High fliers from the international aviation industry land this week for the Global Air Finance Conference. Now in its 20th year in Dublin, its continuing growth speaks to Ireland’s central position in the aircraft leasing sector.
Last year saw more than 1,600 industry professionals from 65 countries attend. This record number included airline attendees who, between them, represented a combined fleet size of 9,959 aircraft. Lessor attendees included more than 40 of the Leasing Top 50, to a combined fleet total of 7,777 aircraft. Given sustained growth enjoyed by both wings of the industry, this year’s event is on course to be even bigger.
The conference takes place (Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th January) at Dublin's Convention Centre and high octane speakers this year include Alec Burger, president and chief executive of GECAS, Cristina Chang, managing director Asia Pacific Citi and both Domhnal Slattery, Avolon's chief executive, as well as Dick Forsberg, its head of strategy.
Aengus Kelly, chief executive of Aercap, Tom Mackay, chief financial officer at Virgin Atlantic Airways and Brian Pearce, chief economist at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), will also speak.
The presentations, panel discussion and debates from some of the most senior personnel in global aviation provide invaluable insight into both the opportunities and challenges facing the sector worldwide.
Topics up for discussion this year include “How should you invest in the market?”, assessing such options as debt, equity, airlines and lessors or by investing directly into the asset. In it Mark Streeter, managing director airline and aircraft credit research at JP Morgan Securities, looks at the factors likely to impact on investment returns.
Jim Pascale, a partner in law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy in New York, will host a panel discussion on investment in aviation that outlines the issues long-term investors be aware of, the regulation that exists to protect them and the pitfalls of which they need to be mindful.
Managed vehicle strategies are on the radar for Ryan McKenna, vice president and head of strategic planning at Air Lease Corporation. His presentation looks at how these investment vehicles work, what flexibility they offer and how to manage them.
How aircraft compare as an investment opportunity versus other asset classes is explored by Evan Carruthers, managing partner Castlelake, a global private investment firm.
In a speech that addresses a growing trend in the sector, Patrick Kaufer, Managing Director, Global Head of Aviation Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank, looks at the issue of unsecured debt and when to access it. His presentation explores the circumstances in which airlines and lessors should look to the unsecured debt market to finance transactions, the indicators lenders are using to determine rates on this type of product, and how to put together the best unsecured deal.
At the other end of the deal cycle speakers at the event will be considering aircraft and engine exit strategies, identifying the kind of strategies lessors can employ when remarketing an aircraft. The question of whether lessors are anticipating an increased rate of aircraft in need of remarketing in 2018 will also be assessed, which is timely given recent insolvencies in Europe, namely Alitalia, Air Berlin and Monarch. Equally, the issue of further consolidation in an increasingly competitive global market will also be looked at.
Among the most interestingly speculative – or possibly ominous – presentations scheduled is a debate entitled, “This house believes the cycle is due for a downturn”.
But the real value of the event for participants isn’t the addresses, or even the networking – and there are 10 dedicated networking events running across the three days – it’s the deals that are done in some of the event’s 60 private meeting rooms.
If you fancy being a part of it, both registered and non-registered participants can make use of its Open Lounge to meet with peers in an informal setting, while registered participants also benefit from business support functions provided through the event app, including a secure delegate messaging platform, a one to one meeting service designed to connect airlines and lessors with investors and financiers.
For more information see euromoneyseminars.com/global-airfinance-dublin/details.html