Ireland-based lessor AerCap reported net income of $261.2 million for 1Q 2017, up 17% compared with $223.1 million for the same period in 2016.

The improved figure was achieved on revenue of $1.24 billion, down 6% compared with $1.32 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Diluted earnings per share was $1.48, compared with $1.13 for 1Q 2016.

The company said the increase in net income was driven “primarily by higher gain on sale of assets and lower maintenance rights expense, partially offset by lower income as a result of the sale of mid-life and older aircraft, which reduced average lease assets.

“Diluted earnings per share was also favorably impacted by the repurchase of 31.6 million shares for $1.3 billion during the full year 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.” The company’s board authorized a new $300 million share repurchase program, which will run through Sept. 30, 2017.

AerCap executed 105 aircraft transactions in 1Q 2017, including 22 widebody transactions. Average age of the owned fleet was 7.3 years, with 6.5 years average remaining lease term.

The company’s stocks were also upgraded to investment grade rating by Moody’s.

“AerCap delivered another quarter of consistent results,” CEO Aengus Kelly said. “The strong operational performance of the business is evidenced in 105 aircraft transactions executed during the quarter, as well as the 99.7% fleet utilization level achieved. We also received our third investment grade rating from Moody’s and completed $7.2 billion of financing transactions, further strengthening AerCap’s balance sheet,” he said.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com