PGGM has acquired a 25% stake in Macquarie AirFinance (MAF), a deal which gives the €211bn Dutch asset manager a say in the composition and the carbon footprint of the aircraft lessor’s fleet.

PGGM said it acquired the stake in MAF for an undisclosed amount for its infrastructure fund.

MAF, a subsidiary of the €345bn Macquarie Group, manages a fleet of about 200 aircraft, divided across 90 customers in 50 countries worldwide.

Airlines now lease 40% of their fleet on average and this share is expected to increase further.

“MAF offers everything on lease contracts, technical and operational expertise, as well as credit management with a fleet, largely comprising new generation narrow-body aircraft which are the most popular type,” said PGGM.

On its website, MAF said it provided leasing services, owned and managed 196 aircraft and had ordered an additional 60 planes.

The company was established in 2006.

Erik van de Brake, the asset manager’s head of infrastructure, said the investment would provide PGGM’s pension fund clients, which include Dutch healthcare scheme PFZW, with a stable return.

“Financing new generations of aircraft enables the aviation sector to take the necessary steps to more fuel-efficient flying,” Van de Brake said.

However, he acknowledged that a fully sustainable aviation industry was decades away still, but noted that the sector kept on improving its efficiency.

According to PGGM, the aviation industry has improved efficiency of aircraft by 70% on average during the past 40 years.

The aviation sector has tasked itself with reducing its carbon footprint by 50% in 2050 relative to 2005.

PGGM said that, in its risk-return assessment, it had taken into account the potential impact of a carbon levy on MAF’s operations.