Aviation

34 Focus On: Aviation Leasing & Finance COMMERCIAL CONTENT

The SundayBusinessPost November17,2019

Newonlineaviation tradingsystemtakesoff The global aircraft trading

Soaring demand for aviation law training reflects boomin industry The LawSocietyof Irelandhighlights thekey role of aviation leasing andfinance education in Ireland’s future as a global player in the sector, writes LorraineCourtney

system(GATS) is set to revolutionise aviation finance and confirm Ireland’s positionat the centre of the industry, writes LorraineCourtney

T he Law Society of Ireland–a leader in professionaleduca- tion and training in the aviation leasing andfinance sector–has seen year-on-year growth in de- mandfor itsdiplomaandcer- tificatecourses,matching the global boom in the industry. Claire O’Mahony, course leader for the Certificate and Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance and acting head of theLawSocietyof Ireland’s DiplomaCentre, saidthathalf of the world’s fleet of leased aircraft is owned, leased or managed in Ireland.  “We know that there are several important factors that make Irelandacommercially attractive place to set up and run an aircraft leasing com- pany,” she said. “Globally, the aviation in- dustry is inasustainedperiod of growth and we are seeing that reflected in the numbers on our education and train- ingofferings in this space. Air traffic is growing at 4.5 per cent annually, while airlines and lessors are expected to take delivery of new aircraft worth well over $150 billion in 2020.” O’Mahonysaidthesociety’s coursedatashowsconsistent, significant growth. “Our di- ploma course began in 2012 with 82 students. High de- mand has meant we have made it available annually since then and the uptake hasgrownyearonyear. Inthe sevenyears of the course, the number of students has in- creased by 70 per cent.” O’Mahony explained that theLawSocietytookthetem- peratureofpotential students before launching the certif- icate course two years after the successful launch of the diploma course. “In May 2014, we offered a short MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on aviation law,” she said. “We were in- terested to see how much of an appetite there was for a courserelatingtoaviation.The

G ATS is the latest buzzword in air- craft financing andleasingcircles. The development of GATS, which stands for global aircraft tradingsystem, willrevolutionisehowaircraft assetsaretradedandfinanced. This is particularly important for many Irish companies, as Ireland is the global hub for aviation finance, and more than50percentoftheaircraft leased to airlines globally are owned by Irish companies. A&L Goodbody (ALG) was appointed as the Irish law firm to work with the Avia- tion Working Group (an in- dustry body made up of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, financing banks and manufacturers) to help create GATS, which will be a system to modernise aircraft tradingandfinancingandre- ducecurrent inefficiencies in these transactions. “We are the leading Irish aviation firm when it comes to innovations like thiswith- in the industry,” said ALG’s aviation finance partner Ma- rie O’Brien. “This is the latest development within aircraft finance and leasing, using technologytosimplifybuying andsellingaircraft. Currently,

it can be very time-consum- ingandcostly to tradeaircraft andtonovatetheaircraftlease agreementbetweentheown- er and the leasing airline, but GATSwill put everythingon- lineandusetruststructuresto simplifytransfers. Irelandhas a long history of being at the forefront of new innovations withintheindustryandthisis another excellent example.” DavidBerkery,anotheravi- ation finance partner at ALG, has been particularly heavi- ly involved in GATS and has worked on drafting the Irish lawGATSstandard formdoc- uments. ALG has been involved in theaircraftleasingsectorsince the very start, said O’Brien. “We are one of the first firms with expertise in this area and our practice has grown fromstrengthtostrength,”she said. “Weareveryproudtobe highly regarded in this space andof our reputationofbeing at the forefront of innovation and complex finance trans- actions.” ALG’s aviation team is the largest dedicated teamin Ire- land, with six partners and a large group of associates and solicitors. “We provide Irish law advice, focusing on leas- ing companies, investors and

