplane. Manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus install this buyer furnished equipment in our aircraft during the final assembly process at their facilities. With this purchasing strategy, we are able to meet specific customer configuration requirements and lower the total acquisition cost of the aircraft.

Aircraft Leasing Strategy

The airline industry is a complex industry with constantly evolving competition, code shares (where two or more airlines share the same flight), alliances, and passenger traffic patterns. This requires frequent updating and flexibility within an airline’s fleet. The operating lease allows airlines to effectively adapt and manage their fleets through varying market conditions without bearing the full financial risk associated with these capital intensive assets which have an expected useful life of 25 years. This fleet flexibility enables airlines to more effectively operate and compete in their respective markets. We work closely with our airline customers throughout the world to help optimize their long-term aircraft fleet strategies.

We work to mitigate the risks associated with owning and leasing aircraft and cyclical variations in the airline industry through careful management of our fleet, including managing customer concentrations by geography and region, entering into long term leases, staggering lease maturities, balancing aircraft type exposures, and maintaining a young fleet age. We believe that diversification of our operating lease portfolio reduces the risks associated with individual customer defaults and the impact of adverse geopolitical and regional economic events. In order to maximize residual values and minimize the risk of obsolescence, our strategy is generally to own an aircraft for approximately the first third of its expected 25 year useful life.

Our management team identifies prospective airline customers based upon industry knowledge and long‑standing relationships. Prior to leasing an aircraft, we evaluate the competitive positioning of the airline, the strength and quality of the management team, and the financial performance of the airline. Management obtains and reviews relevant business materials from all prospective customers before entering into a lease agreement. Under certain circumstances, the customer may be required to obtain guarantees or other financial support from a sovereign entity or a financial institution. We work closely with our existing customers and potential lessees to develop customized lease structures that address their specific needs. We typically enter into a lease agreement 18 to 36 months in advance of the delivery of a new aircraft from our order book. Once the aircraft has been delivered and operated by the airline, we look

7


 

to remarket the aircraft and sign a follow-on lease six to 12 months ahead of the scheduled expiry of the initial lease term. Our leases typically contain the following key provisions:

·

our leases are primarily structured as operating leases, whereby we retain the residual rights to the aircraft;

·

our leases are triple net leases, whereby the lessee is responsible for all operating costs including taxes, insurance, and aircraft maintenance;

·

our leases typically require all payments be made in U.S. dollars;

·

our leases are typically for fixed rates and terms;

·

our leases typically require cash security deposits and maintenance reserve payments; and

·

our leases contain provisions which require payment whether or not the aircraft is operated, irrespective of the circumstances.

The lessee is responsible for compliance with applicable laws and regulations with respect to the aircraft. We require our lessees to comply with the standards of either the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) or its equivalent in foreign jurisdictions. As a function of these laws and the provisions in our lease contracts, the lessees are responsible to perform all maintenance of the aircraft and return the aircraft and its components in a specified return condition. Generally, we receive a cash deposit and maintenance reserves as security for the lessee’s performance of obligations under the lease and the condition of the aircraft upon return. In addition, most leases contain extensive provisions regarding our remedies and rights in the event of a default by a lessee. The lessee generally is required to continue to make lease payments under all circumstances, including periods during which the aircraft is not in operation due to maintenance or grounding.

Some foreign countries have currency and exchange laws regulating the international transfer of currencies. When necessary, we may require, as a condition to any foreign transaction, that the lessee or purchaser in a foreign country obtain the necessary approvals of the appropriate government agency, finance ministry, or central bank for the remittance of all funds contractually owed in U.S. dollars. We attempt to minimize our currency and exchange risks by negotiating the designated payment currency in our leases to be U.S. dollars. To meet the needs of certain of our airline customers, we have agreed to accept certain lease payments in a foreign currency. After we agree to the rental payment currency with an airline, the negotiated currency typically remains for the term of the lease. We may enter into contracts to mitigate our foreign currency risk, but we expect that the economic risk arising from foreign currency denominated leases will be insignificant to us.

We may, in connection with the lease of used aircraft, agree to contribute specific additional amounts to the cost of certain first major maintenance events or modifications, which usually reflect the usage of the aircraft prior to the commencement of the lease. We may be obligated under the leases to make reimbursements of maintenance reserves previously received to lessees for expenses incurred for certain planned major maintenance. We also, on occasion, may contribute towards aircraft modifications and recover any such costs over the life of the lease.

Monitoring

During the lease term, we closely follow the operating and financial performance of our lessees. We maintain a high level of communication with the lessee and frequently evaluate the state of the market in which the lessee operates, including the impact of changes in passenger air travel and preferences, emerging competition, new government regulations, regional catastrophes, and other unforeseen shocks that are relevant to the airline’s market. This enables us to identify lessees that may be experiencing operating and financial difficulties. This identification assists us in assessing the lessee’s ability to fulfill its obligations under the lease. This monitoring also identifies candidates, where appropriate, to restructure the lease prior to the lessee’s insolvency or the initiation of bankruptcy or similar proceedings. Once an

8


 

insolvency or bankruptcy occurs, we typically have less control over, and would most likely incur greater costs in connection with, the restructuring of the lease or the repossession of the aircraft.

During the life of the lease, situations may lead us to restructure leases with our lessees. When we repossess an aircraft leased in a foreign country, we generally expect to export the aircraft from the lessee’s jurisdiction. In some very limited situations, the lessees may not fully cooperate in returning the aircraft. In those cases, we will take appropriate legal action, a process that could ultimately delay the return and export of the aircraft. In addition, in connection with the repossession of an aircraft, we may be required to pay outstanding mechanics’ liens, airport charges, and navigation fees and other amounts secured by liens on the repossessed aircraft. These charges could relate to other aircraft that we do not own but were operated by the lessee.

Remarketing

Our lease agreements are generally structured to require lessees to notify us nine to 12 months in advance of the lease’s expiration if a lessee desires to renew or extend the lease. Requiring lessees to provide us with such advance notice provides our management team with an extended period of time to consider a broad set of alternatives with respect to the aircraft, including assessing general market and competitive conditions and preparing to remarket or sell the aircraft. If a lessee fails to provide us with notice, the lease will automatically expire at the end of the term, and the lessee will be required to return the aircraft pursuant to the conditions in the lease. Our leases contain detailed provisions regarding the required condition of the aircraft and its components upon redelivery at the end of the lease term.

Aircraft Sales & Trading Strategy

Our strategy is to maintain a portfolio of young aircraft with a widely diversified customer base. In order to achieve this profile, we primarily order new planes directly from the manufacturers, place them on long term leases, and sell the aircraft when they near the end of the first third of their expected 25 year economic useful lives. We typically sell aircraft that are currently operated by an airline with multiple years of lease term remaining on the contract, in order to achieve the maximum disposition value of the aircraft. Buyers of the aircraft may include leasing companies, financial institutions, and airlines. We also, from time to time, buy and sell aircraft on an opportunistic basis for trading profits. In the past three years ended December 31, 2017, we sold 101 aircraft. Additionally, we may provide management services to buyers of our aircraft asset for a fee.

Aircraft Management Strategy

We supplement our core business model by providing fleet management services to third party investors and owners of aircraft portfolios for a management fee. This allows us to better serve our airline customers and expand our existing airline customer base by providing additional leasing opportunities beyond our own aircraft portfolio, new order pipeline, and customer or regional concentration limits.

Financing Strategy

We finance the purchase of aircraft and our business with available cash balances, internally generated funds, including aircraft sales and trading activity, and debt financings. We have structured the Company to have investment grade credit metrics and our debt financing strategy has focused on funding our business on an unsecured basis. Unsecured financing provides us with operational flexibility when selling or transitioning aircraft from one airline to another. We may, to a limited extent, utilize export credit or other forms of secured financing.

Insurance

We require our lessees to carry those types of insurance that are customary in the air transportation industry, including comprehensive liability insurance, aircraft all‑risk hull insurance, and war‑risk insurance covering risks such as hijacking, terrorism (but excluding coverage for weapons of mass destruction and nuclear events), confiscation, expropriation, seizure, and nationalization. We generally require a certificate of insurance from the lessee’s insurance broker prior to delivery of an aircraft. Generally, all certificates of insurance contain a breach of warranty endorsement

9


 

so that our interests are not prejudiced by any act or omission of the lessee. Lease agreements generally require hull and liability limits to be in U.S. dollars, which are shown on the certificate of insurance.

Insurance premiums are to be paid by the lessee, with coverage acknowledged by the broker or carrier. The territorial coverage, in each case, should be suitable for the lessee’s area of operations. We generally require that the certificates of insurance contain, among other provisions, a provision prohibiting cancellation or material change without at least 30 days’ advance written notice to the insurance broker (who would be obligated to give us prompt notice), except in the case of hull war insurance policies, which customarily only provide seven days’ advance written notice for cancellation and may be subject to shorter notice under certain market conditions. Furthermore, the insurance is primary and not contributory, and we require that all insurance carriers be required to waive rights of subrogation against us.

The stipulated loss value schedule under aircraft hull insurance policies is on an agreed‑value basis acceptable to us and usually exceeds the book value of the aircraft. In cases where we believe that the agreed value stated in the lease is not sufficient, we make arrangements to cover such deficiency, which would include the purchase of additional “Total Loss Only” coverage for the deficiency.

Aircraft hull policies generally contain standard clauses covering aircraft engines. The lessee is required to pay all deductibles. Furthermore, the hull war policies generally contain full war risk endorsements, including, but not limited to, confiscation (where available), seizure, hijacking and similar forms of retention or terrorist acts.

The comprehensive liability insurance listed on certificates of insurance generally include provisions for bodily injury, property damage, passenger liability, cargo liability, and such other provisions reasonably necessary in commercial passenger and cargo airline operations. We expect that such certificates of insurance list combined comprehensive single liability limits of not less than $500.0 million for Airbus and Boeing aircraft and $200.0 million for Embraer S.A. (“Embraer”). As a standard in the industry, airline operator's policies contain a sublimit for third-party war risk liability generally in the amount of at least $150.0 million. We require each lessee to purchase higher limits of third-party war risk liability or obtain an indemnity from its respective government.

The international aviation insurance market has exclusions for physical damage to aircraft hulls caused by dirty bombs, bio‑hazardous materials, and electromagnetic pulsing. Exclusions for the same type of perils could be introduced into liability policies in the future.

We cannot assure you that our lessees will be adequately insured against all risks, that lessees will at all times comply with their obligations to maintain insurance, that any particular claim will be paid, or that lessees will be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at commercially reasonable rates in the future.

Separately, we purchase contingent liability insurance and contingent hull insurance on all aircraft in our fleet and maintain other insurance covering the specific needs of our business operations. While we believe our insurance is adequate both as to coverages and amounts, we cannot assure you that we are adequately insured against all risks.

Competition

The leasing, remarketing, and sale of aircraft is highly competitive. We are one of the largest aircraft lessors operating on a global scale.  We face competition from aircraft manufacturers, banks, financial institutions, other leasing companies, aircraft brokers, and airlines. Some of our competitors may have greater operating and financial resources and access to lower capital costs than we have. Competition for leasing transactions is based on a number of factors, including delivery dates, lease rates, lease terms, other lease provisions, aircraft condition, and the availability in the marketplace of the types of aircraft required to meet the needs of airline customers. Competition in the purchase and sale of used aircraft is based principally on the availability of used aircraft, price, the terms of the lease to which an aircraft is subject, and the creditworthiness of the lessee, if any.

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Government Regulation

The air transportation industry is highly regulated. We do not operate commercial aircraft, and thus may not be directly subject to many industry laws and regulations, such as regulations of the U.S. Department of State (the “DOS”), the U.S. Department of Transportation, or their counterpart organizations in foreign countries regarding the operation of aircraft for public transportation of passengers and property. As discussed below, however, we are subject to government regulation in a number of respects. In addition, our lessees are subject to extensive regulation under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they are registered or operate. These laws govern, among other things, the registration, operation, maintenance, and condition of the aircraft.

