The Irish Times Business Person of the Month: Aengus Kelly

In March, Aercap agreed a €25bn deal to buy rival GECAS

Aercap chief executive Aengus Kelly has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Month for March, an award run in association with Bank of Ireland.

Dublin-based Aercap last month agreed to buy GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) aircraft leasing business in a $30 billion (€25 billion) deal that will create the biggest company of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 planes, 300 helicopters and 900 engines.

Aercap's takeover will see GECAS circle back into Irish ownership. The US-owned business, whose main centre of operations is in Shannon, grew from GE's purchase of Irish aircraft leasing giant Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA), brainchild of Ryanair founder Tony Ryan, following its failed stock market flotation in the mid-1990s.

Bounce back

Shareholders and competition regulators are expected to approve the deal by the end of this year. It comes as the global aviation sector hopes to begin recovery after the havoc wrought by more than a year of Covid-19 restrictions.


Mr Kelly led the talks that resulted in the agreement. Aercap will pay GE $24 billion cash, $1 billion in loan notes and/or cash, and 111.5 million new shares, worth about $6 billion on March 9th, the day before the announcement.

Aercap’s enlarged business will generate revenues of $7 billion a year and about $5 billion in operating cash flow. “This is the right business at the right time, at the right price,” Mr Kelly told brokers.