Aviation sector worth more than €500m to Irish economy

Irish Aviation Industry | Hiring | Ardlinn
Over 50% of the leased airplanes operating in any part of the world have a connection to Ireland.

Ireland’s emergence as a central hub for the aviation industry is not a 21st century phenomenon, rather, it has been punching well above its weight globally for over 40 years.

Before Ryanair, there was Aer Lingus, and before that, there was Guinness Peat Aviation, or GPA as it was commonly known before its demise in the 1990s.

How air companies have acquired aircraft across this time period has altered significantly. Leasing activities on aircraft have increased globally from 2% (of total commercial aircraft use) in 1980 to more than 50% in 2016.

Now, in 2018, over 50% of the leased airplanes operating in any part of the world have a connection to Ireland with most of the global commercial aircraft leasing companies having a presence in Ireland (Dublin or Shannon).

Companies such as Aercap, Avolon and Gecas are all flying high in the sector and have very ambitious plans to increase assets and enhance market share in the coming years.

Aircraft leasing is now worth more than €500m to the Irish economy and supports almost 5,000 jobs, according to a report by accountants PWC out earlier this year. In addition, Ireland hosts the headquarters or EMEA operations of 14 of the top 15 major aviation leasing companies. Quite a feat.

This burgeoning sector is even influencing our third level education courses, with a new Postgraduate Diploma in Aviation Finance and Leasing, an MBA in Aviation Management Stream, and an Aviation Future Leaders programme which will help solidify the country’s future in the aviation industry.

This all raises the question, why does a small country on the edge of Europe have such a successful aviation industry?

Why Ireland’s Aviation sector is soaring

Undoubtedly, our tax structure, notably our low corporate taxation rate of 12.5% in addition to minimum capital requirements for Irish companies (meaning that the companies can be wholly debt based), presents huge incentives for investment in this sector.

We also have the expertise. Irish people have shown themselves to be skilled, knowledgeable, experienced and innovative in this sector over the decades and this has played a very significant role in the industry’s success.

For anyone with an interest in aviation, it is worth noting that the final quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019 will see two landmark industry events coming to our shores. The prestigious ‘Aircraft Economic Life Summit’ will be coming to the Gibson Hotel, Dublin on the 20th of November whilst the globally focused ‘Airline Economic Growth Frontiers’ event will be coming to the Shelbourne 20-23rd January.

Sean Phelan, Director at Business Strategy firm QCD Solutions recently stated that “the world fleet of commercial aircraft is forecast to nearly double to 40,000 aircraft by 2036, with a projected value of $5.5trn.”

Clearly, this bodes well for Ireland, which looks well positioned to benefit from the success of this formidable global sector.

At Ardlinn we have been fortunate to place a number of C-level candidates in this sector. We look forward to playing our role in ensuring the aviation sector continues to secure the talent required to maintain growth and flourish for the good of the Irish economy.

For further information on the aviation companies we work with nationally and internationally & have helped to grow get in touch today with Hazel O’Reilly in Ardlinn confidentially at

Hazel would love to hear from you if you are:

  • An aviation company looking for top talent & assistance on helping build out and strengthen your team.
  • Working in the aviation sector and looking for your next challenge or to hear what the market is like.

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