@Minerva (comments from all invited):
But is there anything dangerous about a super long lease on a nearly brand new aircraft?
If it were 2yrs old, and you take a 15yr lease, losing it at 17yrs seems reasonable (ok, it will pull up the average age of your fleet so I am not suggesting an entire fleet on this basis, perhaps just 25% of it).
2 things to consider:
- on a 5 year lease + 1 year lease extensions, the lease price adjust itself every year. As the aircraft gets older, normally the market price of the aircraft goes down and lease prices go down on every extension
- but with inflation, prices of aircraft go up. Buying identical (but still popular) aircraft later will cost you more. Buying (or leasing) the aircraft now, you are locked to the current price. As the price of new aircraft goes up, so does a price of identical aircraft that is 15 years old.
So you have these 2 trends opposing each other, aging of aircraft and inflation. These rates happen to be nearly matching each other (for the length of MT games). So there is not a lot of danger in a long term lease of a new aircraft (as long as it will remain popular 15 years from now).
The downside is that when you are drowning in money, and you want to lower your lease costs by buying out the leases, there is a huge penalty to either buying out your own lease early or terminating the lease. Another downside is that if years from now, you want to transition to a different fleet type. Getting rid of an aircraft that still has years left on the lease will result in a loss for your airline.