Aircraft finance refers to financing for the purchase and operation of aircraft. Complex aircraft finance (such as those schemes employed by airlines) shares many characteristics with maritime finance, and to a lesser extent with project finance.
Commercial aircraft, such as those operated by airlines, use more sophisticated leases and debt financing schemes. The three most common schemes for financing commercial aircraft are secured lending, operating leasing and finance leasing. However, there are other ways to pay for the aircraft:
- Operating leasing and sale/leasebacks
- Bank loans/finance leases
- Export credit guaranteed loans
- Tax leases
- Manufacturer support
These schemes are primarily distinguished by tax and accounting considerations, particularly tax-deductible depreciation, interest and operating costs which can reduce tax liability for the operator, lessor and financier.