This excerpt taken from the AYR 10-Q filed Nov 17, 2008.
As high fuel prices continue to impact the profitability of the airline industry, our lessees might not be able to meet their lease payment obligations, which would have an adverse effect on our financial results and growth prospects.
Fuel costs represent a major expense to companies operating within the airline industry. Fuel prices fluctuate widely depending primarily on international market conditions, geopolitical and environmental events and currency/exchange rates. As a result, fuel costs are not within the control of lessees and significant changes would materially affect their operating results.
Factors such as natural disasters can significantly affect fuel availability and prices. In August and September 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita inflicted widespread damage along the Gulf Coast of the United States, causing significant disruptions to oil production, refinery operations and pipeline capacity in the region and to oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. These disruptions have resulted in decreased fuel availability and higher fuel prices.
Fuel prices currently remain high and extremely volatile. The continuing high cost of fuel has had, and sustained high costs in the future may continue to have, a material adverse impact on airlines profitability (including our lessees). Due to the competitive nature of the airline industry, airlines have been, and may continue to be, unable to pass on increases in fuel prices to their customers by increasing fares in a manner that fully off-sets the costs incurred. In addition, airlines may not be able to manage this risk by appropriately hedging their exposure to fuel price fluctuations. If fuel prices remain at historically high levels or increase further due to future terrorist attacks, acts of war, armed hostilities, natural disasters or for any other reason, they are likely to cause our lessees to incur higher costs and/or generate lower revenues, resulting in an adverse impact on their financial condition and liquidity. Consequently, these conditions may (i) affect our lessees ability to make rental and other lease payments, (ii) result in lease restructurings and/or aircraft repossessions, (iii) increase our costs of servicing and marketing our aircraft, (iv) impair our ability to re-lease the aircraft or re-lease or otherwise dispose of the aircraft on a timely basis at favorable rates or terms, or at all, and (v) reduce the proceeds received for the aircraft upon any disposition. These results could have an adverse effect on our financial results and growth prospects.