Dublin-headquartered aircraft leasing firm Avolon has said that while the recovery from the Covid pandemic continues to be uneven, the worst effects of the coronavirus on aviation are behind the industry.

Avolon's chief executive Dómhnal Slattery said that as summer approaches, it is clear that the recovery of the sector is firmly underway across the globe.

"We are seeing definitive signs that demand is increasing in the US and Chinese domestic markets - the two largest domestic markets in the world - with air traffic numbers in those markets projected to reach pre-pandemic levels over the coming months," Mr Slattery said.

Avolon today reported lower lease revenues of $470 for the first quarter of the year, down from $644m the same time last year.

It reported a net loss of $83m for the three month period, down from net income of $141m the same time in 2020.

Avolon said it generated over $117m of net cash from operating activities in the quarter, while it ended the quarter with total available liquidity of about $7.1 billion, including $2.2 billion of unrestricted cash and $4.8 billion of undrawn debt facilities.

During the three month period, Avolon completed 31 lease transactions in the quarter comprising new aircraft leases, follow-on leases and lease extensions.

It also delivered a total of eight new aircraft to six customers and transitioned three aircraft to follow-on lessees.

Dómhnal Slattery said today that the increase in domestic air travel demand and rollout of vaccine programmes across the globe will continue to fuel the recovery.

"As we move into the second half of this year, we expect a material uptick in air travel in domestic markets, followed by intra-regional recovery, with the sector to experience a more substantial global recovery from 2022 onwards," the CEO said.

"As the recovery takes hold there will be more growth opportunities in the market. Avolon's strong liquidity position, coupled with our low leverage and minimal near-term debt maturities, means we are well placed to take advantage of such opportunities," he added.