Combined with AWAS to create one of the world's leading aircraft leasing companies


Pegasus was one of the world’s leading providers of capital to airlines for new deliveries and fleet management solutions.

Investment strategy

Asset-Backed: At acquisition in 2007, Pegasus owned a fleet of 80 owned aircraft and a pipeline of 39 aircraft on forward order.

Requiring Fundamental Change: Combining Pegasus with Terra Firma’s existing aircraft leasing business, AWAS, would create significant synergies, generate a more diverse customer base and a younger aircraft fleet and significantly strengthen its worldwide position.

Creating value 

  1. Transforming strategy

    • AWAS acquired Pegasus in 2007 as a bolt-on acquisition. The two companies were combined to create one of the world’s leading aircraft lessors.
    • As well as the operating synergies which came from combining the two businesses, the acquisition broadened AWAS’s customer and supplier base. Furthermore, Pegasus’s young fleet of aircraft substantially reduced the average age of the combined portfolio, making it more attractive to customers and financiers alike.
    • Pegasus’ existing order book provided a platform for AWAS to build a strong pipeline of orders for new aircraft.
  2. Strengthening management

    • AWAS’s operations had been relocated to a new headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, which has a strong leasing community and an attractive taxation environment; Pegasus’s operations were folded into this.
    • Today, AWAS is an efficient scalable platform with 125 people managing more than 220 aircraft.
  3. Developing through capital expenditure

    • AWAS is resourced to capitalise on aircraft investment and disposal opportunities in addition to the more typical ‘buy and hold’ strategy. As part of this more active strategy, the business sells off aircraft as they get older in order to improve the return on the portfolio.
    • AWAS has placed significant new orders with Airbus and Boeing for more than 100 next generation aircraft, deploying recently injected equity on selective portfolio/aircraft acquisitions which will double the asset base of the business by 2015. In addition to supporting the forward order book, this strong capital position gives AWAS the means to offer its customers innovative fleet management solutions such as sale and leaseback transactions or aircraft exchanges.
  4. Building through mergers and acquisitions

    • Pegasus was identified as an attractive bolt-on target at the time of the AWAS investment and, when the Pegasus acquisition was completed, the combined business realised more than $15m of annual synergies. 
  5. Lowering the cost of capital to create extra upside

    • Combining the AWAS and Pegasus businesses resulted in a more diverse customer base and a younger aircraft fleet. This re-positioning of the business to reduce perceived risk has significantly reduced the cost of capital.
    • AWAS’s capital structure was actively managed through the introduction of debt financing for pre-delivery payments along with unsecured debt and bond issuances.

Status of Investment: The AWAS investment is unrealised.

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more than 220 aircraft in the portfolio


more than 90 customers