Multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) is reportedly closing in on merging its aircraft-leasing business with aircraft lessor AerCap Holdings.

Specific details of the estimated more than $30bn deal are not yet known. The merger is in line with GE chief executive Larry Culp’s strategy to streamline the company’s operations.

However, the Wall Street Journal reported that an announcement is likely to be made today, citing people familiar with the development.

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the global aviation industry and is forcing airlines to protect and stabilise their businesses while saving costs.

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) leases passenger aircraft developed by various manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus, to customers ranging from flagship airlines to start-ups.

As of 31 December, the company has assets worth $35.86bn. It owns, services or has 1,650 aircraft on order, according to its website.

In 2019, GE agreed to divest its aircraft-financing business for $3.6bn to Apollo Global Management and Athene.

Last year, the conglomerate reduced its debt by $16bn and had a total borrowing of $75bn by December.

Based in Dublin, Ireland, AerCap owns 939 aircraft and managed 105, according to a regulatory filing.

The lessor also has 286 aircraft on order, including jet models such as the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max.