We are required to register our aircraft with an aviation authority mutually agreed upon with our lessee. Each aircraft registered to fly must have a Certificate of Airworthiness, which is a certificate demonstrating the aircraft’s compliance with applicable government rules and regulations and that the aircraft is considered airworthy. Each airline we lease to must have a valid operation certificate to operate our aircraft. Our lessees are obligated to maintain the Certificates of Airworthiness for the aircraft they lease.

Our involvement with the civil aviation authorities of foreign jurisdictions consists largely of requests to register and deregister our aircraft on those countries’ registries.

We are also subject to the regulatory authority of the DOS and the U.S. Department of Commerce (the “DOC”) to the extent such authority relates to the export of aircraft for lease and sale to foreign entities and the export of parts to be installed on our aircraft. We may be required to obtain export licenses for parts installed in aircraft exported to foreign countries. The DOC and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (through its Office of Foreign Assets Control, or "OFAC") impose restrictions on the operation of U.S.-made goods, such as aircraft and engines, in sanctioned countries, as well as on the ability of U.S. companies to conduct business with entities in those countries. The U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 (the “Patriot Act”) prohibits financial transactions by U.S. persons, including U.S. individuals, entities, and charitable organizations, with individuals and organizations designated as terrorists and terrorist supporters by the U.S. Secretary of State or the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, enforces regulations related to the import of aircraft into the United States for maintenance or lease and the importation of parts into the U.S. for installation.

Jurisdictions in which aircraft are registered as well as jurisdictions in which they operate may impose regulations relating to noise and emission standards. In addition, most countries’ aviation laws require aircraft to be maintained under an approved maintenance program with defined procedures and intervals for inspection, maintenance and repair. To the extent that aircraft are not subject to a lease or a lessee is not in compliance, we are required to comply with such requirements, possibly at our own expense.

Employees

As of December 31, 2017, we had 87 full-time employees. On average, our senior management team has approximately 27 years of experience in the commercial aviation industry. None of our employees are represented by a union or collective bargaining agreements.

Access to Our Information

We file annual, quarterly, current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We make our public SEC filings available, at no cost, through our website at www.airleasecorp.com as soon as reasonably practicable after the report is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The information contained on or connected to our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10‑K and should not be considered part of this or any other report filed with the SEC. We will also provide these reports in electronic or paper format free of charge upon written request made to Investor Relations at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1000N, Los Angeles, California 90067. Our SEC filings are also available free of charge on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The public may also read and copy any document we file with the SEC at the

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SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549. Please call the SEC at 1‑800‑SEC‑0330 for further information on the operation of the public reference room.

Corporate Information

Air Lease Corporation incorporated in Delaware and launched in February 2010. Our website is www.airleasecorp.com. We may post information that is important to investors on our website. Information included or referred to on, or otherwise accessible through, our website is not intended to form a part of or be incorporated by reference into this report.

Executive Officers of the Company

Set forth below is certain information concerning each of our executive officers as of February 22, 2018, including his/her age, current position with the Company and business experience during the past five years.

Name

    

Age

    

Company Position

    

Prior Positions

Steven F. Udvar‑Házy

 

71

 

Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors (since July 2016)

 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, February 2010-June 2016

John L. Plueger

 

63

 

Chief Executive Officer, President and Director (since July 2016)

 

President, Chief Operating Officer and Director, March 2010-June 2016

Carol H. Forsyte

 

55

 

Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer (since September 2012)

 

 

Gregory B. Willis

 

39

 

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (since July 2016)

 

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, March 2012-June 2016

Marc H. Baer

 

53

 

Executive Vice President, Marketing (since April 2010)

 

 

Jie Chen

 

54

 

Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Asia (since August 2010)

 

 

Alex A. Khatibi

 

57

 

Executive Vice President (since April 2010)

 

 

Kishore Korde

 

44

 

Executive Vice President, Marketing (since May 2015)

 

Senior Vice President, Marketing, 2010-May 2015

Grant A. Levy

 

55

 

Executive Vice President (since April 2010)

 

 

John D. Poerschke

 

56

 

Executive Vice President of Aircraft Procurement and Specifications (since February 2017)

 

Senior Vice President of Aircraft Procurement and Specifications, March 2010-February 2017

 

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ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS

The following important risk factors, and those risk factors described elsewhere in this report or in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause our actual results to differ materially from those stated in forward-looking statements contained in this document and elsewhere. These risks are not presented in order of importance or probability of occurrence. Further, the risks described below are not the only risks that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations. Any of these risks may have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, profitability, cash flows or liquidity.

Risks Relating to Our Business

We cannot assure you that we will be able to enter into profitable leases for any aircraft acquired, which failure to do so would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We cannot assure you that we will be able to enter into profitable leases upon the acquisition of the aircraft we purchase in the future. Our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations depend upon our management team’s judgment and ability to evaluate the ability of lessees and other counterparties to perform their obligations to us and to negotiate transaction documents. We cannot assure you that our management team will be able to perform such functions in a manner that will achieve our investment objectives, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Our business model depends on the continual leasing and remarketing of our aircraft, and we may not be able to do so on favorable terms, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Our business model depends on the continual leasing and remarketing of our aircraft in order to generate sufficient revenues to finance our growth and operations, pay our debt service obligations and generate cash flows from operations. Our ability to lease and remarket our aircraft will depend on general market and competitive conditions at the time the leases are entered into and expire. If we are not able to lease or remarket an aircraft or to do so on favorable terms, we may be required to attempt to sell the aircraft to provide funds for our debt service obligations or operating expenses. Our ability to lease, remarket or sell the aircraft on favorable terms or without significant off-lease time and costs could be negatively affected by depressed conditions in the aviation industry, government and environmental regulations, increased operating costs including the price and availability of jet fuel, airline bankruptcies, the effects of terrorism, war, natural disasters and/or epidemic diseases on airline passenger traffic trends, declines in the values of aircraft, and various other general market and competitive conditions and factors which are outside of our control. If we are unable to lease and remarket our aircraft on favorable terms, or at all, our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations would be negatively impacted.

Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain capital on favorable terms to finance our growth through the purchase of aircraft and to repay our outstanding debt obligations as they mature.  If we are not able to obtain capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, it would significantly impact our ability to compete effectively in the commercial aircraft leasing market and would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Growing our fleet will require substantial additional capital. Accordingly, we will need to obtain additional financing, which may not be available to us on favorable terms or at all.  Further, we must continue to have access to the capital markets and other sources of financing in order to repay our outstanding obligations as they mature.  Our access to sources of financing will depend upon a number of factors over which we have limited control, including:

·

general market conditions;

·

the market’s view of the quality of our assets;

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·

the market’s perception of our growth potential;

·

interest rate fluctuations;

·

our current and potential future earnings and cash distributions; and

·

the market price of our Class A common stock.

Weaknesses in the capital and credit markets could negatively affect our ability to obtain financing or could increase the costs of financing.  For instance, during the 2008 financial crisis, many companies experienced downward pressure on their share prices and had limited or no access to the credit markets, often without regard to their underlying financial strength. If financial market disruption and volatility were to occur again, we cannot assure you that we will be able to access capital, which could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, if there are new regulatory capital requirements imposed on our private lenders, they may be required to limit, or increase the cost of, financing they provide to us. In general, this could potentially increase our financing costs and reduce our liquidity or require us to sell assets at an inopportune time or price.

If we are unable to raise additional funds or obtain capital on terms acceptable to us, we may not be able to satisfy funding requirements for any aircraft acquisition commitments then in place. If we are unable to satisfy our purchase commitments, we may be forced to forfeit our deposits. Further, we would be exposed to potential breach of contract claims by our lessees and manufacturers. These risks may also be increased by the volatility and disruption in the capital and credit markets. Depending on market conditions at the time, we may have to rely more heavily on additional equity issuances, which may be dilutive to our stockholders, or on less efficient forms of debt financing that require a larger portion of our cash flow from operations, thereby reducing funds available for our operations, future business opportunities and other purposes.  Further, because our charter permits the issuance of preferred stock, if our board of directors approves the issuance of preferred stock in a future financing transaction, such preferred stockholders may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to existing stockholders, and you will not have the ability to approve such a transaction. These risks would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Incurring significant costs resulting from lease defaults could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Based on historical rates of airline defaults and bankruptcies, some of our lessees are likely to default on their lease obligations or file for bankruptcy in the ordinary course of our business. Those costs likely would include legal and other expenses associated with court or other governmental proceedings, including the cost of posting security bonds or letters of credit necessary to effect repossession of the aircraft, particularly if the lessee is contesting the proceedings or is in bankruptcy. In addition, during any such proceedings the relevant aircraft would likely not be generating revenue. We could also incur substantial maintenance, refurbishment or repair costs if a defaulting lessee fails to pay such costs and where such maintenance, refurbishment or repairs are necessary to put the aircraft in suitable condition for remarketing or sale. We may also incur storage costs associated with any aircraft that we repossess and are unable to place immediately with another lessee. Even if we are able to immediately place a repossessed aircraft with another lessee, we may not be able to do so at a similar or favorable lease rate.  It may also be necessary to pay off liens, taxes and other governmental charges on the aircraft to obtain clear possession and to remarket the aircraft effectively, including, in some cases, liens that the lessee might have incurred in connection with the operation of its other aircraft. We could also incur other costs in connection with the physical possession of the aircraft.

We may suffer other negative consequences as a result of a lessee default, the related termination of the lease and the repossession of the related aircraft. It is likely that our rights upon a lessee default will vary significantly depending upon the jurisdiction and the applicable law, including the need to obtain a court order for repossession of the aircraft and/or consents for deregistration or export of the aircraft. We anticipate that when a defaulting lessee is in bankruptcy, protective administration, insolvency or similar proceedings, additional limitations may apply. Certain jurisdictions give rights to the trustee in bankruptcy or a similar officer to assume or reject the lease or to assign it to a third party, or entitle the lessee or another third party to retain possession of the aircraft without paying lease rentals or

14


 

performing all or some of the obligations under the relevant lease. In addition, certain of our lessees are owned, in whole or in part, by government‑related entities, which could complicate our efforts to repossess our aircraft in that lessee’s domicile. Accordingly, we may be delayed in, or prevented from, enforcing certain of our rights under a lease and in remarketing the affected aircraft.

If we repossess an aircraft, we may not necessarily be able to export or deregister and profitably redeploy the aircraft. An aircraft cannot be registered in two countries at the same time. Before an aviation authority will register an aircraft that has previously been registered in another country, it must receive confirmation that the aircraft has been deregistered by that country's aviation authority. In order to deregister an aircraft, the lessee must comply with applicable laws and regulations, and the relevant governmental authority must enforce these laws and regulations. For instance, where a lessee or other operator flies only domestic routes in the jurisdiction in which the aircraft is registered, repossession may be more difficult, especially if the jurisdiction permits the lessee or the other operator to resist deregistration. We may also incur significant costs in retrieving or recreating aircraft records required for registration of the aircraft, and in obtaining the Certificate of Airworthiness for an aircraft. If, upon a lessee default, we incur significant costs in connection with repossessing our aircraft, are delayed in repossessing our aircraft or are unable to obtain possession of our aircraft as a result of lessee defaults, our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations would be negatively affected.

