Aviation Continues to Grapple with Engine Challenges: Chance Fowler on ELTF Panel

MIAMI – February 2024 – Chance Fowler, Aquila Air Capital’s VP of Portfolio Management, joined the panelists of Aviation Week Network’s Engine Leasing, Trading & Finance Americas (ELTF) conference in Miami to discuss the challenges facing OEMs as they struggle to produce enough engines to meet demand, while market participants are grappling with increased prices for new engines and rising maintenance costs for the older engines that must stay in service.

Excerpt from Aviation Week article:

[…] Fowler said a major challenge his private equity firm faces today is the uncertainty around shop visit turnaround times. “If something is going to take longer [and the length of time is known] and it costs more, that’s fine, we can underwrite that, but if you have a shop visit that’s supposed to take six months that ends up taking over year a year, it’s hard for us to explain to our shareholders” why such an investment should be made.

Fowler said that the arrival of a new market entrant in the aircraft engine sector “would be a welcome development.”

“Competition is good,” he added. […]

Read the full story on Aviation Week

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Engine Values Rise on Supply Constraints: Cirium Interview with Al Wood

DUBLIN – February 2024 – Against the backdrop of this year’s Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dublin conference, Cirium’s Oliver Clark spoke with Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer, about his personal perspective on how the market dynamics in the engine leasing business had shifted in recent times.

Excerpt:

[…] Aquila Air Capital chief executive Al Wood tells Cirium that the lack of supply is driving pricing for serviceable engines.

The company’s portfolio consists of a combination of spare engines and aircraft on lease across the world. Aquila typically focuses on older engines, such as the GE Aerospace CF6, PW4000 and PW2000.

Wood says that since 2021 owners of certain engine types can expect a premium somewhere north of a 30% on pricing increases from 2021 to today.

“We don’t always like to admit it, but a 20-year old aeroplane is a really large engine stand, all the value is in the engines. So, you have to be a very engine savvy investor to do well on that side of the market.

“I can lease the two engines off the aeroplane for more than I can lease the whole aeroplane for today.”

Woods partnered with $85 billion private equity fund Warburg Pincus to launch Aquila in 2021. The initial investment thesis at the time was focused on pricing dislocation amid Covid.

“Especially on the back-end of the market, there was a lot of available material, there is a lot available aircraft, lots of spare engines, etc. and we could take those fleets, buy them at scale, and repurpose them really for the emerging freighter market.”

MRO CHALLENGES

Aquila’s Wood says that complexities of the engine MRO market – be it related to labour, parts supply and “unprecedented price increases that we’ve seen on piece parts” – are making serviceable engines more attractive.

“The largest leading indicator for my business is MRO. So, if something goes wrong in the engine MRO world, that’s when people call us for spare engines.

“Right now, we get 50 calls a day, and our portfolio is at 100% utilisation. Having done this for 30 years, there is not a lot of times I could say my portfolio was at 100% utilisation.

“Previously when we bought an engine it would have taken me 90 days to place that engine with a good credit. I’ve got a contracted lease on it before I buy it in today’s world. So, it’s got a home the day it shows up on our dock.”

Wood notes that many skilled employees left the OEMs and MRO shops amid Covid and because many have not returned “tribal knowledge has left our industry.

“You are talking about an incredibly skilled labour force that those folks have to rebuild. And that’s not a small task. So, when you look at all that perfect storm, no question demand is high, no question pricings [are] the highest I’ve ever seen in my career, I do not see a material change downward. For a number of years, this is not a problem that will fix itself in 12 months,” he says, adding: “it’s just math.”

“The engine OEMs will always have an incentive to maintain their own products. They all have that capability. Frankly, they’re very good at it, especially for that first 10-year teething period.

“There is airworthiness bulletins, there’s upgrades, there’s always the teething processes of a new engine. And whether it’s Rolls-Royce, GE, Pratt, CFMI, they are all incentivised to keep that business as long as they can. I don’t see that as a major inhibitor to supply in the space, though, we have them calling us for spare engines just as much as we do the airlines. Everyone is in need of thrust in today’s world.” […]

Read the full story on Cirium

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Adds Eoin Connaughton to Commercial Analysis and Pricing Team

DUBLIN – January 29, 2024 – Against the backdrop of this year’s Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dublin conference, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading lessor focused on end-of-life solutions, announced the addition of a new member to its Commercial Analysis and Pricing team, Eoin Connaughton as AVP, Commercial Analysis and Pricing. 

Connaughton will be based out of the company’s Irish office, focusing on the analysis, structuring, and pricing of transactions for various aircraft and engine types in collaboration with the Commercial and Origination teams. 

“We are thrilled to be adding Eoin to our expanding global team, as we continue to execute on our strategy to be a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, while zeroing in on solutions to enhance the economic returns of transactions,” says Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer. 

