The Aviation Finance Conference, (AFCDublin 2019)

15th October 2019

The Aircraft Trading Agenda for 2020:

Aircraft Trading, the financial and legal aspects of dealmaking, and the aviation finance function and trading desk of the future were in focus at this landmark conference for cutting edge leasing, aviation finance and advisory firms.

It featured cutting edge discussions between the leaders of the aircraft leasing industry - at a critical moment in the financial cycle. This is to quote AFC2019's opening keynote speaker, the incoming (2 year term) president of ISTAT, the world's largest representative body of professional aircraft traders and valuers: aircraft trading is 'still only in its infancy', Gerry Butler, CMO of Merx Aviation.

The high level focus continued with on stage interviews with Aercap CEO Aengus Kelly, whose aircraft trading revenues are approaching $3bn for 2019, and China Policy Bank, CDB aircraft leasing arm, President and CCO Patrick Hannigan of CDB Aviation, with Aviation Finance contributing editor Joe Gill.

At the heart of the conference, AFCDublin 2019 was our first ever CFO Forum, entitled the 'Finance Function of the Future' with The Chief Financial Officers of Avolon, SMBC, Standard Chartered Aviation Finance, and DAE Capital, chaired by EY's Danny Buckley. Their session was preceded by an address by Virginia Fox, Head of Risk of GECAS.

The future focus, as well as the present course of the trading cycle were at the heart of trading and investment sessions with the heads of trading of major leasing companies, such as Michael Weiss, Head of Aircraft Trading, SMBC Aviation Capital, GECAS's Alan Buckley, Bart Ligthart, Head of Trading and Portfolio Management, AerCap, John Leenane, Head of Trading, CDB Aviation, Paraic Quinn, Senior Vice President Aircraft Trading, Avolon, and Peter Blakeney, Vice President, Aircraft Trading, Carlyle Aviation Management Limited.

The Trading Desk of the future was a topic on the agenda, as were the latest developments in the Aviation Working Group's GATS initiative, which were discussed along with other innovations in trading, including the potentials of blockchain, and other experiments on digitalising leases, from a trading and accounting perspective.

The final session of AFCDublin examined the changing tax environment in the major jurisdictions, including Ireland and Hong Kong, as well as assessment of legal issues form an aircraft domicilation, leasing contracts, and jurisdictional questions across the lead aviation jurisdictions globally, as an introduction to the issues on the agenda for Financial Centres Summit, Dublin, 2019, FCSDublin, 2019, which was held in Dublin Castle on October 16th. FCSDublin 2019's star studded cast of speakers included Ken Clarke, MP, QC, father of the House of Commons, the Chair of the USA Securities & Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, and the Irish Chief Justice, Frank Clarke, speaking on the role of Irish courts in international financial dispute resolution - important from a Cape Town Convention point of view.

Aircraft Trading

AFCDublin 2019 featured panels, and keynote addresses and interviews with aviation financing leaders, with analysts and traders from firms that represent over half of the global commercial aircraft trading market. AFCDublin 2019 built on the insights of AFCDublin 2018, which also featured, as speakers, the CEOs of 40% of the world's leased aircraft fleet. AFCDublin 2019 provided an important input into the agenda for state of the art aircraft financing in 2020.

AFCDublin 2019 also featured many of the insights from Aviation Finance's analysis in 2019 to date, and consistent with where we are at in the cycle, as volatility rises and downward pressures persist on interest rates, Aircraft Trading was a key theme of this year's conference agenda.