If our lessees fail to discharge aircraft liens, we may be obligated to pay the aircraft liens, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

In the normal course of their business, our lessees are likely to incur aircraft liens that secure the payment of airport fees and taxes, customs duties, air navigation charges, including charges imposed by Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, landing charges, crew wages, salvage or other liens that may attach to our aircraft. These liens may secure substantial sums that may, in certain jurisdictions or for certain types of liens, particularly liens on entire fleets of aircraft, exceed the value of the particular aircraft to which the liens have attached. Aircraft may also be subject to mechanics’ liens as a result of routine maintenance performed by third parties on behalf of our lessees. Although we anticipate that the financial obligations relating to these liens are the responsibility of our lessees, if they fail to fulfill such obligations, the liens may attach to our aircraft and ultimately become our responsibility. In some jurisdictions, aircraft liens may give the holder thereof the right to detain or, in limited cases, sell or cause the forfeiture of the aircraft.

Until they are discharged, these liens could impair our ability to repossess, remarket or sell our aircraft. Our lessees may not comply with the anticipated obligations under their leases to discharge aircraft liens arising during the terms of the leases. If they do not, we may find it necessary to pay the claims secured by such aircraft liens in order to repossess the aircraft. Such payments would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

If our lessees fail to perform as expected and we decide to restructure or reschedule our leases, the restructuring and rescheduling would likely result in less favorable leases, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

A lessee’s ability to perform its obligations under its lease will depend primarily on the lessee’s financial condition and cash flow, which may be affected by factors outside our control, including:

·

competition;

·

passenger and air cargo rates;

·

passenger and air cargo demand;

·

geopolitical and other events, including war, acts of terrorism, outbreaks of epidemic diseases and natural disasters;

15


 

·

increases in operating costs, including the price and availability of jet fuel and labor costs;

·

labor difficulties, including pilot shortages;

·

economic conditions and currency fluctuations in the countries and regions in which the lessee operates; and

·

governmental regulation and associated fees affecting the air transportation business.

Many of our airline customers do not have investment grade credit profiles. We anticipate that some of our lessees will experience a weakened financial condition or suffer liquidity problems. This could lead to a lessee experiencing difficulties in performing under the terms of our lease agreement. This could result in the lessee seeking relief under some of the terms of our lease agreement, or it could result in us electing to repossess the aircraft.

Any future downturns in the airline industry could greatly exacerbate the weakened financial condition of some of these lessees and further increase the risk of delayed, missed or reduced rental payments. We may not correctly assess the credit risk of a lessee, or may not charge lease rates which correctly reflect the related risks, and as a result, lessees may not be able to satisfy their financial and other obligations under their leases. A delayed, missed or reduced rental payment from a lessee would decrease our revenues and cash flow. If we, in the exercise of our remedies under a lease, repossess an aircraft, we may not receive all or any of the past-due or deferred payments and we may not be able to remarket the aircraft promptly or at favorable rates, if at all.

It is likely that restructurings and/or repossessions with some of our lessees will occur in the future. The terms and conditions of possible lease restructurings or rescheduling may result in a significant reduction of lease revenue, which may negatively affect our financial results and growth prospects. If any request for payment restructuring or rescheduling is made and granted, reduced or deferred rental payments may be payable over all or some part of the remaining term of the lease. The terms of any revised payment schedules may be unfavorable and such payments may not be made. Our default levels would likely increase over time if economic conditions deteriorate. If lessees of a significant number of our aircraft defaulted on their leases, it would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Failure to obtain certain required licenses, consents and approvals could negatively affect our ability to remarket or sell aircraft, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Airlines are subject to extensive regulation under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they are registered and in which they operate. As a result, we expect that certain aspects of our leases will require licenses, consents or approvals, including consents from governmental or regulatory authorities for certain payments under our leases and for the import, export or deregistration of the aircraft. Subsequent changes in applicable law or administrative practice may increase such requirements and governmental consent, once given, could be withdrawn. Furthermore, consents needed in connection with the future remarketing or sale of an aircraft may not be forthcoming. Any of these events could negatively affect our ability to remarket or sell aircraft, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Our aircraft require routine maintenance, and if they are not properly maintained, their value may decline and we may not be able to lease or remarket such aircraft at favorable rates, if at all, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We may be exposed to increased maintenance costs for our aircraft associated with a lessee’s failure to properly maintain the aircraft or pay supplemental maintenance rent. If an aircraft is not properly maintained, its market value may decline, which would result in lower revenues from its lease or sale. We enter into leases pursuant to which the lessees are primarily responsible for many obligations, which include maintaining the aircraft and complying with all governmental requirements applicable to the lessee and the aircraft, including operational, maintenance, government agency oversight, registration requirements, service bulletins issued by aircraft manufacturers and airworthiness directives issued by aviation authorities. Failure of a lessee to perform required maintenance, or comply with the

16


 

applicable service bulletins and airworthiness directives during the term of a lease could result in a decrease in value of an aircraft, an inability to remarket an aircraft at favorable rates, if at all, or a potential grounding of an aircraft. Maintenance failures by a lessee would also likely require us to incur maintenance and modification costs upon the termination of the applicable lease, which could be substantial, to restore the aircraft to an acceptable condition prior to remarketing or sale. Even if we are entitled to receive supplemental maintenance rents, these rents may not cover the entire cost of actual maintenance required.  Any failure by our lessees to meet their obligations to perform required scheduled maintenance or our inability to maintain our aircraft would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

If we experience abnormally high maintenance or obsolescence issues with any of our aircraft or aircraft that we acquire, it would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Aircraft are long-lived assets, requiring long lead times to develop and manufacture, with particular types and models becoming obsolete or less in demand over time when newer, more advanced aircraft are manufactured. The weighted average age of our fleet was 3.8 years as of December 31, 2017. Our existing fleet, as well as the aircraft that we have ordered, have exposure to obsolescence, particularly if unanticipated events occur which shorten the life cycle of such aircraft types. These events include but are not limited to government regulation or changes in our airline customers’ preferences, including for instance, an increased demand for more fuel efficient aircraft. These events may shorten the life cycle for aircraft types in our fleet and, accordingly, may negatively impact lease rates, trigger impairment charges, increase depreciation expense or result in losses related to aircraft asset value guarantees, if we provide such guarantees.

Further, variable expenses like fuel, crew size or aging aircraft corrosion control or modification programs and airworthiness directives could make the operation of older aircraft more costly to our lessees and may result in increased lessee defaults or attempts to renegotiate lease terms. We may also incur some of these increased maintenance expenses and regulatory costs upon acquisition or remarketing of our aircraft. Any of these expenses or costs would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

If we acquire a high concentration of a particular model of aircraft, our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations would be negatively affected by changes in market demand or problems specific to that aircraft model.

If we acquire a high concentration of a particular model of aircraft, our business and financial results could be negatively affected if the market demand for that model of aircraft declines. There are several scenarios which could adversely affect the demand for an aircraft. These scenarios include but are not limited to, if the aircraft model is redesigned or replaced by its manufacturer, or if this aircraft model experiences design or technical problems, which could ultimately lead to the grounding of the aircraft model. This could lead to the decline in value and lease rates of such aircraft model, and ultimately we may not be able to lease such aircraft model on favorable terms or at all.  For instance, our fleet consists of a number of widebody aircraft and many of our new purchases will consist of newer, more fuel efficient models.  Any changes in demand for these models or other models in our fleet could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The introduction of superior aircraft technology or a new line of aircraft, in particular more fuel efficient aircraft, could cause the aircraft that we own to become outdated or obsolete or oversupplied and therefore less desirable, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

As manufacturers introduce technological innovations and new types of aircraft, some of the aircraft in our fleet could become less desirable to potential lessees. In particular, the introduction recently of more fuel efficient aircraft has made some older models less attractive and more difficult to lease. Technological innovations, increased fuel efficiency, improved operating economics and new models may increase the rate of obsolescence of existing aircraft faster than currently anticipated by our management. New aircraft manufacturers could emerge to produce aircraft that compete with the aircraft we own. The introduction of new technologies or introduction of a new type of aircraft, in particular more fuel efficient models, may negatively affect the value of the aircraft in our fleet.

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In addition, the imposition of increased regulation regarding stringent noise or emissions restrictions may make some of our aircraft less desirable and accordingly less valuable in the marketplace. The development of new aircraft and engine options could decrease the desirability of certain aircraft in our fleet and/or aircraft that we have ordered. This could, in turn, reduce both future residual values and lease rates for certain types of aircraft in our portfolio. Any of these risks may negatively affect our ability to lease or sell our aircraft on favorable terms, if at all, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We are indirectly subject to many of the economic and political risks associated with emerging markets, including China, which could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Our business strategy emphasizes leasing aircraft to lessees outside of the United States, including to airlines in emerging market countries. Emerging market countries have less developed economies and infrastructure and are often more vulnerable to economic and geopolitical challenges and may experience significant fluctuations in gross domestic product, interest rates and currency exchange rates, as well as civil disturbances, government instability, nationalization and expropriation of private assets and the imposition of taxes or other charges by government authorities. The occurrence of any of these events in markets served by our lessees and the resulting economic instability that may arise, particularly if combined with high fuel prices, could negatively affect the value of our aircraft subject to lease in such countries, or the ability of our lessees, which operate in these markets, to meet their lease obligations. As a result, lessees that operate in emerging market countries may be more likely to default than lessees that operate in developed countries. In addition, legal systems in emerging market countries may be less developed, which could make it more difficult for us to enforce our legal rights in such countries.

Further, demand for aircraft is dependent on passenger and cargo traffic, which in turn is dependent on general business and economic conditions. A decrease in passenger or cargo traffic may have a negative effect on our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.  Weak or negative economic growth in emerging markets may have an indirect effect on the value of the assets that we acquire if airlines and other potential lessees are negatively affected. Economic downturns can affect the values of the assets we purchase, which may have a negative effect on our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

From time to time, the aircraft industry has experienced periods of oversupply during which lease rates and aircraft values have declined, and any future oversupply could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The aircraft leasing business has experienced periods of aircraft oversupply following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. The oversupply of a specific type of aircraft is likely to depress the lease rates for and the value of that type of aircraft, including upon sale. Further, over recent years, the airline industry has committed to a significant number of aircraft deliveries through order placements with manufacturers, and in response, aircraft manufacturers have raised their production output. The increase in these production levels could result in an oversupply of relatively new aircraft if growth in airline traffic does not meet airline industry expectations.

The supply and demand for aircraft is affected by various cyclical and non-cyclical factors that are outside of our control, including:

·

passenger and air cargo demand;

·

airline operating costs, including fuel costs;

·

general economic conditions;

·

geopolitical events, including war, prolonged armed conflict and acts of terrorism;

·

outbreaks of communicable diseases and natural disasters;

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·

governmental regulation, including new airworthiness directives, statutory limits on the age of aircraft, and restrictions in certain jurisdictions on the age of aircraft for import, climate change initiatives and environmental regulation, and other factors leading to obsolescence of aircraft models;

·

interest and foreign exchange rates;

·

tariffs and other restrictions on trade;

·

the availability of credit;

·

airline restructurings and bankruptcies;

·

airline fleet planning that reduces capacity or changes the type of aircraft in demand;

·

manufacturer production levels and technological innovation;

·

discounting by manufacturers on aircraft types nearing end of production;

·

manufacturers merging or exiting the industry or ceasing to produce aircraft types;

·

new-entrant manufacturers producing additional aircraft models, or existing manufacturers producing new engine models or new aircraft models, in competition with existing aircraft models;

·

retirement and obsolescence of aircraft models;

·

reintroduction into service of aircraft previously in storage; and

·

airport and air traffic control infrastructure constraints.

In addition, operating lessors may be sold or merged with other entities. These types of transactions may call for a reduction in the fleet of the new entity, which could increase supply levels of used and older aircraft in the market. Furthermore, recent and future political developments could result in increased regulation of trade, which could adversely impact demand for aircraft.

