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AIG aircraft unit to shed planes

The aircraft leasing unit of bailed-out insurer American International Group (AIG) has agreed to sell 53 passenger jets to Australia's Macquarie Group to raise a much-needed $2bn (£1.29bn) in cash. International Lease Finance (ILFC), a top customer of Boeing and Airbus, said yesterday it was selling the aircraft, mostly 737s and A320s, for below their book value of $2.3bn. The deal follows AIG’s failed efforts to offload the entire ILFC business as part of a global asset sale program to pay back the US taxpayer after a $182.3bn bailout during the height of the financial crisis. For Macquarie Group, the deal hoists it to the very top of the second tier of aircraft leasing with a total fleet of 186 planes, prompting investors to suggest it will look to expand further and capitalise on the recovering Asia Pacific air travel market.