Connaughton joins Aquila from SMBC Aviation Capital (“SMBC”), where most recently he served as VP, Commercial Analysis, working closely with the Trading team to identify and calculate the pricing of aircraft for sale and to advance the overall Trading strategy. He also assisted the Technical, Finance, Risk, and Legal teams to ensure all transactions were appropriately structured, accurately priced, and completed in a timely fashion. Prior to SMBC, he was Business Analyst at Goshawk Aviation, where he acted as Functional Lead for all trading and corporate finance transactions and opportunities. Connaughton started his aviation finance career with Standard Chartered Bank as an analyst.

“I am delighted to have recently joined Aquila Air Capital. This is a great opportunity for me to join at such a pivotal point in the company’s expansion and growth. I am excited to be able to bring my extensive knowledge and skillset to assist in the expansion of the current leasing and trading platform,” commented Eoin Connaughton as AVP, Aquila Air Capital’s Commercial Analysis and Pricing. 

Connaughton received a diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance from the Law Society of Ire-land, a professional diploma in Data Analytics from University College Dublin, and a diploma in Actuarial Techniques, including his designation as Associate Actuary and certificate in Finance and Investments, from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Science degree from University College Dublin. Connaughton serves on the Board of Directors and Credit Committee of Naomh Breandan Credit Union’s Loughrea Branch.

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Recruits Lisa Cardinali as Technical Records Director

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading specialty aviation finance platform, announced today the appointment of Lisa Cardinali as Technical Records Director.

“We warmly welcome Lisa to Aquila and look forward to applying her extensive background in technical records management as well as aircraft inspections and maintenance, documentation, regulatory compliance, and reporting. She will greatly benefit our technical operations and make meaningful contributions to the implementation of our technical department’s policies, procedures, and controls,” said Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer. 

Lisa joined Aquila from Arizona-based ITS, where she most recently held the role of Quality and Technical Records Manager. Since 2017, Lisa has also been the owner of The Records Engine LLC, a consulting practice focused on providing aviation clients with technical record management services for their aircraft, engine, APU, and landing gear-related requirements. Prior to that, she was Quality Assurance Manager at AvAir and Senior Analyst at AeroTurbine, Inc. Lisa started her aviation career at United Parcel Service as UPS Aircraft Records Supervisor. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Training and Development from the University of Louisville.  

“I am looking forward to my new role with Aquila, where I can utilize my extensive knowledge and background in the aviation industry to help provide meaningful solutions for lease management and technical oversight,” commented Cardinali.

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Expands Team with Addition of Matthew White as Vice President of Originations

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading specialty aviation finance platform, announced today the addition of a new member to its transaction and origination team, Matthew White as Vice President of Originations. 

White, who will be based out of the company’s Dublin office, will focus on the origination and execution of leasing, sales and trading opportunities for a wide range of aircraft and engine types in collaboration with clients in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. 

“We are very pleased to welcome Matthew to our team at an exciting time in our accelerating growth journey,” says Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer. “With over a decade of experience, specializing in aircraft and engine leasing across a large and diverse portfolio of aviation assets, Matthew’s background is a perfect fit for our fast-growing platform.”

White joins Aquila from AerSale Aviation Limited, where he spent 11 years, serving most recently as Vice President – Leasing & Trading and previously as Senior Director Engine Trading. Prior to that, he was Sales & Lease Placement Executive at ORIX Corporation. He started his aviation career at Jetbird. 

“I am delighted and excited to join Aquila and I am looking forward to working with the wider Aquila team to continue to expand the current leasing and trading platform,” says Matthew White, Aquila Air Capital’s Vice President of Originations.

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Sponsors Mentee Reception at ISTAT Americas 2023 San Diego

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading specialty aviation finance platform, announced today that the company was the exclusive sponsor of the ISTAT Foundation’s Mentorship Program reception at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (“ISTAT”) Americas 2023 conference in San Diego, California. 

During the reception, ISTAT members shared their invaluable experiences and insights with students who desire to enhance their networking skills, learn more about the aviation industry, and receive guidance on their educational and career direction.

“At Aquila, we are big advocates for industry-wide efforts to promote the advancement of and investment in future generations of leaders in our aviation community. We were very pleased to provide financial support for this year’s mentorship program reception and serve as mentors. We congratulate the ISTAT Foundation on their continued success in helping the next generation of aviation finance executives make their dreams a reality,” commented Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer. 

Wood served as a mentor at this year’s conference, coaching Tyler Warner who is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Business Analytics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

“I’m so glad to have attended ISTAT Americas 2023. The experience is unparalleled with its unique combination of deal-making, mentorships, and networking opportunities. I want to personally give a shout-out to our ISTAT Foundation sponsor and my personal mentor Al Wood. The mood and intensity that first-time ISTAT attendees felt was incredible,” said Tyler Warner. 

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Appoints Chance Fowler Vice President, Portfolio Management

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading specialty aviation finance platform, announced today the appointment of Chance Fowler as Vice President, Portfolio Management. 

In his new role, Fowler oversees optimizing the performance of our growing portfolio of 100+ aircraft and engine assets, serving 20+ customers globally and comprising $300 million in investments. He also will be responsible for originating new investment and leasing opportunities while expanding Aquila’s relationships with current customers and partners.