Any of these factors may produce sharp and prolonged decreases in aircraft lease rates and values. They may have a negative effect on our ability to lease or remarket the aircraft in our fleet or in our order book. Any of these factors could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The value of the aircraft we acquire and the market rates for leases could decline, which would have a negative effect on our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Aircraft values and market rates for leases have from time to time experienced sharp decreases due to a number of factors including, but not limited to, decreases in passenger and air cargo demand, increases in fuel costs, government regulation and increases in interest rates. Operating leases place the risk of realization of residual values on aircraft lessors because only a portion of the equipment’s value is covered by contractual cash flows at lease inception. In addition to factors linked to the aviation industry generally, many other factors may affect the value of the aircraft that we acquire and market rates for leases, including:

·

the particular maintenance, damage, operating history and documentary records of the aircraft;

·

the geographical area where the aircraft is based and operates;

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·

the number of operators using that type of aircraft;

·

aircraft age;

·

the regulatory authority under which the aircraft is operated;

·

whether an aircraft is subject to a lease and, if so, whether the lease terms are favorable to the lessor;

·

any renegotiation of an existing lease on less favorable terms;

·

the negotiability of clear title free from mechanics’ liens and encumbrances;

·

any tax, customs, regulatory and other legal requirements that must be satisfied before the aircraft can be purchased, sold or remarketed;

·

grounding orders or other regulatory action that could prevent or limit utilization of our aircraft;

·

compatibility of aircraft configurations or specifications with other aircraft owned by operators of that type;

·

comparative value based on newly manufactured competitive aircraft; and

·

the availability of spare parts.

Any decrease in the value of aircraft that we acquire and market rates for leases, which may result from the above factors or other unanticipated factors, would have a negative effect on our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Competition from other aircraft lessors, including lessors with greater resources or a lower cost of capital than ours, could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The aircraft leasing industry is highly competitive. Some of our competitors may have greater resources or a lower cost of capital than ours or may provide certain financial services, maintenance services or other inducements to potential lessees that we cannot provide; accordingly, they may be able to compete more effectively in one or more of the markets we conduct business in.

In addition, we may encounter competition from other entities in the acquisition of aircraft such as:

·

airlines;

·

financial institutions;

·

special purpose vehicles formed for the purpose of acquiring, leasing and selling aircraft;

·

aircraft brokers;

·

public and private partnerships, investors and funds with more capital to invest in aircraft; and

·

other aircraft leasing companies that we do not currently consider our major competitors.

Competition for a leasing transaction is based principally upon lease rates, delivery dates, lease terms, reputation, management expertise, aircraft condition, specifications and configuration and the availability of the types of aircraft necessary to meet the needs of the customer. Competition in the purchase and sale of aircraft is based principally

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on the availability of the aircraft, the price, and where applicable the terms of the lease to which an aircraft is subject and the creditworthiness of the lessee. We will not always be able to compete successfully with our competitors, which could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The failure of any manufacturer to meet its delivery obligations to us would negatively affect our cash flow and results of operations.

The supply of commercial aircraft is dominated by a few airframe manufacturers and a limited number of engine manufacturers. As a result, we are dependent on the success of these manufacturers in remaining financially stable, producing products and related components which meet the airlines’ demands and fulfilling any contractual obligations they may have to us.

Should the manufacturers fail to respond appropriately to changes in the market environment or fail to fulfill any contractual obligations they might have to us, we may experience:

·

missed or late delivery of aircraft and a potential inability to meet our contractual obligations owed to any of our then lessees, resulting in potential lost or delayed revenues, lower growth rates and strained customer relationships;

·

an inability to acquire aircraft and related components on terms which will allow us to lease those aircraft to airline customers at a profit, resulting in lower growth rates or a contraction in our aircraft fleet;

·

a market environment with too many aircraft available, potentially creating downward pressure on demand for the anticipated aircraft in our fleet and reduced market lease rates and sale prices;

·

reduced demand for a particular manufacturer's product as a result of poor customer support, creating downward pressure on demand for those aircraft and engines in our fleet and reduced market lease rates and sale prices for those aircraft and engines; and

·

a reduction in our competitiveness due to deep discounting by the manufacturers, which may lead to reduced market lease rates and aircraft values and may affect our ability to remarket or sell at a profit, or at all, some of the aircraft in our fleet.

There have been recent well‑publicized delays by airframe and engine manufacturers in meeting stated deadlines in bringing new aircraft to market. If there are manufacturing delays for aircraft for which we have made future lease commitments, some or all of our affected lessees could elect to terminate their lease arrangements with respect to such delayed aircraft. Any such termination could strain our relations with those lessees going forward and would negatively affect our cash flow and results of operations.

Aircraft have limited economic useful lives and depreciate over time, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We depreciate our aircraft for accounting purposes on a straight-line basis to the aircraft’s residual value over its estimated useful life.  If reduced demand for an aircraft causes a decline in its projected lease rates, or if we dispose of the aircraft for a price that is less than its depreciated book value on our balance sheet, then we will recognize a loss on the sale of the aircraft or potentially record an impairment charge. For this reason, our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations would be negatively affected.

Failure to close our aircraft acquisition commitments could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

As of December 31, 2017, we had entered into binding purchase commitments to acquire a total of 368 new aircraft for delivery through 2023. If we are unable to maintain our financing sources or find new sources of financing or

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if the various conditions to our existing commitments are not satisfied, we may be unable to close the purchase of some or all of the aircraft which we have commitments to acquire. If our aircraft acquisition commitments are not closed for these or other reasons, we will be subject to several risks, including the following:

·

forfeiting deposits and progress payments and having to pay and expense certain significant costs relating to these commitments, such as actual damages, and legal, accounting and financial advisory expenses, not realizing any of the benefits of completing the transactions and damage to our reputation and relationship with aircraft manufacturers;

·

defaulting on our lease commitments, which could result in monetary damages and damage to our reputation and relationships with lessees; and

·

failing to capitalize on other aircraft acquisition opportunities that were not pursued due to our management’s focus on these commitments.

If we determine that the capital we require to satisfy these commitments may not be available to us, either at all or on terms we deem attractive, we may eliminate or reduce any dividend program that may be in place at that time in order to preserve capital to apply to these commitments. These risks would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Certain of the agreements governing our indebtedness may limit our operational flexibility, our ability to effectively compete and our ability to grow our business as currently planned, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Certain of the agreements governing our indebtedness, including our credit facilities, contain financial and non-financial covenants, such as requirements that we comply with one or more of the following covenants: maximum debt-to-equity ratios, dividend restrictions, limitations on the ability of our subsidiaries to incur debt, minimum net worth and interest coverage ratios, change of control provisions, and prohibitions against our disposing of our aircraft or other aviation assets without a lender’s prior consent. Complying with such covenants may at times necessitate that we forego other opportunities, such as using available cash to grow our aircraft fleet or promptly disposing of less profitable aircraft or other aviation assets. Moreover, our failure to comply with any of these covenants would likely constitute a default under such agreements and could give rise to an acceleration of some, if not all, of our then outstanding indebtedness, which would have a negative effect on our business and our ability to continue as a going concern. If we were unable to repay the indebtedness when due and payable, secured lenders could proceed against, among other things, the aircraft securing such indebtedness, if any.

In addition, we cannot assure you that our business will generate cash flow from operations in an amount sufficient to enable us to service our debt and grow our operations as planned. We cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance any of our debt on favorable terms, if at all. In addition, we cannot assure you that in the future we will be able to access long‑term financing or credit support on attractive terms, if at all, or qualify for guarantees, or obtain attractive terms for such guarantees, from the export credit agencies. Any inability to generate sufficient cash flow, maintain our existing fleet and facilities, or access long‑term financing or credit support would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Negative changes in our credit ratings may limit our ability to obtain financing or increase our borrowing costs which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We are currently subject to periodic review by independent credit rating agencies S&P, Fitch and Kroll, each of which currently maintains investment grade credit ratings with respect to us and certain of our debt securities, and we may become subject to periodic review by other independent credit rating agencies in the future. An increase in the level of our outstanding indebtedness, or other events that could have a negative impact on our business, properties, financial condition, results of operations or prospects, may cause S&P, Fitch or Kroll, or, in the future, other rating agencies, to downgrade or withdraw the credit rating with respect to us or our debt securities, which could negatively impact our ability to secure financing and increase our borrowing costs.

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We cannot assure you that these credit ratings will remain in effect for any given period of time or that a rating will not be lowered, suspended or withdrawn entirely by the applicable rating agency, if, in such rating agency’s sole judgment, circumstances so warrant. Ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security. Each agency’s rating should be evaluated independently of any other agency’s rating. Actual or anticipated changes or downgrades in our credit ratings, including any announcement that our ratings are under further review for a downgrade, could increase our corporate borrowing costs and limit our access to the capital markets which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

An increase in our borrowing costs would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We finance many of the aircraft in our fleet through a combination of short-and long-term debt financings. As these debt financings mature, we may have to refinance these existing commitments by entering into new financings, which could result in higher borrowing costs, or repay them by using cash on hand or cash from the sale of our assets. Moreover, an increase in interest rates under the various debt financing facilities we have in place would have a negative effect on our earnings and could make our aircraft leasing contracts unprofitable.

A limited percentage of our debt financings bear interest at a floating rate, such that our interest expense would vary with changes in the applicable reference rate. As a result, our inability to sufficiently protect ourselves from changes in our cost of borrowing, as reflected in our composite interest rate, may have a direct, negative impact on our net income. Our lease rental stream is generally fixed over the life of our leases, whereas we have used floating-rate debt to finance a significant portion of our aircraft acquisitions. As of December 31, 2017, we had $1.4 billion in floating-rate debt. If interest rates increase, we would be obligated to make higher interest payments to the lenders of our floating-rate debt. Further, as we continue to incur fixed-rate debt, increased interest rates prevailing in the market at the time of the incurrence of such debt would also increase our interest expense. If our composite interest rate were to increase by 1.0%, we would expect to incur additional interest expense on our existing indebtedness as of December 31, 2017, of approximately $14.3 million on an annualized basis, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

As such, if interest rates were to rise sharply, we would not be able to fully offset immediately the negative impact on our net income by increasing lease rates, even if the market were able to bear such increases in lease rates. Our leases are generally for multiple years with fixed lease rates over the life of the lease and, therefore, lags will exist because our lease rates with respect to a particular aircraft cannot generally be increased until the expiration of the lease.

The interest rates that we obtain on our debt financings have several components, including credit spreads, swap spreads, duration, and new issue premiums. These are all incremental to the underlying risk-free rates, as applicable. Volatility in our perceived risk of default or in a market sector’s risk of default will negatively impact our cost of funds.

We currently are not involved in any interest rate hedging activities, but we are contemplating engaging in hedging activities in the future. Any such hedging activities will require us to incur additional costs, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully protect ourselves from any or all negative interest rate fluctuations at a reasonable cost.

Our substantial indebtedness incurred to acquire our aircraft requires significant debt service payments which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We and our subsidiaries have a significant amount of indebtedness. As of December 31, 2017, our total consolidated indebtedness, net of discounts and issuance costs, was approximately $9.7 billion and our interest payments were $301.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.  Furthermore, we expect this amount to grow as we acquire more aircraft. Our level of debt could have important consequences, including the following:

·

making it more difficult for us to satisfy our payment obligations with respect to our debt;

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·

limiting our ability to obtain additional financing to fund the acquisition of aircraft or for other corporate requirements;

·

requiring a substantial portion of our cash flows to be dedicated to debt service payments instead of other purposes, thereby reducing the amount of cash flows available for dividends, aircraft acquisitions and other general corporate purposes;

·

increasing our vulnerability to general negative economic and industry conditions;

·

exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates as certain of our borrowings, including borrowings under our various credit facilities, are at variable rates of interest;

·

limiting our flexibility in planning for and reacting to changes in the aircraft industry;

·

placing us at a disadvantage compared to other competitors; and

·

increasing our cost of borrowing.

