The key to Aircastle's (AYR) - Get Report record profits last year was keeping its planes in the air, said Ron Wainshal, the company's CEO.

"We kept our planes flying," said Wainshal. "We had utilization of almost 100% for the whole year."

Last week the airplane leasing company reported adjusted net income of $54.3 million, or 67 cents per share for the fourth quarter, topping Wall Street's consensus estimate of 44 cents. The company posted revenue of $208.3 million for the period, also beating Street forecasts of $188.3 million.

Aircastle, which is based in Stamford, Conn., also reported record cash flow from operations in its fourth quarter of $526.3 million, up 14.7%, as well as record gains from sales of flight equipment of $58 million in 2015. The company completed $1.4 billion in acquisitions last year and entered into an agreement with Embraer (ERJ) - Get Report to purchase 25 new technology E-Jet E2 aircraft. On the flip side, it sold 31 aircraft for $563 million.

"We own about 160 aircraft today and we probably will be a little bigger this year but it could be a whole lot," said Wainshal. "The wonderful thing about where we are is that we have very few capital commitments, a strong cash flow and we see good buying opportunities coming from the volatility in the financial markets."

Wainshal said Aircastle is hedged so the drop in interest rates has not affected the company's plans too greatly. Aircastle said it repurchased 2.6 million shares since November 2015 and authorized a $100 million share repurchase program.

Shares of Aircastle, down 12% year-to-date, have underperformed airline stocks significantly in the past six months. Wainshal said airlines like Aircastle are making record profits due to the drop in oil prices, but are much more volatile.

"The demand for planes is a concurrent economic indicator," said Wainshal. "Economic activity and airplane travel tend to go together. The one thing that's different is low fuel prices and that actually works to the favor of air travel being higher."