Aircastle and Southern Air Announce 747-400SF Freighter Leases

STAMFORD and NORWALK, Conn., Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aircastle Limited (NYSE: AYR) and Southern Air Holdings, Inc. today announced that they have entered into long-term leases under which Southern Air will utilize two 747-400SF aircraft owned by Aircastle.   The aircraft are expected to enter commercial service during the first quarter of 2012, advancing Southern Air's fleet renewal and business expansion program.  

Ron Wainshal, Chief Executive Officer of Aircastle, commented, "We are delighted to add Southern Air as a new customer and are very pleased to provide them with their first 747-400SF freighter capacity, assisting them in expanding their fleet to meet the needs of their global customers.  Converting these aircraft into freighters and then leasing them demonstrates our team's unique value additive investment and asset management capabilities."

Daniel McHugh, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Air, said, "The Aircastle 747-400SF agreement marks another important step in Southern Air's transformation.  Southern now offers the most complete range of high-quality wide body ACMI/CMI capabilities with our fleet of 777s, 747-400s and 747-200s.  We look forward to further developing our relationship with Aircastle as we continue to renew and expand our global widebody fleet."

About Aircastle Limited

Aircastle Limited is a global company that acquires, leases and sells high-utility commercial jet aircraft to airlines throughout the world.  As of June 30, 2011 Aircastle's aircraft portfolio consisted of 136 aircraft and had 59 lessees located in 32 countries.

About Southern Air

Southern Air was founded in 1947 as a high-quality global cargo carrier specializing in the provision of block space and aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance ("ACMI") services. Southern Air's blue-chip customer base includes some of the world's largest combination cargo carriers and government agencies. Southern Air currently operates a fleet of 10 Boeing 747-200s and will be adding four 747-400s to the fleet by Q1 2012. Southern Air is the first ACMI operator in the world to operate the new Boeing 777 Freighter and currently operates two such aircraft, with an additional two aircraft slated for delivery in March-April 2012. Southern Air is a portfolio company of Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity firm with considerable expertise in aircraft leasing, financing and manufacturing.