Marie O’Brien, aviation partner, A&L Goodbody

banks,” said O’Brien. “Our firm offers a full range of services, from initial set-up to advising on transactions to acquire, finance and trade aircraft along with other full servicedisciplinessuchastax, employment and corporate advice.” The strength of ALG’s avi- ation partner bench is unri- valled among the other Irish lawfirms. Aswell asO’Brien, the other aviation finance partnersare,CatherineDuffy, Séamus Ó Cróinín, Maireadh Dale,DavidBerkery, all based inDublin,andMariaMcElhin- ney inNewYork.Theyadvise on award-winning andmar- ket-leading transactions for the top aircraft players in the industry. “We’re very happy that we havemaintained a dominant positiononABS(asset-backed

securitisations) transac- tions over the past number of years,” said O’Brien. For aircraft lessors, access to the capital markets is a crucial component of their capital structure.“Capitalmarketair- craft financing structures are very large and complex,” she said.“Weareinvolvedinnear- ly all of the ABS transactions thatfeatureIrishincorporated and/or taxresident entities in theirstructures.Jointventures andacquisitionsarealsoareal strength of ours.” ALGisseeingahugeamount of growth in Asian markets. Chinese investment into the EUhas grown significantly in recentyears,acrossallsectors, with many Chinese corpo- rations using Ireland as the gateway intoEurope. O’Brien also leads ALG’s China Busi- ness Group.

“Werunaninnovativepro- gramme – our Chinese Law- yer Programme which is the onlyoneofitskindinIreland,” saidO’Brien. “It sees Chinese lawyers fromits leadingfirms workingwithALG inDublin, aswellasourlawyersworking in China. We have around 80 alumni senior lawyers who have come over to Ireland. They have a really positive experienceandbecomemore awareof thestrengths Ireland offers. Ireland’s dominance in the aircraft leasing and fi- nance sector and the success of the Chinese companies which have set up here has sent a very strongmessage to Chinesecompaniesabout the potentialIrelandoffersforin- vestment not just in aviation, but across a range of sectors. Aircraft leasinghas definitely opened the door and been an excellentwayofshowinghow Ireland can excel.” Ireland prides itself on its business-friendly environ- ment. Its success in the avia- tionindustryhassprungfrom thecultureof innovationcre- ated by GPA and that leading experts in the area are based here in Ireland. The govern- mentandparticularlytheIDA (Ireland’s inward investment agency)havebeenexcellentin promoting Ireland as a juris- diction for investment. An industry representative body called Aircraft Leasing Ireland (ALI)was established last year tobe thevoice of the industry and is a very wel- comedevelopmentforensur- ingIrelandcontinuestothrive asthecentreofaircraftleasing and finance. O’Brien said thatwhen she startedoutinthesector,many oftheleasingcompanieswere smaller entities. “Now these companies are very strong employers and are fully de- veloped corporates in their own right,” she said. “Thismeans that theyneed morehelpandguidancewith corporate governance, com- plianceandspecificareas like employment law and data protection and they need an Irish law firm with strength across the board. In order to maintain its strong position, ALG is com- mitted to ensuring the next generation of aviation pro- fessionals are able to access the industry. “Investing in talented people who are at- tracted to this sector is best achieved through education at the undergraduate and postgraduate level,” she said. “We are heavily involved in the Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma in Aviation Leasing andFinanceandparticipateas lecturersandpanelspeakers.” “Awareness of the career opportunitiesthataviationof- fershasstartedtoincreaseand aviation is nowbeing includ- edas amoduleat third level,” said O’Brien. “This is crucial in terms of longevity for the sector in Ireland. At ALG we areincreasinglygettingappli- cationsfrompeoplewhohave aneducationalbackgroundin aviation.Studentsaremaking thesmartdecisionthatthisisa growing industrywhere their career can flourish.” O’Brien is very positive about the industry’s future and Ireland’s place in it. “Sta- bilityhere,thepositivetaxen- vironment and availability of top talent means that Ireland is retaining its place as a key jurisdiction for aviation,” she said.

