Ireland: “the Centre of the Global Aviation Industry” – How to Approach as a Finance Professional

This month, Dublin hosted The Aviation Finance Conference 2019. According to the Irish Aviation Authority, Ireland is “the Centre of the Global Aviation Industry” and this is no understatement, particularly when it comes to Aviation Finance.


  • Over 60% of all aircraft’s leased globally are managed by Irish-based leasing companies.
  • 14 of the top 15 aviation leasing companies worldwide are headquartered in Ireland.
  • More than half of the world’s leased aircraft’s are managed out of Ireland.


Ireland’s aviation history is deep-rooted – the world’s first transatlantic flight landed here in 1919. The foundations of the Aircraft Leasing industry were established in Ireland with the success in the 70’s & 80’s of Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA).


Some of the key characteristics of the success of the industry here in Ireland are as follows:


  • Excellent market knowledge – Ireland has for decades been a world leader in global aviation. As an Island nation strategically situated between Europe and North America, our location allows us visibility and access into dominant global aviation markets.
  • Exceptional talent pool – industry specific third-level courses are available. Many lessors hire graduates and experienced talent who have an educational background in the sector. There are a number of courses now on offer from various colleges and industry bodies that have responded to the growth of the sector. DCU offers a BSC in Aviation Management and an MSc in Management (Aviation Leadership). UCD offers the only MSc Aviation Finance degree in Europe; 1 of only 2 worldwide.
  • Favourable prevailing corporate tax regime and extensive taxation treaty network


Entering the World of Aviation Finance

The growth in the industry, and candidate interest in the sector continues to grow steadily. While typically somewhat cyclical, industry experts such as Boeing is predicting significant growth in leasing over the next 20 years – much of which will be leased from Ireland. This will continue to provide opportunities for candidates from technical (i.e. engineering & sales) and finance (accounting, credit, treasury and contracts management) backgrounds.


While in many cases, and especially for technical positions, prior experience is essential, in other cases (i.e. finance, etc) aviation leasing companies do not necessarily look for prior aviation experience.


Often leasing businesses will look for Big 4 experience – Accountants are, generally speaking, best-placed to break into Aviation Finance. It is common for accountants to take financial accounting, commercial analysis, audit and treasury and tax roles with aircraft leasing companies as it is a credible entry route to the sector.


Those coming from an Investment Banking/Corporate Finance background may find themselves working in fundraising, deal structuring or credit where a strong technical analysis and commercial skillset are critical.


Tax professionals are consistently in demand from Aircraft Lessors – given complex cross border tax arrangements typically involved in Aviation deals.


Thinking of a career in Aviation Finance?

FK International has an outstanding track record of working with top aircraft lessors and asset managers over many years. We understand the sector, and have helped many finance candidates to transition to a new and exciting role in Aviation.


Here are some examples of recent roles we have worked on:

  1. Head of Institutional Fundraising – Top 10 Lessor
  2. Head of FP&A – Top 10 Lessor
  3. Financial Accountant – Airline
  4. Credit Manager – Aircraft Asset Manager
  5. Tax Manager – Lessor


If this is interesting, please reach out to us for a confidential discussion.

Ger Buckley

COO, FK International

01 668 8060


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