In addition, certain agreements governing our existing indebtedness contain financial maintenance covenants that require us to satisfy certain ratios and maintain minimum net worth, and other restrictive covenants that limit our ability to engage in activities that may be in our long‑term best interest. Our failure to comply with those covenants could result in an event of default which, if not cured or waived, may result in the acceleration of some or all our debt, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Creditors of any subsidiaries we form for purposes of financing will have priority over our stockholders in the event of a distribution of such subsidiaries’ assets.

Some of the aircraft we acquire are held in special-purpose, bankruptcy-remote subsidiaries of our Company. Liens on those assets will be held by a collateral agent for the benefit of the lenders under the respective facility. In addition, funds generated from the lease of aircraft generally are applied first to amounts due to lenders, with certain exceptions. Creditors of our subsidiaries will have priority over us, our stockholders and our creditors relating to debt that is not guaranteed or secured by our subsidiaries or their assets in any distribution of any such subsidiaries’ assets in a liquidation, reorganization or otherwise.

Defaults by one or more of our significant airline customers would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The airline industry is cyclical, economically sensitive and highly competitive. Our lessees are affected by a number of factors over which we and they have limited control, including fare levels, air cargo rates, passenger air travel and air cargo demand, fuel prices and shortages, political or economic instability, currency fluctuations in the countries and regions in which the lessees operate, availability of financing and other circumstances affecting airline liquidity, terrorist activities, cyber risk, changes in national policy, competitive pressures, labor costs, labor actions, pilot shortages, aircraft accidents, insurance costs, recessions, health concerns, and other political or economic events negatively affecting the world or regional trading markets. Our lessees’ abilities to react to and cope with the volatile competitive environment in which they operate, as well as our own competitive environment, will likely affect our revenues and income. The loss of one or more of our significant airline customers or their inability to make operating lease payments due to financial difficulties, bankruptcy or otherwise could have a material negative effect on our cash flow and earnings. This, in turn, could result in a breach of the covenants contained in any of our long-term debt facilities, possibly resulting in accelerated amortization or defaults and would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. In the event that a lessee defaults under a lease, any security deposit paid or letter of credit provided by the lessee may not be sufficient to cover the lessee’s outstanding or unpaid lease obligations and required maintenance and transition expenses.

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The appreciation of the U.S. dollar could negatively impact many of our lessees’ ability to honor the terms of their leases and could therefore materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Many of our lessees are exposed to currency risk due to the fact that they earn revenues in their local currencies while a significant portion of their liabilities and expenses are denominated in U.S. dollars, including their lease payments to us, as well as fuel, debt service, and other expenses.  For the year ended December 31, 2017, less than 3% of our revenues were derived from customers who have their principal place of business in the U.S.  While we attempt to minimize our currency and exchange risks by negotiating the designated payment currency in our leases to be U.S. dollars, the ability of our lessees to make lease payments to us in U.S. dollars may be adversely impacted in the event of an appreciating U.S. dollar.

Our lessees may not be able to increase their revenues sufficiently to offset the impact of exchange rates on their lease payments and other expenses denominated in U.S. dollars. This is particularly true for non-U.S. airlines whose operations are primarily domestic. Currency volatility, particularly as witnessed recently in other emerging market countries, could impact the ability of some of our customers to meet their contractual obligations in a timely manner. Shifts in foreign exchange rates can be significant, are difficult to predict, and can occur quickly.

Certain of our subsidiaries may be restricted in their ability to make distributions to us which would negatively affect our financial condition and cash flow.

The subsidiaries that hold our aircraft are legally distinct from us, and some of these subsidiaries are restricted from paying dividends or otherwise making funds available to us pursuant to agreements governing our indebtedness. Some of our principal debt facilities have financial covenants. If we are unable to comply with these covenants, then the amounts outstanding under these facilities may become immediately due and payable, cash generated by our subsidiaries affected by these facilities may be unavailable to us and/or we may be unable to draw additional amounts under these facilities. The events that could cause some of our subsidiaries not to be in compliance with their loan agreements, such as a lessee default, may be beyond our control, but they nevertheless could have a substantial negative impact on the amount of our cash flow available to fund working capital, make capital expenditures and satisfy other cash needs. For these reasons our financial condition and cash flow would be negatively affected. For a description of the operating and financial restrictions in our debt facilities, see the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

Our aircraft may not at all times be adequately insured either as a result of lessees failing to maintain sufficient insurance during the course of a lease or insurers not being willing to cover certain risks which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We do not directly control the operation of any aircraft we acquire. Nevertheless, because we hold title, directly or indirectly, to such aircraft, we could be sued or held strictly liable for losses resulting from the operation of such aircraft, or may be held liable for those losses on other legal theories, in certain jurisdictions around the world, or claims may be made against us as the owner of an aircraft requiring us to expend resources in our defense. We require our lessees to obtain specified levels of insurance and indemnify us for, and insure against, liabilities arising out of their use and operation of the aircraft. Lessees are also required to maintain public liability, property damage and all risk hull and war risk insurance on the aircraft at agreed upon levels. Some lessees may fail to maintain adequate insurance coverage during a lease term, which, although in contravention of the lease terms, would necessitate our taking some corrective action such as terminating the lease or securing insurance for the aircraft, either of which could negatively affect our financial results.  Moreover, even if our lessees retain specified levels of insurance, and indemnify us for, and insure against, liabilities arising out of their use and operation of the aircraft, we cannot assure you that we will not have any liability.

In addition, there are certain risks or liabilities that our lessees may face, for which insurers may be unwilling to provide coverage or the cost to obtain such coverage may be prohibitively expensive. For example, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, non-government aviation insurers significantly reduced the amount of insurance coverage available for claims resulting from acts of terrorism, war, dirty bombs, bio-hazardous materials, electromagnetic pulsing or similar events.  At the same time, they significantly increased the premiums for such third-

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party war risk and terrorism liability insurance and coverage in general.  Accordingly, we anticipate that our lessees’ insurance or other coverage may not be sufficient to cover all claims that could or will be asserted against us arising from the operation of our aircraft by our lessees. Inadequate insurance coverage or default by lessees in fulfilling their indemnification or insurance obligations will reduce the proceeds that would be received by us in the event that we are sued and are required to make payments to claimants.  Moreover, our lessees’ insurance coverage is dependent on the financial condition of insurance companies, which might not be able to pay claims. A reduction in insurance proceeds otherwise payable to us as a result of any of these factors would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The death, incapacity or departure of key officers could harm our business and negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We believe our senior management’s reputation and relationships with lessees, manufacturers, buyers and financiers of aircraft are a critical element to the success of our business. We depend on the diligence, skill and network of business contacts of our management team. We believe there are only a limited number of available qualified executives in the aircraft industry, and we therefore have encountered, and will likely continue to encounter, intense competition for qualified employees from other companies in our industry. Our future success will depend, to a significant extent, upon the continued service of our senior management personnel, particularly: Mr. Udvar-Házy, our founder, and Executive Chairman of the Board; Mr. Plueger, our Chief Executive Officer and President; and our other senior officers, each of whose services are critical to the success of our business strategies. We do not have employment agreements with Mr. Udvar-Házy or Mr. Plueger. If we were to lose the services of any of the members of our senior management team, it could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Conflicts of interest may arise between us and clients who will utilize our fleet management services, which could negatively affect our business interests, cash flow and results of operations.

Conflicts of interest may arise between us and third‑party aircraft owners, financiers and operating lessors who hire us to perform fleet management services such as leasing, re‑leasing, lease management and sales services. These conflicts may arise because services we anticipate providing for these clients are also services we will provide for our own fleet, including the placement of aircraft with lessees. We expect our fleet management services agreements will provide that we will use our reasonable commercial efforts in providing services, but, to the extent that we are in competition with the client for leasing opportunities, we will give priority to our own fleet. Nevertheless, despite these contractual waivers, competing with our fleet management clients in practice may result in strained relationships with them, which could negatively affect our business interests, cash flow and results of operations.

We may on occasion enter into strategic ventures with the intent that we would serve as the manager of such strategic ventures; however, entering into strategic relationships poses risks in that we most likely would not have complete control over the enterprise, and our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations could be negatively affected if we encounter disputes, deadlock or other conflicts of interest with our strategic partners.

In addition to our Blackbird Capital I, LLC and Blackbird Capital II, LLC joint ventures discussed in Note 12 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for which we own non-controlling interests, we may on occasion enter into strategic ventures with third parties to take advantage of favorable financing opportunities or tax benefits, to share capital and/or operating risk, and/or to earn fleet management fees. Strategic ventures involve significant risks that may not be present with other methods of ownership, including that:

·

we may not realize a satisfactory return on our investment;

·

the strategic ventures may divert management’s attention from our core business;

·

our strategic venture partners could have investment goals that are not consistent with our investment objectives, including the timing, terms and strategies for any investments;

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·

our strategic venture partners might fail to fund their share of required capital contributions or fail to fulfill their other obligations;

·

our strategic venture partners may have competing interests in our markets that could create conflict of interest issues, particularly if aircraft owned by the strategic ventures are being marketed for lease or sale at a time when we also have comparable aircraft available for lease or sale.

Although we anticipate that we would serve as the manager of any such strategic ventures, it has been our management’s experience that most strategic venture agreements will provide the non‑managing strategic partner certain veto rights over various significant actions, including the right to remove us as the manager under certain circumstances. If we were to be removed as the manager from a strategic venture that generates significant management fees, our financial results and growth prospects could be materially and negatively affected. In addition, if we were unable to resolve a dispute with a significant strategic partner that retains material managerial veto rights, we might reach an impasse that could require us to dissolve the strategic venture at a time and in a manner that could result in our losing some or all of our original investment in the strategic venture, which could have a negative effect on our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Our business and earnings are affected by general business, financial market and economic conditions throughout the world, which could have a negative effect on our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Our business and earnings are affected by general business, financial market and economic conditions throughout the world. As an aircraft leasing business with exposure to emerging markets, we are particularly exposed to downturns in these emerging markets. A recession or worsening of economic conditions, particularly if combined with high fuel prices, may have a material negative effect on the ability of our lessees to meet their financial and other obligations under our operating leases, which, if our lessees default on their obligations to us, could have a material negative effect on our cash flow and results of operations. General business and economic conditions that could affect us include the level and volatility of short-term and long-term interest rates, inflation, employment levels, bankruptcies, restructurings and mergers in the airline industry, demand for passenger and cargo air travel, volatility in both debt and equity capital markets, liquidity of the global financial markets, volatility in foreign exchange rates, the availability and cost of credit, investor confidence and the strength of the global economy and the local economies in which we operate. For these reasons our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations could be negatively affected.

Because our leases are concentrated in certain geographical regions, we have concentrated exposure to the political and economic risks associated with those regions.

Through our lessees and the countries in which they operate, we are exposed to the specific economic and political conditions and associated risks of those jurisdictions. For example, we have large concentrations of lessees in China, and therefore have increased exposure to the economic and political conditions in that country. These risks can include economic recessions, burdensome local regulations or, in extreme cases, increased risks of requisition of our aircraft. An adverse political or economic event in any region or country in which our lessees are concentrated or where we have a large number of aircraft could affect the ability of our lessees in that region or country to meet their obligations to us, or expose us to various legal or political risks associated with the affected jurisdictions, all of which could have a material and adverse effect on our financial results.

Economic conditions and regulatory changes in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Following a referendum in June 2016 in which voters in the United Kingdom, or U.K., approved an exit from the European Union, or E.U., it is expected that the U.K. government will initiate a process, often referred to as Brexit, to leave the E.U. and will begin negotiating the terms of the U.K.'s future relationship with the E.U. The effects of Brexit will likely depend on the agreements that the U.K. is able to make to retain access to E.U. markets, either during a transitional period or more permanently. We lease aircraft to airlines in the E.U., including the U.K. We and the aviation industry face uncertainty regarding the impact of Brexit. Adverse consequences, such as instability in financial markets, deterioration in economic conditions, volatility in currency exchange rates or adverse changes in regulation of the

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aviation industry or bilateral agreements governing air travel, could negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. These impacts may include increased costs of financing; downward pressure on demand for our aircraft and reduced market lease rates and lease margins; and a higher incidence, in the U.K. in particular and the E.U. generally, of lessee defaults or other events resulting in our lessees' failing to perform under our lease agreements.

