Highlights of Airline Economics

by Justin Cooney

Posted on Feb. 16, 2019

From the 20th to the 23rd of January the focus was all things aviation in Dublin, as the city hosted one of the largest annual conferences in the industry. The event organised by Airline Economics kicked off on Sunday 20th January and ran until Thursday 23rd at the Shelbourne Hotel.

The event got underway on Sunday evening with an opening reception hosted in the main ballroom of The Shelbourne Hotel sponsored by Carlyle Aviation Partners. This was an excellent opportunity to meet some of the delegates attending the conference. It was also a great opportunity for attendees to register and collect their badges to avoid the Monday morning queues.

Monday morning saw the opening of the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Conference. The focus of the morning was on the macro-economic and political dynamics affecting the Aviation Industry. Killian Croke, Partner, KPMG also presented the findings of a Global Leasing Industry Survey conducted by KPMG. This gave a critical insight into the current state of the industry and the prospects for the future. The highlight of the day was the first of the leasing CEO panels. On this panel was James Meyler (CEO, Orix Aviation), Alec Burger (President & CEO, GECAS), Firoz Tarapore (CEO, DAE) and John Plueger (CEO, Air Lease Corporation). It was a privilege to listen to such influential industry figureheads give an overview of the progression of the industry over the last year and give their view for the future.

After lunch, Tom Woods, KPMG delivered an exemptional Q&A session with AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly to a packed-out audience. Similar to the CEO leasing panel , Aengus Kelly reflected on 2018 and also gave his outlook for 2019. The afternoon concluded with various talks on topics ranging from fuel hedging to engine investment to new and midlife aircraft market dynamics.

The evening saw the Aviation 100 European and Global Leaders Awards hosted in the Clayton Burlington Road Hotel. GECAS took the title of Lessor of the Year and Orix Aviation took the title of Equity Deal of the Year for their acquisition of a 30% stake in Avolon. After award drinks were also held in the ELFC bar in the Shelbourne hotel.

Tuesday was another exciting day of talks and presentations. The second of the lessor CEO panels did not disappoint with key industry insights from Mike Inglese (CEO, Aircastle Advisor LLC), Ruth Kelly (CEO, Goshawk), Pat Hannigan (President and Chief Commercial Officer, CDB Aviation), Stephen Hannahs (CEO, Wings Capital Partners) and Hani Kuzbarim (CFA, Managing Director, Novus Aviation Capital).

In the afternoon, attendees were treated to a very interesting Low-Cost Airline Panel that saw leading ULCC and LCC airline finance heads from across the globe take to the stage to give their verdicts on the past 12 months and their outlook for 2019. They also discussed their financing strategies to fund deliveries in the year ahead.

On Wednesday, the concluding day of the conference, KPMG hosted their 5th Annual Airline Economics Aviation Finance and Leasing School which offered aviation enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about topics such as ABS forecasting, Aircraft Maintenance modelling and Aircraft Financing. There was also a Tax Panel which included taxation experts such as: Martin McCoy (SVP Corporate Tax & Funding, SMBC ), Aoife MacMahon (Head of Tax, AerCap) and Kirk Malahy (SVP and Head of Legal, Minsheng Commercial Aviation). This panel provided key insights into all things taxation in the Aviation Industry.

Airline Economics is an exemptional conference that draws delegates from around the world and provides a welcome boost to the local economy. As an IASA committee member it was a privilege to attend the event and plans are already underway to attend Airline Economics 2020.