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Aviation deals set for take-off at Dublin air finance event

Global conference sees 300 per cent increase in airlines registered to attend

More than 1,200 aviation finance professionals from around the world are due to land in Dublin later this month for the 19th Annual Global Air Finance Conference.

Taking place from January 17th-19th in Convention Centre Dublin, the high-octane industry event includes presentations, panel discussions and debates from some of the most senior personnel in global aviation.

Speakers this year include Ryanair chief financial officer (CFO) Neil Sorahan, Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan and Wizz Air chief executive Jozsef Varadi.

The aircraft lessor community is represented by speakers such as AerCap chief executive Aengus Kelly, GE Capital Aviation Services chief executive Alec Burger and ICBC Financial Leasing global head of aviation Mark Jiang. All of these companies are headquartered in Ireland.


This year's event has seen a 300 per cent increase in the number of airlines registered to attend, which include Emirates, Norwegian Air, Thomas Cook, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic and CityJet.

Investors’ day

The event begins with an aviation investors’ day featuring a series of seminars looking at technical and engine issues, including whether there is a future for very large aircraft; the evolution of the express cargo market; and competition in the engine aftermarket.

The same day also sees a series of seminars looking at trends in investor markets, including a critique of Asian capital markets; a look at the role of credit agencies in aviation; and the question of undersupply in the private placement market. A panel discussion looking at why investors are drawn to aviation will also take place.

The following day sees speakers address the global economy and its impact on aviation, including a presentation by International Air Transport Association chief economist Brian Pearce.

The discussion “Lessor CEOs – what is the future of listed leasing equities” features Avolon chief executive Dómhnal Slattery, Peter Barrett of SMBC Aviation Capital and Goshawk chief executive Ruth Kelly.

Topics under discussion on the final day include market trends in relation to Latin America, Russia and the Middle East.

Lower prices

Delegate prices for the event, which is hosted by Airfinance Journal, an industry publication, have fallen from €3,495 last year to €2,595.

Last year saw a number of themes emerge, including regulation; open-sky policies across the North Atlantic; economic slowdown in China; recession in Russia and Brazil; the disruptive technologies impacting customer experience; and an overhang of wide-bodied planes.

"One of the things that industry veterans will tell you is how closely the industry is correlated to GDP growth, so that is a factor likely to be discussed at this year's event," says Peter Carroll, business support and outsourcing partner at BDO.

Having the air finance’s premier global event take place in Ireland is of enormous value to the industry here, says Carroll. “The value of having so many very senior people from all aspects of the industry – and from all around the world – on our doorstep in Dublin is very significant.”

This is the event’s third year in Convention Centre Dublin. “The fact that nobody has been able to prise this event away from our shores speaks to Ireland’s place in this industry,” says Carroll. “Unlike industry events in the tech sector, global air finance has proven to have enormous ‘stickiness’.”

It isn’t of value only for networking or information-gathering purposes either, says BDO tax director Angela Fleming: “This is an industry based on deals, and deals are done at this event.”

For more information visit www.euromoneyseminars.com/global-airfinance-dublin/details.html

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times