In the United States, any negative economic effects of instability resulting from changes in the political environment, international relations, existing trade agreements, import and export regulations, immigration, tariffs and customs duties as well as regulatory, environmental or tax policy changes, may negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. For example, unanticipated impacts of the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”), including as a result of changes in assumptions we make in our interpretation of the Tax Act and guidance related to application of the Tax Act that may be issued in the future may negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. Additionally, in the E.U., several countries will hold general and/or presidential elections in 2018, including Italy, Sweden and Ireland, and the outcome of these elections could create significant changes in, or create uncertainty regarding, laws, regulations and policies affecting our business.

Any of the above effects of Brexit and U.S. political changes, and others that we may not be able to anticipate, could negatively impact our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Terrorist attacks, war or armed hostilities between countries or non-state actors, or the fear of such attacks, even if not made directly on the airline industry, could negatively affect lessees and the airline industry, which would negatively affect our cash flow and results of operations.

Terrorist attacks, war or armed hostilities between countries or non-state actors, or the fear of such events, have historically had a negative impact on the aviation industry and could result in:

·

higher costs to the airlines due to the increased security measures;

·

decreased passenger demand and revenue due to the inconvenience of additional security measures or concerns about the safety of flying;

·

the imposition of ''no-fly zone'' or other restrictions on commercial airline traffic in certain regions;

·

uncertainty of the price and availability of jet fuel and the cost and practicability of obtaining fuel hedges;

·

higher financing costs and difficulty in raising the desired amount of proceeds on favorable terms, if at all;

·

significantly higher costs of aviation insurance coverage for future claims caused by acts of war, terrorism, sabotage, hijacking and other similar perils, or the unavailability of certain types of insurance;

·

inability of airlines to reduce their operating costs and conserve financial resources, taking into account the increased costs incurred as a consequence of such events;

·

special charges recognized by some operators, such as those related to the impairment of aircraft and engines and other long-lived assets stemming from the grounding of aircraft as a result of terrorist attacks, economic conditions and airline reorganizations; and

·

an airline's becoming insolvent and/or ceasing operations.

For example, as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and subsequent terrorist attacks abroad, notably in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe, increased security restrictions were implemented on air travel, costs for aircraft insurance and security measures increased, passenger and cargo demand for air travel decreased, and operators faced difficulties in acquiring war risk and other insurance at reasonable costs. Further, international sanctions against Russia and other countries, uncertainty regarding tensions between the United States and

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North Korea, the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, political instability in the Middle East and North Africa, the dispute between Japan and China, the recent tensions in the South China Sea and additional international hostilities could lead to further instability in these regions.

Terrorist attacks, war or armed hostilities between countries or non-state actors, large protests or government instability, or the fear of such events, could adversely affect the aviation industry and the financial condition and liquidity of our lessees, as well as aircraft values and rental rates. In addition, such events may cause certain aviation insurance to become available only at significantly increased premiums or with reduced amounts of coverage insufficient to comply with the current requirements of aircraft lenders and lessors or by applicable government regulations, or not to be available at all. Although some governments provide for limited coverage under government programs for specified types of aviation insurance, these programs may not be available at the relevant time or governments may not pay under these programs in a timely fashion.

Such events are likely to cause our lessees to incur higher costs and to generate lower revenues, which could result in a material adverse effect on their financial condition and liquidity, including their ability to make rental and other lease payments to us or to obtain the types and amounts of insurance we require. This in turn could lead to aircraft groundings or additional lease restructurings and repossessions, increase our cost of remarketing or selling aircraft, impair our ability to remarket or otherwise dispose of aircraft on favorable terms or at all, or reduce the proceeds we receive for our aircraft in a disposition.

Changes in fuel costs could materially negatively affect our lessees and by extension the demand for our aircraft which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Fuel costs represent a major expense to airlines, and fuel prices fluctuate widely depending primarily on international market conditions, geopolitical and environmental events, regulatory changes (including those related to greenhouse gas emissions) and currency exchange rates. If airlines are unable to increase ticket prices to offset fuel price increases, their cash flows will suffer. Political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has historically generated uncertainty regarding the predictability of the world’s future oil supply, which has led to significant increases in fuel costs. Fuel costs may rise in the future. Other events can also significantly affect fuel availability and prices, including natural disasters, decisions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries regarding their members’ oil output, and the increase in global demand for fuel from countries such as China.

High fuel costs would likely have a material negative impact on airline profitability. Due to the competitive nature of the airline industry, airlines may not be able to pass on increases in fuel prices to their passengers by increasing fares. If airlines are successful in increasing fares, demand for air travel may be negatively affected. Higher and more volatile fuel prices may also have an impact on consumer confidence and spending, and thus may adversely impact demand for air transportation. In addition, airlines may not be able to manage fuel cost risk by appropriately hedging their exposure to fuel price fluctuations. The profitability and liquidity of those airlines that do hedge their fuel costs can also be adversely affected by swift movements in fuel prices, if such airlines are required to post cash collateral under their hedge agreements. If fuel prices increase, they are likely to cause our lessees to incur higher costs. A sustained period of lower fuel costs may adversely affect regional economies that depend on oil revenue, including those in which certain of our lessees operate. Consequently, these conditions may:

·

affect our lessees’ ability to make rental and other lease payments;

·

result in lease restructurings and aircraft repossessions;

·

increase our costs of maintaining and marketing aircraft;

·

impair our ability to remarket aircraft or otherwise sell our aircraft on a timely basis at favorable rates; or

·

reduce the sale proceeds received in the event of an aircraft sale.

29


 

Such effects would materially negatively affect demand for our aircraft, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

A deterioration in the financial condition of the airline industry would have a negative impact on our ability to lease our aircraft which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The financial condition of the airline industry is of particular importance to us because our aircraft are primarily leased to passenger airlines and we plan to continue to lease our aircraft to passenger airlines. Our ability to achieve our primary business objectives will depend on the financial condition and growth of the airline industry as well as the financial strength of our lessees and the lessees’ ability to manage their respective risks. However, these risks are generally out of our control, but because these risks have a significant impact on our intended airline customers, they will affect us as well. We may experience:

·

downward pressure on demand for our aircraft and reduced market lease rates and lease margins;

·

a higher incidence of lessee defaults, lease restructurings, repossessions and airline bankruptcies and restructurings, resulting in lower lease margins due to maintenance and legal costs associated with repossession, as well as lost revenue for the time our aircraft are off lease and possibly lower lease rates from our new lessees;

·

an inability to lease aircraft on commercially acceptable terms, resulting in lower lease margins due to aircraft not earning revenue and resulting in storage, insurance and maintenance costs;

·

a loss if the aircraft are damaged or destroyed by an event specifically excluded from insurance policies such as dirty bombs, bio-hazardous materials and electromagnetic pulsing; and

·

any changes in the general business, financial market, and economic conditions or the local economies in which lessees operate that negatively affect lessees.

For these reasons our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations would be negatively affected.

Epidemic diseases may hinder airline travel and reduce the demand for aircraft which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Epidemic diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, bird flu, swine flu, the Zika virus, Ebola or other pandemic diseases negatively affected passenger demand for air travel in recent years.  These epidemic diseases and other pandemic diseases, or the fear of such events, could provoke responses, including government-imposed travel restrictions, which could negatively affect passenger demand for air travel and the financial condition of the aviation industry. The consequences of these events may reduce the demand for aircraft and/or impair our lessees’ ability to satisfy their lease payment obligations to us, which in turn would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Natural disasters and other natural phenomena may disrupt air travel and reduce the demand for aircraft which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Air travel can be disrupted, sometimes severely, by the occurrence of natural disasters and other natural phenomena. A natural disaster or other natural phenomena could cause disruption to air travel and could result in a reduced demand for aircraft and/or impair our lessees’ ability to satisfy their lease payment obligations to us, which in turn would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

30


 

The effects of various environmental regulations may negatively affect the airline industry, which may in turn cause lessees to default on their lease payment obligations to us which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

The airline industry is subject to increasingly stringent federal, state, local and international environmental laws and regulations concerning emissions to the air, discharges to surface and subsurface waters, safe drinking water, aircraft noise, the management of hazardous substances, oils and waste materials and other regulations affecting aircraft operations. Governmental regulations regarding aircraft and engine noise and emissions levels apply based on where the relevant aircraft is registered and operated. For example, jurisdictions throughout the world have adopted noise regulations which require all aircraft to comply with noise level standards. In addition to the current requirements, the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organization (the “ICAO”) have specific standards for noise levels which applies to engines manufactured or certified on or after January 1, 2006. Currently, U.S. regulations would not require any phase-out of aircraft that qualify with the older standards applicable to engines manufactured or certified prior to January 1, 2006, but the European Union has established a framework for the imposition of operating limitations on aircraft that do not comply with the new standards and incorporates aviation-related emissions into the European union’s Emission Trading Scheme (the “ETS”). ICAO has also adopted new, more stringent noise level standards to apply to new airplane type design with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 55,000 kg or more on or after December 31, 2017; or with maximum certificated takeoff weight of less than 55,000 kg on or after December 31, 2020. Additionally, the U.S. has adopted new noise regulations, effective November 3, 2017, to harmonize with the new ICAO standards. These regulations could limit the economic life of the aircraft and engines, reduce their value, limit our ability to lease or sell the non-compliant aircraft and engines or, if engine modifications are permitted, require us to make significant additional investments in the aircraft and engines to make them compliant.

In addition to more stringent noise restrictions, the United States and other jurisdictions are beginning to impose more stringent limits on nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions from engines, consistent with current ICAO standards. These limits generally apply only to engines manufactured after 1999. Because aircraft engines are replaced from time to time in the normal course, it is likely that the number of such engines would increase over time. On October 6, 2016, 191 member states of the ICAO adopted the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (“CORSIA”) which calls for a global market measure to help the aviation industry meet its goal of carbon-neutral growth after 2020. Baseline emissions levels will be measured in 2019-2020, after which airlines will purchase offsets for any increase in emissions from that level. The plan starts with a voluntary phase-in from 2021 through 2026, during which only routes between countries that choose to participate will be covered. At least 65 countries have indicated that they will participate in the voluntary phase, including the United States, Canada, China, and 28 EU countries. Concerns over global warming could result in more stringent limitations on the operation of aircraft powered by older, non-compliant engines, as well as newer engines. Future regulatory actions that may be taken by the U.S. government, other foreign governments or the ICAO to address concerns about climate change, noise and emissions from the aviation sector may include the imposition of requirements to purchase additional emission offsets or credits, which could require participation in emission trading (such as is required in the EU and by the CORSIA), substantial taxes on emissions and growth restrictions on airline operations, among other potential regulatory actions.

European countries generally have relatively strict environmental regulations that can restrict operational flexibility and decrease aircraft productivity. The European Parliament has confirmed that all emissions from flights within the European Union are subject to the ETS requirement, even those emissions that are emitted outside of the European Union. The European Union suspended the enforcement of the ETS requirements for international flights outside of the European Union due to a proposal issued by the ICAO in October 2013 to develop a global program to reduce international aviation emissions, which would be enforced by 2020. In response to this, the European Commission amended the ETS legislation through the end of 2017 so that only flights or portions thereof that take place in European regional airspace are subject to the ETS requirements. On December 13, 2017, the European Commission further amended the ETS legislation to extend the derogation of the ETS requirements through the end of 2023. The United States, China and other countries continue to oppose the inclusion of aviation emissions from outside of the E.U. in the ETS. Similar measures may be implemented in other jurisdictions as a result of environmental concerns.

