Enda Kenny flies flag for our booming aviation sector
Ireland is now a "highly competitive and stable location for investment and jobs," Taoiseach Enda Kenny told a major aviation finance conference in Dublin.
He added that a trade mission to Singapore next month by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton will target further opportunities in the aviation sector.
Mr Kenny was attending the annual Global Airfinance Conference, which is held every year in the capital and attended by hundreds of leading aviation executives from around the world.
Ireland is one of the biggest aircraft leasing centres in the world.
Mr Kenny said that a number of initiatives had been taken over the years to ensure Ireland was an attractive location for aircraft leasing firms. But he insisted the Government isn't complacent about the sector's future here.
"The Government is aware of the specific challenges that the sector in Ireland faces," he said. "We will continue to engage with the industry, as we have in the past, and maintain an open and constructive dialogue. We are listening to the issues and concerns and addressing them".
Mr Kenny also welcomed the December announcement by leasing firm AerCap, which is headquartered in the Netherlands but whose aircraft fleet is managed out of Shannon, that it's paying $5bn (€3bn) to buy US rival International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).
"This is a transformational transaction for AerCap but is also a huge boost to the aircraft leasing sector in Ireland," said Mr Kenny.
AerCap will become the second biggest aircraft leasing firm in the world once the deal to buy AIG-owned ILFC closes in May. AerCap chief executive Aengus Kelly as well as ILFC CEO Henri Courpron were both in Dublin for the event which ends today.
Among the other speakers are Domhnal Slattery, the founder and chief executive of Dublin-based aircraft leasing firm Avolon, and senior executives from Ryanair, Lufthansa, US Airways, SAS, Delta and Virgin America, as well as aircraft engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce.