Aircraft Finance & Leasing

ManU10's picture
Rank: Monkey | 37

Does anyone have any insight into careers within aircraft leasing? What is the typical career path, salary, exit opps, main players, etc.? I haven't been able to find much information due to it being such a niche industry. Would an aircraft appraiser (e.g. ASCEND) be a good place to start?

Comments (37)

Dec 29, 2015

Interested in this as well...

Keep it together and you will go far..

Nov 2, 2016

Bump

Nov 2, 2016

Sorry, mtoure80. I don't have any insight regarding your question, but I'm actually putting together a prospect list for some phenom 100 jets. Do you know any good aviation financing sources aside from the groups you mentioned above? Thanks in advance if you do.

Nov 2, 2016

Aircastle?

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Nov 2, 2016

Anyone...?

Nov 2, 2016

mtoure80, I have a couple reference points if you are interested. PM me

Nov 2, 2016

Not an expert on breaking into the field, but I've made some profitable investments in aircraft leasing. I would recommend looking at the public companies -- reading all of their filings, etc. -- to try to get a handle on as much as possible about the business. After that, it's probably all networking to get in the door somewhere. There's no harm in cold calling people on the finance side of such companies to ask for informational phone calls or meetings.

Two that come to mind are Aircastle (AYR) and Willis Lease Finance (WLFC).

Nov 2, 2016
Ravenous:

Not an expert on breaking into the field, but I've made some profitable investments in aircraft leasing. I would recommend looking at the public companies -- reading all of their filings, etc. -- to try to get a handle on as much as possible about the business. After that, it's probably all networking to get in the door somewhere. There's no harm in cold calling people on the finance side of such companies to ask for informational phone calls or meetings.

Two that come to mind are Aircastle (AYR) and Willis Lease Finance (WLFC).

How did you invest in aircraft leasing? Did you just invest in one of the companies, were you a lessee, etc...?

Just curious because I've never heard anyone say they individually made money on aircraft leasing.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Nov 2, 2016

Have you tried GECAS yet? Historically GE Capital has made a point of hiring some guys with technical/engineering backgrounds rather than just people from finance. Just make sure you tell them that working at GE is your dream job...

Nov 2, 2016

There aren't that many players in the space compared to a lot of other types of finance, which is both good and bad for you. ILFC (AIG sub), GE Cap, and CIT are definitely the gorillas in the room though CIT's transport balance sheet has shrunk a lot. Boeing itself has a leasing division as well; do you have any contacts there you could reach out to?

If you can't find your way into a leasing group directly, you might consider looking at one of the tangible asset-focused appraisal shops that do the valuations for the various leasors/EETC issuers etc. There are a number that focus specifically on aircraft.

Nov 2, 2016

Try Mizuho, Mitsubishi Corporation and ORIX Corporation. As well, I would look into funds that specialize in aircraft financing (there are a few).

Nov 2, 2016

You can also look into securitization market / specialized DCM groups for EETCs which are widely used by US majors (and slowly becoming attractive again internationally).

On financing side (this might be less relevant for domestic US market) you had European banks dominate but a lot of them have been exiting this sector. SMBC just purchased the RBS (one of the top player just a few years ago) aircraft portfolio for example so they seem to be stepping in to fill the void. Also, you have ECA financing (US Exim and Hermes) and commercial banks that fund the covered facilities (again traditionally European banks but mostly Japanese but also US banks these days due to lower USD funding costs).

    • 1
Nov 2, 2016

Thank you for the feedback guys!! I really appreciate it...

To be honest, right now my best shot of getting into the leasing side is with GECAS. I have some pretty strong contacts there, but they aren't hiring in the near future. I will keep pressing them though.
I've tried CIT, ILFC, Guggenheim aviation partners, AWAS (have a good contact there, but it would be for placement at GECAS), SkyWorks Capital but my lack of experience in Finance has been a problem.

So i'm doing a few things to remedy the situation.
1. Since my MBA is light on quant, I'm going to do the WSO Financial Modeling Bootcamp (Anyone have experience with this Seminar??)
2. Networking with those in the field to learn more about the business and getting in touch w/ aircraft finance experts to see if they are willing to mentor me.
3. Figuring out what an option #2 could be ( working for a bank, or maybe even do international relations for a big OEM and infiltrate from there).

I really appreciate your input!
Crossing over into finance (w/o experience) has been a bear for me

Nov 2, 2016

Some of the banks I've identified who do a lot of aircraft financing are Credit Suisse, BNP, and Credit Agricole...

Can anyone speak to the lifestyle of those in the aircraft leasing / finance industry??

Nov 2, 2016
mtoure80:

Some of the banks I've identified who do a lot of aircraft financing are Credit Suisse, BNP, and Credit Agricole...

Can anyone speak to the lifestyle of those in the aircraft leasing / finance industry??

If its an EU domiciled bank, I would be more worried about it shutting up shop. Quite a few aircraft leasing units have been sold over the last year or two.

Nov 2, 2016

^^ Indeed... But right now I really want the experience!

Nov 2, 2016

Credit Agricole are slowing down their operation, selling off their portfolio.

Nov 2, 2016

Have you had any luck? I recently got an internship from a commercial aircraft finance firm myself. This is my sophomore summer and I know I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself but am curious of where this could lead?

Nov 2, 2016

The aircraft finance market is fragmented between the US investment banks who are active in the capital markets (EETCs/ABS which are aircraft backed securitizations and currently unsecured bonds to lessors), European banks who have dominated the market the past 10-15 years and nowadays regional banks who generally tend to focus on their home region. Over the last few years, the biggest financiers have been the export credit agencies (Exim for Boeing and European ECA's for Airbus) not using their own balance sheet but giving guarantees.

The other segment of the market is the leasing companies who today own about 1/3 of the global fleet. The biggest players are already mentioned above. The leasing companies either finance internally (if owned by a large parent) or through capital markets/commercial banks.

Somewhat surprising given the volume that needs to be financed per annum, but it's quite a small industry as far as the number of players involved.

Nov 2, 2016

@GeneralThade... No luck just yet.
I'd be curious to know what your experience at the firm is like and if you enjoy your time there.

@ATO and others... what would you recommend as a mid-step to get into the industry?
I'm thinking of consulting at a place like Seabury or SH&E.
Someone recommended an Investor Relations position for an IB to raise capital in the Aerospace sector. The individual recommended it because raising capital is an important skill to have in the aircraft leasing industry. The same person suggested that EXIM would be a bit boring...

Nov 2, 2016

@ATO... spot on. About the industry size, the biggest event in Dublin is just a few thousand people and that's everyone from financing to sales to design engineers etc.

@mtoure80...I'll definitely PM you once I get further into it.

Understanding that this was my first experience in finance, I was advised that unless I truly enjoy the aircraft space that I should be less specialized and get a spot in perhaps an industrials group for broader exposure. Like ATO commented, it's a niche industry.

Nov 2, 2016

Just to offer some color and add to what some of the other commentators have mentioned, it is indeed a very niche space (only a handful of players, relatively esoteric and illiquid asset class, capital intensive, etc).

That being said, leasing companies own close to 40% all aircraft in service, and will grow that number going forward. It's a highly lucrative business since it's light on human capital, however that also means there are few spaces available for those looking to get a foot in the door.

I'll speak a bit about the lifestyle since OP asked--hours will depend on what role you take on, but assuming you are on the deal team, you should expect some variability depending on how far along a deal is. The deal structurers can expect to be on the road quite a bit to attract interest in planes, pricing will have a heavier work load just because they are involved in the pricing of any and every possible deal scenario, capital markets will be involved to figure out financing if needed, and credit guys will close the deal. For the hours worked (no where near banking hours), deal team members are paid very well (bonus 50-100%+ depending on performance for the year).

It's a rewarding career for the long term if you love the asset and traveling, and you will get paid handsomely to boot. For the short term, its a great way to see the world, work closely with executive management teams, and play a large role in cross-border transactions (how many business school applicants can say that?).

    • 1
Nov 2, 2016

ggnowad... Thanks for the write up!
I appreciate it!!
I just want to get into the industry... but I think that will take a good deal of luck

Nov 2, 2016

bump....

Hire me plz!! I'm ready to leave the gov!! ahh the politics!

Nov 2, 2016

Bumping this thread...

Does anyone know of related opportunities available?

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Nov 2, 2016

Hi All,
First of all, I would say it's a nice and very informative discussion have been going on.
I have completed my engineering from Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering last year.And now I am planning to apply for Masters in UCD Aviation Finance program. So, some of the question comes in writing SOP is
1. why you want to pursue this course.
2. Why should i select engineering background students for Aviation Finance course.

Now I want help from all of you to please provide some important points that would make my SOP luks good and shows my strong interest in this program. Although I have points but taking suggestions from all experienced professionals would make my chance better.

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Mar 14, 2018

Hey looking if anyone has any updated info on Aircraft Leasing and Financing. Companies like GECAS and Aercap. Looking to get into this niche field, currently do aircraft financing on a VERY small scale. Anyone around here work in the space? Any constructive info or comments would be appreciated,
Thanks

Nov 2, 2016

Gents,
First of all Happy New Year!
May 2019 bring lots of success and happiness to all.

My quest has been progressing. I am now in the field, but working for an airline buying / selling / leasing aircraft. It's been a great learning experience for me, but at this stage i'd like to sharpen my skills a bit. While I did do an MBA, it was an executive program and lacked the content to develop financial analysis and modeling skills. I've learned a bit on my own, but i'd love a course / program that would teach the fundamentals of proper financial analysis and modeling.

In essence, I'd like to use it to evaluate deals, potential risks of leasing to a particular company, and being able to build a model in excel to show it all.

I've seen the WSO program... do you think it's the best out there?

Nov 2, 2016

PM me if you're still interested. I have quite a bit more insight about it all these days.

Jan 22, 2019

Either as a PM or a public post for everyone's benefit, would love to hear more about career progression in working at a lessor vs. an airline, typical traveling hours (assuming more for lessor and not much for airline?), and the comp structure, especially on the lessor's side (typical salary, base/bonus split, co-invest options, etc.) On a side note, I've also always been curious if you would get any traveling perks for being on the lessor's side. I'm guessing no, but maybe for bigger guys (GECAS, AirCap, Avolon, etc.)? Thanks in advance!

    • 1
Apr 1, 2019

I have been very fortunate to be offered a job at an aircraft leasing PE fund recently and look forward to being a resource to the site in the future!

Apr 10, 2019

I'm also in the process of getting to the door. Had couple interviews alredy with major lessors. Hopefully by next year...

Apr 19, 2019
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Apr 19, 2019