The potential impact of ETS and the new ICAO carbon standards on costs has not been completely identified. Limitations on emissions such as the ones in the European Union could favor younger, more fuel efficient aircraft since

31


 

they generally produce lower levels of emissions per passenger, which could adversely affect our ability to remarket or otherwise dispose of less efficient aircraft on a timely basis, at favorable terms, or at all. Concerns over global warming also could result in more stringent limitations on the operation of aircraft. Any of these regulations could limit the economic life of the aircraft and engines, reduce their value, limit our ability to lease or sell the compliant aircraft and engines or, if engine modifications are permitted, require us to make significant additional investments in the aircraft and engines to make them compliant, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. Further, compliance with current or future regulations, taxes or duties imposed to deal with environmental concerns could cause lessees to incur higher costs and to generate lower net revenues, resulting in a negative impact on their financial conditions. For example, the United Kingdom doubled its air passenger duties, effective February 1, 2007, in recognition of the environmental costs of air travel. Consequently, such compliance may affect lessees’ ability to make rental and other lease payments and reduce the value we receive for the aircraft upon any disposition, which would negatively affect our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

We operate in multiple jurisdictions and may become subject to a wide range of income and other taxes which would negatively affect our cash flow and results of operations.

We operate in multiple jurisdictions and may become subject to a wide range of income and other taxes. If we are unable to execute our business in jurisdictions with favorable tax treatment, our operations may be subject to significant income and other taxes.

Moreover, as our aircraft are operated by our lessees in multiple states and foreign jurisdictions, we may have nexus or taxable presence as a result of our aircraft landings in various states or foreign jurisdictions. Such landings may result in us being subject to various foreign, state and local taxes in such states or foreign jurisdictions. For these reasons our cash flow and results of operations would be negatively affected.

We are subject to various risks and requirements associated with transacting business in foreign countries which would negatively affect our cash flow and results of operations.

Our international operations expose us to trade and economic sanctions and other restrictions imposed by the United States or other governments or organizations. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Commerce, State and Treasury and other foreign agencies and authorities have a broad range of civil and criminal penalties they may seek to impose against corporations and individuals for violations of economic sanctions laws, export control laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and other federal statutes and regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and those established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), and, increasingly, similar or more restrictive foreign laws, rules and regulations, including the U.K. Bribery Act (“UKBA”), which may also apply to us. Under these laws and regulations, the government may require export licenses, may seek to impose modifications to business practices, including cessation of business activities in sanctioned countries or with sanctioned persons or entities, and modifications to compliance programs, which may increase compliance costs, and may subject us to fines, penalties and other sanctions. A violation of these laws or regulations could negatively impact our business, operating results, and financial condition. Further, events in Ukraine and Crimea have resulted in the European Union and the United States imposing escalating sanctions on Russia and certain businesses and sectors and individuals in Russia, including the airline industry. For instance, the United States has imposed restrictions prohibiting U.S. individuals and entities, including their foreign branches or subsidiaries owned or controlled by such individuals or entities, from providing financial services or assistance in the form of new equity or debt with certain maturities to specified Russian individuals and entities. Additionally, the European Union has enacted similar restrictions in which citizens of European Union member states and corporations domiciled in European Union member states are prohibited from dealing with financial instruments having a maturity greater than 30 days with certain Russian entities. Russia has imposed its own sanctions on certain individuals in the United States and may impose other sanctions on the United States and the European Union and/or certain businesses or individuals from these regions. We cannot assure you that the current sanctions or any further sanctions imposed by the European Union, the United States or other international interests will not materially adversely affect our operations.

In 2016, the United States and European Union lifted certain nuclear-related secondary sanctions as provided by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) with Iran. Among other things, the sale or lease of civil passenger

32


 

aircraft to most Iranian airlines is now permitted, subject to receipt of an appropriate license. Transactions with sanctioned individuals and entities, including aircraft sale and lease transactions with such persons, remain prohibited, and the United States retains the authority to revoke the sanctions relief provided by the JCPOA if Iran fails to meet its commitments thereunder.

We have in place training programs for our employees with respect to FCPA, OFAC, UKBA, export controls and similar laws and regulations. There can be no assurance that our employees, consultants, sales agents, or associates will not engage in unlawful conduct for which we may be held responsible, nor can there be assurance that our business partners will not engage in conduct which could materially affect their ability to perform their contractual obligations to us or even result in our being held liable for such conduct. Moreover, while we believe that we have been in compliance with all applicable sanctions laws and regulations, and intend to maintain such compliance, there can be no assurance that we will be in compliance in the future, particularly as the scope of certain laws may be unclear and may be subject to change. Violations of the FCPA, OFAC, UKBA and other export control regulations, and similar laws and regulations may result in severe criminal or civil sanctions, and we may be subject to other liabilities, which could negatively affect our cash flow and results of operations.

A cyber‑attack that bypasses our information technology, or IT, security systems, causing an IT security breach, may lead to a material disruption of our IT systems and the loss of business information which may hinder our ability to conduct our business effectively and may result in lost revenues and additional costs.

Parts of our business depend on the secure operation of our computer systems to manage, process, store, and transmit information associated with aircraft leasing. We have, from time to time, experienced threats to our data and systems, including malware and computer virus attacks. A cyber‑attack could adversely impact our daily operations and lead to the loss of sensitive information, including our own proprietary information and that of our customers, suppliers and employees. Such losses could harm our reputation and result in competitive disadvantages, litigation, regulatory enforcement actions, lost revenues, additional costs and liability. While we devote substantial resources to maintaining adequate levels of cyber‑security, our resources and technical sophistication may not be adequate to prevent all types of cyber‑attacks.

Material damage to, or interruptions in, our information systems as a result of external factors, staffing shortages and difficulties in updating our existing software or developing or implementing new software could have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations.

We depend largely upon our information technology systems in the conduct of all aspects of our operations. Such systems are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, security breaches, fire and natural disasters. Damage or interruption to our information systems may require a significant investment to fix or replace them, and we may suffer interruptions in our operations in the interim. Potential problems and interruptions associated with the implementation of new or upgraded systems and technology or with maintenance or adequate support of existing systems could also disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations. Any material interruptions or failures in our information systems may have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations.

Our financial reporting for lease revenue may be impacted by a proposed new model for lease accounting.

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2016-02 ("ASU 2016-02"), “Leases (Topic 842)”. The standard requires lessees to recognize most leases on their balance sheets as lease liabilities with corresponding right-of-use assets. Lessor accounting for operating leases would remain substantially unchanged. The standard will be effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018 for public entities. We plan to adopt the standard on its required effective date of January 1, 2019. We believe the standard will not have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements. We do not believe that the adoption of the standard will significantly impact our existing or potential lessees' economic decisions to lease aircraft.

33


 

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

The price of our Class A common stock historically has been volatile. This volatility may negatively affect the price of our Class A common stock.

The Company’s stock continues to experience substantial price volatility. This volatility may negatively affect the price of our Class A common stock at any point in time. Our stock price is likely to continue to be volatile and subject to significant price and volume fluctuations in response to market and other factors, including:

·

variations in our quarterly or annual operating results;

·

actual or perceived reduction in our growth or expected future growth;

·

announcements concerning our competitors, the airline industry or the economy in general;

·

announcements concerning the availability of the type of aircraft we own;

·

general and industry-specific economic conditions;

·

changes in the price of aircraft fuel;

·

changes in financial estimates or recommendations by securities analysts or failure to meet analysts’ performance expectations;

·

additions or departures of key members of management;

·

any increased indebtedness we may incur in the future;

·

speculation or reports by the press or investment community with respect to us or our industry in general or the decision to suspend or terminate coverage in the future;

·

changes in market valuations of similar companies;

·

changes in or elimination of our dividend;

·

announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts, acquisitions, dispositions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

·

changes or proposed changes in laws or regulations affecting the airline industry or enforcement of these laws and regulations, or announcements relating to these matters; and

·

general market, political and economic conditions, including any such conditions and local conditions in the markets in which our lessees are located.

Broad market and industry factors may decrease the market price of our Class A common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. The stock market in general has from time to time experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations, including periods of sharp decline. In the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. Such litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

34


 

Provisions in Delaware law and our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may inhibit a takeover of us, which could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline and could entrench management.

Our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals that stockholders may consider to be in their best interests, including the ability of our board of directors to designate the terms of and issue new series of preferred stock, a prohibition on our stockholders from calling special meetings of the stockholders, and advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals and director nominations. In addition, Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which we have not opted out of, prohibits a public Delaware corporation from engaging in certain business combinations with an “interested stockholder” (as defined in such section) for a period of three years following the time that such stockholder became an interested stockholder without the prior consent of our board of directors. The effect of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, as well as these charter and bylaws provisions, may make the removal of management more difficult. It may also impede a merger, takeover or other business combination or discourage a potential acquirer from making a tender offer for our Class A common stock, which, under certain circumstances, could reduce the market price of our Class A common stock.

Future offerings of debt or equity securities by us may adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

In the future, we may attempt to obtain financing or to further increase our capital resources by issuing additional shares of Class A common stock or offering debt or additional equity securities, including commercial paper, medium‑term notes, senior or subordinated notes or preferred shares. Issuing additional shares of Class A common stock or other additional equity offerings may dilute the economic and voting rights of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our Class A common stock, or both. Upon liquidation, holders of such debt securities and preferred shares, if issued, and lenders with respect to other borrowings, would receive a distribution of our available assets prior to the holders of our Class A common stock. Preferred shares, if issued, could have a preference with respect to liquidating distributions or a preference with respect to dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our Class A common stock. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, holders of our Class A common stock bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our Class A common stock and diluting their shareholdings in us.

We may not be able to pay or maintain dividends, or we may choose not to pay dividends, and the failure to pay or maintain dividends may negatively affect our share price.

Current dividends may not be indicative of the amount of any future quarterly dividends. Our ability to pay, maintain or increase cash dividends to our shareholders is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on many factors, including our ability to comply with covenants in our financing documents that limit our ability to pay dividends and make certain other restricted payments to shareholders; the difficulty we may experience in raising and the cost of additional capital and our ability to finance our aircraft acquisition commitments; our ability to re-finance our long-term financings before excess cash flows are no longer made available to us to pay dividends and for other purposes; our ability to negotiate and enforce favorable lease rates and other contractual terms; the level of demand for our aircraft; the economic condition of the commercial aviation industry generally; the financial condition and liquidity of our lessees; unexpected or increased expenses; the level and timing of capital expenditures, principal repayments and other capital needs; the value of our aircraft portfolio; our compliance with loan to value, interest rate coverage and other financial tests in our financings; our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity; general business conditions; restrictions imposed by our debt agreements; legal restrictions on the payment of dividends; and other factors that our Board of Directors deems relevant. Some of these factors are beyond our control, and a change in any such factor could affect our ability to pay dividends on our common stock. In the future we may choose not to pay dividends or may not be able to pay dividends, maintain our current level of dividends, or increase them over time. The failure to maintain or pay dividends may negatively affect our share price.

35


 

ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES

Flight Equipment

As of December 31, 2017, our operating lease portfolio consisted of 244 aircraft, comprised of 188 narrowbody jet aircraft and 56 widebody jet aircraft, with a weighted average age of 3.8 years.

