‘SMBC’s fleet is one of the youngest in the world’
SMBC Aviation Capital employs 180, mostly in Dublin, but also in US, Asia and Europe
Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital: “We have over 660 airplanes in our fleet. That’s larger than Ryanair and multiple times the size of Aer Lingus.” Photograph: Naoise Culhane
Name: Peter Barrett
Company: SMBC Aviation Capital
Position: Chief executive officer
SMBC is the fourth-largest aircraft leasing company in the world, set up in 2001. We have over 660 airplanes in our owned, managed and contracted fleet. To put that in context, that’s larger than Ryanair and multiple times the size of Aer Lingus, so: a big portfolio of aircraft. We employ about 180 people, mostly based in Dublin, but with teams in America, Asia and Europe.
We are owned by two of the largest institutions in Japan, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Sumitomo Corporation– they are a very important part of who we are, as financially they are very strong and committed to our business. Last November they put an additional $1 billion of capital into our business, so are very committed to growing it.
We buy, lease and trade commercial jet aircrafts with 100 airline customers around the world and about 50 trading partners. Our fleet is one of the youngest in the world, with an average age of 4.4 years. Our desire is to have a very fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly, technologically advanced fleet of aircraft. That’s a key part of our strategy. We buy generally from manufacturers, sometimes airlines, and lease to airlines for five to 10 years, then lease to another airline. Leasing is the predominant form airlines use to acquire their aircraft; somewhere between 40 per cent and 45 per cent are owned by leasing companies and over half of those are owned by Irish-based leasing companies; about one in five are owned by an Irish company.
With running a global business, Brexit is just one of many things on the horizon. We have a small number of customers in the UK – about 3.7 per cent of our business is in the UK, so very small. Our business is very strong and we see the current market as providing opportunities to grow our business as well as some potential challenges for the next year. We know exactly what we are buying in the next year to 18 months, so we will be very focused on delivering those to our customers in 2019 and 2020.