AWAS was acquired in 2006 and grew substantially with the follow-on acquisition of Pegasus in 2007. Under Terra Firma’s ownership, AWAS became one of the world’s leading aircraft leasing companies, with 221 owned aircraft and an original equipment manufacturer delivery pipeline of 15 aircraft.
At acquisition in 2006, AWAS owned 154 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, some with attractive long-term leases and many providing strong rental yields. Subsequently, Terra Firma acquired Pegasus and merged the two businesses. Terra Firma saw the aviation transportation sector as an essential part of economic development, with the world fleet expected to double by 2034 and demand for leased assets set to increase as airlines shift from owning to leasing.
AWAS was a non-core asset, under-managed and starved of investment with an older than average asset portfolio and no new aircraft on order. The business had no real risk management framework and customer concentration issues. Furthermore, the management team and company organisation was decentralised, making communication and decision-making ineffective and slow.
A new strategy was set out for AWAS to adopt a customer-focused approach to leasing, providing tailored customer solutions and forward fleet planning. It introduced a new risk management framework to actively manage credit and concentration risk and created additional value by reducing operating costs in the business. The subsequent acquisition of Pegasus added a further 80 planes to the asset base and diversified the portfolio.
Terra Firma exited the business in 2017. The AWAS investment has been fully realised.