After having taken an overview of the commercial aircraft market for lessors, let’s now focus on the various rental options that are available to airlines, namely: ‘‘Dry lease’’ and ‘‘Wet lease’’. Commercial aircraft leasing companies, in general, offer two kinds of contracts to their clients.
The ‘‘Dry lease’’, which applies to the leasing of only one aircraft, generally lasts between three and twelve years. This option allows the company to adjust the size of its fleet according to market demand without having to invest heavily in the purchase of new aircraft. Customers of such leases may be traditional, as well as low-cost airlines. The leased aircraft is then painted in the livery of the company.
The ‘‘Wet lease’’ on the other hand, also called A.C.M.I. ( Aircraft Crew Maintenance Insurance ), as you'll probably understand, is a total package where, in addition to the aircraft, the pilots, cabin crew, aircraft maintenance and all insurances are provided, but all are charged at an hourly rate.
Usually used for a period of between just a few months to two years, this option is often used by charter airlines during seasonal peaks in traffic, for the opening of new routes, or during their major periodic aircraft maintenance checks, that take an average of six weeks. For these relatively short periods of time the ‘plane is usually NOT painted in the company’s colours, but remains in those of the leasing company.
Alternatively, a ‘plane’s lease can be transferred from ‘‘Wet’’ to ‘‘Dry’’, for the time needed by the company in the event of the training of new crews for example.
Finally, the last option for companies, is a mix between ‘‘Dry’’' and ‘‘Wet’’ leases, which understandably is called the ‘‘Damp’’ lease. Over a period of, in general, up to one year, the lease includes not only the aircraft, but also the pilots and pursers, with the cabin crew itself being provided by the airline company.
Clearly, all these various options are not charged at the same price by the leasing companies.