Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dublin-based Apollo Aviation expects fleet to grow to 250 aircraft within three years

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Apollo Aviation Group, a US investment firm that specialises in aviation investments and has one of its main bases in Dublin, expects its aircraft fleet to grow to 170 from 131 by the end of this year, according to co-founder and president Robert Korn.

The company focuses on acquiring narrowbody, mid-life jets, typically between 10 and 15 years old, from other lessors.

Its single biggest leasee customer is American Airlines and it has aircraft deployed around the world.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Korn said that he sees opportunities to acquire aircraft that are currently deployed in Asia with other lessors.

Apollo Aviation Group is privately held and has $3.5bn of assets under management.

 It uses funds raised primarily from institutional investors to bankroll its fleet expansion. Its assets increased in value by 42pc last year, as it bought 55 jets.

The company employs 25 people in Dublin, and expects in increase that number in the future, said Mr Korn. Apollo hosted a lunch in Dublin today to celebrate 15 years in Dublin. Among those attending were Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell-O'Connor, and former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes.

Mr Korn also said that within three years, he would expect Apollo's fleet to have expanded to about 250 aircraft.

He said demand for aircraft remains robust.

"All of our airplanes are flying. We're very happy with the market. Airlines have done very well over the past few years and continue to do very well," said Mr Korn. "Demand has remained very healthy."

He added: "We've looked to and hope to acquire more assets in Asia. The North American and European markets are healthy today, we know that growth in our business is happening at the fastest rate in south-east Asia, in China, and in India."

Mr Korn said he had no significant concerns regarding new financial rules that will impact the aircraft leasing industry.

 "What concerns me in general, is unknown change and inability to predict what may or may not happen," he said. "We operate in a global business where we have a very level playing field."

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