Under American and British accounting rules, a finance lease is generally defined as one in which the lessor receives substantially all rights of ownership, or in which the present value of the minimum lease payments for the duration of the lease exceeds 90% of the fair market value of the aircraft. If a lease is defined as a finance lease, it must be counted as an asset of the company, in contrast to an operating lease which only affects the company's cash flow.
Finance leasing is attractive to the lessee because the lessee may claim depreciation deductions over the aircraft's useful life, which offset the profits from the lease for tax purposes, and deduct interest paid to those creditors who financed the purchase. This has made aircraft a popular form of tax shelter for investors, and has also made finance leasing a cheaper alternative to operating leases or secured purchasing.
About 70% of the fleet was in North America at the end of 2011. The European market is the next largest, with growing activity in the Middle East, Asia, and Central America. In 2015 the total airplane billing amounted to US$21.9 billion, and 718 business jets were delivered to customers across the globe : 199 (27.7%) by Bombardier Aerospace, 166 (23.1%) by Cessna, 154 (21.4%) by Gulfstream Aerospace, 120 (16.7%) by Embraer and 55 (7.7%) by Dassault Falcon.