Business Irish

Saturday 21 July 2018

IAG wants 50/50 split between its leased and owned aircraft

Willie Walsh at UCD. Photo: Damien Eagers
Willie Walsh at UCD. Photo: Damien Eagers
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh has said he wants the British Airways and Aer Lingus owner to move to a 50/50 balance of leased and owned aircraft.

At the launch of the MSc in Aviation Finance at the UCD Smurfit School, the airline boss said about 42pc of all aircraft operating in commercial aviation is leased, rather than owned.

"That's a huge change from where it was," Mr Walsh said.

"In our airline group, we own about 70pc of our aircraft and we lease about 30pc.

"We've taken a decision recently that the better balance between ownership and leasing is 50/50, so over the next five to seven years, we expect to move the number of aircraft that are leased in our portfolio to about 50pc of the total aircraft in the group. What that represents is better capital use, and allocation and more flexibility in the airline and in the group."

Mr Walsh said aircraft leasing, as a business, represents a "huge opportunity" for Ireland, pointing out that it's worth about $50bn overall.

"This is a fantastic industry. It is a growth industry," he said.

About 50pc of the world's leased aircraft are owned and managed from Ireland with over 1,000 people directly employed.

The one year full-time course at UCD Smurfit begins in September and has been developed in association with six industry partners: Aercap, Avolon, GE Capital Aviation Services, KPMG, Snecma (Safran) and SMBC Aviation Capital.

Almost all of the world's top aircraft leasing companies have bases in Ireland.

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