The following table shows the scheduled lease terminations (for the minimum non-cancellable period which does not include contracted unexercised lease extension options) of our operating lease portfolio as of December 31, 2017, updated through February 22, 2018:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

    

2022

    

Thereafter

    

Total

 

Airbus A319-100

 

 

 

 

 1

 

 

 

 1

 

Airbus A320-200

 

 3

 

 3

 

 7

 

 6

 

 1

 

20

 

40

 

Airbus A320-200neo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 5

 

 5

 

Airbus A321-200

 

 1

 

 

 1

 

 

 1

 

26

 

29

 

Airbus A321-200neo

 

 

 1

 

 

 

 

 4

 

 5

 

Airbus A330-200

 

 

 4

 

 

 

 2

 

 9

 

15

 

Airbus A330-300

 

 

 

 1

 

 

 1

 

 3

 

 5

 

Airbus A350-900

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2

 

 2

 

Boeing 737-700

 

 

 2

 

 

 1

 

 

 

 3

 

Boeing 737-800

 

 1

 

10

 

 7

 

 6

 

11

 

67

 

102

 

Boeing 737-8 MAX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2

 

 2

 

Boeing 767-300ER

 

 

 1

 

 

 

 

 

 1

 

Boeing 777-200ER

 

 

 

 1

 

 

 

 

 1

 

Boeing 777-300ER

 

 

 

 

 4

 

 4

 

16

 

24

 

Boeing 787-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 8

 

 8

 

Embraer E190

 

 

 

 1

 

 

 

 

 1

 

Total

 

 5

 

21

 

18

 

18

 

20

 

162

 

244

 

 

Commitments

As of December 31, 2017, we had committed to purchase the following new aircraft at an estimated aggregate purchase price (including adjustment for anticipated inflation) of approximately $27.0 billion for delivery as shown below. The recorded basis of aircraft may be adjusted upon delivery to reflect changes in, among other items, actual inflation and the final cost of buyer furnished equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

    

2022

    

Thereafter

    

Total

 

Airbus A321-200

 

 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2

 

Airbus A320/321neo(1)

 

14

 

35

 

27

 

22

 

25

 

25

 

148

 

Airbus A330-900neo

 

 5

 

 5

 

 4

 

 7

 

 6

 

 2

 

29

 

Airbus A350-900/1000

 

 4

 

 2

 

 4

 

 5

 

 3

 

 

18

 

Boeing 737-7/8/9 MAX

 

12

 

27

 

27

 

35

 

27

 

 

128

 

Boeing 787-9/10

 

 7

 

12

 

 9

 

 7

 

 8

 

 

43

 

Total(2)

 

44

 

81

 

71

 

76

 

69

 

27

 

368

 


(1) Our Airbus A320/321neo aircraft orders include 55 long-range variants.

(2)

In addition to the aircraft from our orderbook, we have a commitment to purchase one used Boeing 737-800 aircraft from an airline, which is scheduled for delivery in 2018.

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Airbus has informed us to expect several month delivery delays relating to certain aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2018 and 2019.  The delays have been reflected in our commitment schedules above. Our leases contain lessee cancellation clauses related to aircraft delivery delays, typically for aircraft delays greater than one year. Our purchase agreements contain similar clauses. As of February 22, 2018, none of our lease contracts are subject to cancellation.

As of December 31, 2017, the Company had a non-binding commitment to acquire up to five A350-1000 aircraft.  Deliveries of these aircraft are scheduled to commence in 2023 and continue through 2024.

Our new aircraft are being purchased pursuant to binding purchase agreements with each of Airbus and Boeing. These agreements establish pricing formulas (which include certain price adjustments based upon inflation and other factors) and various other terms with respect to the purchase of aircraft. Under certain circumstances, we have the right to alter the mix of aircraft types that we ultimately acquire.

New Lease Placements

Our current lease placements are progressing well and are in line with our expectations. As of February 22, 2018, we had entered into contracts for the lease of new aircraft scheduled to be delivered through 2023 as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Number of

    

Number

    

 

 

Delivery Year

 

Aircraft

 

Leased

 

% Leased

 

2018

 

44

 

44

 

100.0

%

2019

 

81

 

77

 

95.1

%

2020

 

71

 

33

 

46.5

%

2021

 

76

 

 6

 

7.9

%

2022

 

69

 

 2

 

2.9

%

Thereafter

 

27

 

 

%

Total

 

368

 

162

 

 

 

 

Our lease commitments for the 44 aircraft to be delivered in 2018 are comprised of 43 binding leases and one non-binding letter of intent. Our lease commitments for 77 of the 81 aircraft to be delivered in 2019 are comprised of 70 binding leases and seven non-binding letters of intent. Our lease commitments for 33 of the 71 aircraft to be delivered in 2020 are comprised of 27 binding leases and six non-binding letters of intent. Our lease commitments for six of the 76 aircraft to be delivered in 2021 are all comprised of binding leases. Finally, our lease commitments for two of the 69 aircraft to be delivered in 2022 are all comprised of binding leases. While our management’s historical experience is that non-binding letters of intent for aircraft leases generally lead to binding contracts, we are not certain that we will ultimately execute binding agreements for all or any of the letters of intent. While we actively seek lease placements for the aircraft that are scheduled to be delivered through 2023, in making our lease placement decisions, we also take into consideration the anticipated growth in the aircraft leasing market and anticipated improvements in lease rates, which could lead us to determine that entering into particular lease arrangements at a later date would be more beneficial to us.

Facilities

We lease our principal executive office at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1000N, Los Angeles, California 90067. We also lease offices at 3rd Floor, Kilmore House, Park Lane, Spencer Dock, Dublin 1, Ireland. We do not own any real estate. We believe our current facilities are adequate for our current needs and for the foreseeable future.

ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

From time to time, we may be involved in litigation and claims incidental to the conduct of our business in the ordinary course. Our industry is also subject to scrutiny by government regulators, which could result in enforcement proceedings or litigation related to regulatory compliance matters. We are not presently a party to any enforcement proceedings or litigation related to regulatory compliance matters or material legal proceedings. We maintain insurance

37


 

policies in amounts and with the coverage and deductibles we believe are adequate, based on the nature and risks of our business, historical experience and industry standards.

ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

38


 

PART II

ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information

Our Class A common stock has been quoted on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) under the symbol “AL” since April 19, 2011. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our stock. As of December 31, 2017, there were 103,621,629 shares of Class A common stock outstanding held by approximately 215 holders of record.

As of February 21, 2018, the closing price of our Class A common stock was $45.51 per share as reported by the NYSE. The table below sets forth for the indicated periods the high and low sales prices for our Class A common stock as reported on the NYSE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year 2017 Quarters Ended:

    

High

    

Low

 

March 31, 2017

 

$

40.12

 

$

34.64

 

June 30, 2017

 

$

38.74

 

$

34.91

 

September 30, 2017

 

$

42.74

 

$

37.91

 

December 31, 2017

 

$

48.31

 

$

41.12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year 2016 Quarters Ended:

    

High

    

Low

 

March 31, 2016

 

$

32.85

    

$

22.73

 

June 30, 2016

 

$

32.38

 

$

24.93

 

September 30, 2016

 

$

29.95

 

$

25.63

 

December 31, 2016

 

$

37.02

 

$

28.21

 

 

Dividends

The following table sets forth the dividends declared for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Year Ended

    

Year Ended

    

Year Ended

 

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

December 31, 2016

 

December 31, 2015

 

Dividends declared per share

 

$

0.325

 

$

0.225

 

$

0.170

 

 

While the Board of Directors paid a quarterly cash dividend in 2017 and currently expects to continue paying a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share for the foreseeable future, the cash dividend policy can be changed at any time at the discretion of the Board of Directors.  On February 20, 2018, our board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share on our outstanding common stock. The dividend will be paid on April 6, 2018 to holders of record of our common stock as of March 20, 2018.

39


 

Stock Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

Set forth below is certain information about the Class A common stock authorized for issuance under the Company’s equity compensation plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

 

 

    

Number of securities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

remaining available for

 

 

 

Number of securities to be

 

Weighted-average exercise

 

future issuance under

 

 

 

issued upon exercise of

 

price of outstanding

 

equity compensation plans

 

 

 

outstanding options,

 

options, warrants and

 

(excluding securities

 

Plan Category

 

warrants and rights

 

rights

 

reflected in column (a))

 

 

 

(a)  

 

 

(b)  

 

(c)  

 

Equity compensation plans approved by security holders

 

2,858,158

 

$

20.37

 

5,795,999

 

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

2,858,158

 

$

20.37

 

5,795,999

 

 

Performance Graph

The graph below compares the 5-year cumulative return of the Company’s Class A common stock, the S&P Midcap 400 Index, the Russell 2000 Index and a customized peer group. The peer group consists of three companies: Aircastle Limited (NYSE: AYR), AerCap Holdings NV (NYSE: AER) and FLY Leasing Limited (NYSE: FLY). The peer group investment is weighted by market capitalization as of December 31, 2012, and is adjusted monthly. An investment of $100, with reinvestment of all dividends, is assumed to have been made in our Class A common stock, in the peer group and in the S&P Midcap 400 Index and in the Russell 2000 Index on December 31, 2012, and the relative performance of each is tracked through December 31, 2017. The stock price performance shown in the graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

40


 

Comparison of 5 Year Cumulative Total Return

Assumes Initial Investment of $100

December 31, 2017

Picture 2

 

Company Purchases of Stock

The Company did not purchase any shares of its Class A common stock during 2017.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

On December 4, 2017, a holder of our 3.875% convertible senior notes due 2018 ("Convertible Notes") converted $2,000 in principal amount of our Convertible Notes and received 67 shares of Class A Common Stock at a per share conversion price of $29.48. The shares were issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under Section 3(a)(9) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”).

On March 9, 2017, a holder of warrants performed a cashless exercise of 268,125 warrants, resulting in the issuance of 131,001 shares of Class A common stock.  The shares were issued in reliance on an exemption from registration under Section 3(a)(9) of the 1933 Act. As of December 31, 2017, we did not have any warrants outstanding.

41


 

ITEM 6.  SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Year Ended

    

Year Ended

    

Year Ended

    

Year Ended

    

Year Ended

 

 

 

December 31,

 

December 31,

 

December 31,

 

December 31,

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

 

 

 

(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

 

Operating data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rentals of flight equipment

 

$

1,450,735

 

$

1,339,002

 

$

1,174,544

 

$

991,241

 

$

836,516

 

Aircraft sales, trading and other(1)

 

 

65,645

 

 

80,053

 

 

48,296

 

 

59,252

 

 

22,159

 

Total revenues

 

 

1,516,380

 

 

1,419,055

 

 

1,222,840

 

 

1,050,493

 

 

858,675

 

Expenses(1)

 

 

906,850

 

 

838,817

 

 

829,887

 

 

655,717

 

 

565,233

 

Income before taxes

 

 

609,530

 

 

580,238

 

 

392,953

 

 

394,776

 

 

293,442

 

Income tax benefit/(expense)(3)

 

 

146,622

 

 

(205,313)

 

 

(139,562)

 

 

(138,778)

 

 

(103,031)

 

Net income

 

$

756,152

 

$

374,925

 

$

253,391

 

$

255,998

 

$

190,411

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted net income before income taxes(2)

 

$

657,838

 

$

622,871

 

$

507,982

 

$

438,596

 

$

338,683

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income per share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

7.33

 

$

3.65

 

$

2.47

 

$

2.51

 

$

1.88

 

Diluted

 

$

6.82

 

$

3.44

 

$

2.34

 

$

2.38

 

$

1.80

 

Adjusted diluted earnings per share before income taxes(2)

 

$

5.94

 

$

5.67

 

$

4.64

 

$

4.03

 

$

3.16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash dividends declared per share:

 

$

0.325

 

$

0.225

 

$

0.170

 

$

0.130

 

$

0.105

 

Weighted average shares outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

103,189,175

 

 

102,801,161

 

 

102,547,774

 

 

102,142,828

 

 

101,529,137

 

Diluted

 

 

111,657,564

 

 

110,798,727

 

 

110,628,865

 

 

110,192,771

 

 

108,963,550

 

 

 

 

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