Aer Lingus chairman heads firm that leases aircraft to IAG

Colm Barrington says no conflict arising from role as chief executive of Fly Leasing

Fly Leasing has not supplied any planes to Aer Lingus and Colm Barrington stressed that he would excuse himself from any discussions dealing with such a transaction. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Fly Leasing has not supplied any planes to Aer Lingus and Colm Barrington stressed that he would excuse himself from any discussions dealing with such a transaction. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

The aviation leasing company led by Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington has supplied a number of aircraft to the group that is bidding to buy the partially State-owned airline.

Mr Barrington and the Aer Lingus board have backed a proposed €1.36 billion offer from International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) for the carrier that has sparked a political row over the possible sale of the State’s 25 per cent stake in the company.

It has emerged that Dublin-based Fly Leasing, of which Mr Barrington is chief executive, has supplied aircraft to the three airlines that comprise IAG: British Airways (BA) and Spanish carriers, Iberia and Vueling.

The company now has five aircraft leased to IAG airlines. At the end of 2013 it had seven planes placed with the group: four Airbus A320s with BA, two of the same model with Vueling and one A319 with Iberia.

Each was manufactured around the turn of the century and is worth between $15 million and $20 million. Fly Leasing’s 2013 annual report shows that at the end of the year, it had leased 113 aircraft, worth a total of $3 billion, to more than 60 airlines.

The five that it now has leased to IAG represent about 3 per cent of the total value of its fleet. The agreements were completed before 2014.

IAG first approached the Aer Lingus board last December.

Mr Barrington said there is no conflict between his two roles. “My position as chairman of Aer Lingus has no bearing on the Fly Leasing business, or vice versa,” he said.

“Fly Leasing is a global player in this market and has aircraft leases with a total of 65 airlines in 36 countries, relating to a total of 127 aircraft,” he added.

He said that he did not have any direct relationship with the IAG companies. A third party, BBAM, manages Fly’s leases and the relationships with its airlines.

BBAM employs both Mr Barrington and the lessor’s chief financial officer, Gary Dales. The two executives work for Fly under a management contract between the companies.

Fly Leasing has not supplied any planes to Aer Lingus. Mr Barrington stressed that he would excuse himself from any discussions dealing with such a transaction, if it were to arise.

He told TDs and Senators this week that there is a “compelling strategic rationale” for IAG’s proposed takeover of Aer Lingus.

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