Definitions

Operating lease

Operating lease

An operating lease is a lease whose term is short compared to the useful life of the asset or piece of equipment (an airliner, a ship etc.) being leased. An operating lease is commonly used to acquire equipment on a relatively short-term basis. Thus, for example, an aircraft which has an economic life of 25 years may be leased to an airline for 5 years on an operating lease.

An operating lease meets all requirements of FASB 13

In the context of cars and other passenger vehicles, under an operating lease the lessor leases the vehicle to the lessee for a fixed monthly amount, and also assumes the residual value risk of the vehicle. This provides a way to lease a vehicle where the cost of the vehicle is known in advance - however, operating leases can be an expensive option as there is a risk premium priced into the monthly repayments.

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