Claire O’Mahony, course leader for the Certificate and Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance and acting head of the Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma Centre

response to theMOOCinavi- ationlawwasoverwhelming; it was clear that there was a significant interest inthearea andcertainlyastrongdemand for training. “OurCertificate inAviation Leasing and Finance, which we introduced in autumn 2014, had an initial intake of 52students. Byautumn2018, that number had more than doubled to 111 students.” To date, between both courses, the Law Society Di- ploma Centre has educated more than 1,250 students in aviation leasing and finance law. “Our students include lawyers, avionics mechan- ics and technicians, aircraft maintenance engineers, ac- countantsandtaxconsultants hopingtoenterthesector,and bankers who currently work or wish to work on aviation transactions,”saidO’Mahony.  “One of the interesting aspects of the sector is how global it is. Currently, 23 per cent of our studentsarebased internationally,whichismade possible by the ability to ac- cess all of the courses online by watching live or on-de- mand. A total of 28 different countries have been repre- sented, including the EU, the

UAE,USA,HongKong,Malay- sia,India,Singapore,Australia and New Zealand.” Trend-wise,O’Mahonysaid she has seen a growing stu- dentpopulationbasedinAsia. “Because of the continuing growth of interest in aviation leasing and finance from the Asianmarket, in 2020we are planning to offer students in Asia the opportunity to take their final exam there,” she said.“Thisisprovingtobevery attractive, and shows that the courses have very significant global reach.” O’Mahonysaidshealsosees agrowth inthenumberof ac- countantsandtaxconsultants undertaking the course as they wish to work with air- lines, aviation companies or banks that finance aviation transactions. Looking to the future, O’Mahony said that each of the top 10 global aircraft les- sors enjoyed a presence here. “InordertokeepIrelandasthe global leader in the aviation industry,educationandtrain- ing in the sector plays a key role,” she said. “The Law So- ciety is proud to contribute to the continued success of theboomingaviationsectorin this way.”

Global Leaders in Aviation Finance

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LawSociety’saward-winning aviationdiplomaopento non-lawgraduates

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As Ireland’s aviation sector contin- ues to grow, one diploma course has rapidly gained a reputation in the aviation industry for training high-achievingaviationprofession- alstounderstandthe lawandcom- mercialrealitiesofaviationfinance and leasing. The Law Society’s Diploma in AviationLeasingandFinance,now entering its eighth year, includes a faculty list drawn from across the aviation sector, including aviation leasing companies, top-tier law firms and regulatory bodies. Con- tributors include the Irish Aviation Authority, Matheson, A&L Good- body, Avolon, GECAS, Clifford Chance and many more. Already widely recognised within the industry as the leading education provider for the avia- tion leasing and finance sector, this diploma course was awarded Postgraduate Course of the Year in Law 2019 at the GradIreland Higher Education Awards. It has just been shortlisted for the same award for 2020 with the winner to be announced later this month. The diploma is open to both lawyersandsuitablyqualifiedavia- tion professionalswith experience in the aviation industry or those who have successfully completed

Expert faculty on the Law Society’s Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance

the LawSocietyDiplomaCentre’s Certificate inAviation Leasing and Finance. Some of the key things that makethisdiplomacoursestandout are the access to experts it grants and its flexible online learning op- tions.Inadditiontobeingtaughtby some of themost noted experts in thefield,allstudentsonthiscourse participate inacareerpanel,during which students get expert advice from industry professionals about howtoentertheaviation industryor how to successfullymove sectors within the aviation industry. Key topics covered on the course include the core legal and practical issues relating to

the lease/purchase of aircraft, fi- nancing aviation transactions and comprehensive coverage of essential aspects of those trans- actions, such as regulation, lease technical issues, engine leasing and repossession. Applications are now being accepted for the Diploma in Avi- ation Leasing and Finance which commences January 30, 2020.

For more information or to apply, contact Claire O’Mahony, solicitor, course leader at c.omahony@lawsociety.ie, quoting 'SBP' in the subject line, or go to lawsociety.ie/Diplomas and follow the links to Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance

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