Berkshire Hathaway eyeing aviation assets; Airbnb to launch airline

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed February 27, 2018 12:01

Berkshire Hathaway eyeing aviation assets; Airbnb to launch airline

When Warren Buffett speaks, the corporate world tends to take notice. So, when he indicated this week that he was hungry for a huge acquisition adding that he wouldn’t rule out owning an entire airline, the media press pounced on the news in a frenzy of speculation of possible targets. Berkshire Hathaway already owns shares in the big four US airlines – leading to a spike in share prices – although a bid for total control of one of those doesn’t make a great deal of sense in terms of price and ROI. Perhaps, other aviation assets have caught the eye of the market sage. A wise leasing executive indicated in October at our New York conference that Buffet could make a play for GECAS. Speculation over the future of GE and its aviation assets has been long and varied. And since GE has no official position on which, or indeed if any, assets are up for sale, speculation will continue (even here!) – a Chinese buyer would always be attractive but perhaps GECAS would be an enticing purchase for Buffet. A large-scale aircraft leasing company promises a much more stable ROI than an airline.

Meanwhile, Airbnb founder Brian Chesky has commented to a British newspaper that the company is seriously planning to set up its own airline. Amedeo’s Mark Lapidus has already touted his idea for a beyond-wet leasing offering that would cater to companies like Airbnb, which would eliminate much of the risk of owning an airline for the corporation. Chesky told The Sunday Times that the company has “seriously considered a lot of things around aviation and we’ve spent a lot of time exploring different concepts”, adding that “we definitely want to make sure, though, that we can get into the end-to-end trip business.”

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed February 27, 2018 12:01