“Chance is joining our team at a very exciting time as we accelerate efforts to build out our fast-growing platform, which has enjoyed an impressively positive response from industry partners,” emphasized Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer. “With his investment background and capital markets experience, Chance will be a great addition to our team, further propelling new investment and leasing opportunities for our platform.” 

Previously, Fowler served at Vx Capital Partners, most recently as Vice President of Aircraft Marketing. His first position was an investment analyst. Prior to Vx, he was a financial analyst at Dallas-based Trinity Industries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. He also completed a graduate diploma at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy. Fowler is an FAA-rated private pilot. 

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Enlists Martin Ryan to Lead Financial Planning & Analysis

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading specialty aviation finance platform, announced today that the company appointed Martin Ryan as Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis. 

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Martin to our growing team and look forward to leveraging his background and experience in the aviation finance industry to conduct financial planning and analysis for our growing specialty finance platform,” commented Al Wood, Aquila Air Capital’s Chief Executive Officer.

Ryan joins Aquila from AMCK Aviation, where over the past five years he served in various risk-related roles, including most recently as Vice President of Risk. Prior to AMCK Aviation, Ryan was a financial accounting for Irish lessor Accipiter Holdings. He started his analytical career in aviation at KPMG Ireland as Senior Associate. He is a CFA certification holder and is registered as a chartered accountant in Ireland. Ryan graduated the University of Limerick with a degree in Business Studies, Accounting & Finance. 

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Announces Leadership Appointments

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a specialty finance platform focused on commercial aerospace, today announced the appointment of Al Wood as CEO of the company. In addition, Peter Siawjoins Aquila as Head of Originations and Leasing, APAC. Keith Whittaker, Managing Partner of Kepler Hill Capital, will join Aquila’s Board of Directors. The leadership appointments establish an executive team focused on building the Aquila Air Capital portfolio, with deep experience in aviation and a strong network for sourcing strategic opportunities in asset leasing and financing.

Aquila Air Capital is a specialty finance platform focused on providing asset financing in partnership with industry participants as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft, engines and other aviation equipment. Leveraging over 50 years of collective experience in aviation among its leadership team, the company provides comprehensive solutions to asset buyers, sellers and operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs.

Al Wood brings over 25 years of experience in the aerospace industry to Aquila Air Capital, most recently serving as CFO of Boeing Commercial Services, a $9 billion business unit where he focused on increasing return on invested capital, streamlining the product and services portfolio, and reducing working capital requirements. He previously served as Head of M&A, Boeing Global Services and was the Chief Commercial Officer at AeroTurbine Inc, a subsidiary of AerCap Inc., the largest commercial aircraft lessor.

“As the aerospace industry navigates a complex and rapidly evolving environment, I believe that Aquila Air Capital can capitalize on significant growth opportunities, while providing world-class customer support and flexible capital solutions to airlines, lessors and OEMs around the world. With the addition of Peter to our team, I believe we will build a strong portfolio of assets and partnerships, particularly in Asia,” said Al Wood, CEO, Aquila Air Capital. “I look forward to leading the Aquila team and building its foundation through exciting lease transactions, partnerships and innovative solutions for our customers.”

Peter Siaw most recently served as a Managing Director and Vice President, Commercial APAC at Aero Capital Solutions. He previously was SVP of International Strategic Development at AeroTurbine and Managing Director of Aercap Singapore Pty Ltd.

“There is a strong opportunity to source through our network and ultimately build a portfolio of desirable assets for our clients. We are excited by the gradual reopening of borders and recovery of international flights in the APAC region. As airlines emerge from lockdown and restart international operations, there will be the need to revisit their fleet development plans and right size their current fleets to be positioned for future growth. We are well-positioned to offer unburdened fleet exit solutions to assist the airline industry with their asset realignment,” said Peter Siaw, Head of Originations and Leasing, APAC. “I am excited to join Al and the Aquila Air Capital team and look forward to scaling the company and building a comprehensive platform of aviation solutions and partnerships.”

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com

Aquila Air Capital Signs Operating Leases for Three 757-200PCFs with Kenyan Astral Airlines

Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”), a leading specialty aviation finance platform, announced today that the company signed operating lease agreements for a fleet of three Boeing 757-200PCFs with Kenya-based Astral Airlines (Astral”). 

The aircraft are expected to be delivered to Astral starting in November 2021, upon completion of their scheduled maintenance. Astral will become the largest B757F operator in the Middle East & Africa. 

“We are delighted to bring on Astral Airlines as a customer. At Aquila, we are uniquely focused on providing cost-effective and flexible solutions for our customers to manage through these unprecedented times. We look forward to this being the beginning to a long-term relationship with Astral to help facilitate their future growth,” said Al Wood, Chief Executive Officer of Aquila Air Capital.

“We are excited to enter into a lease agreement for three B757-200F aircraft from Aquila Air Capital and SkyExec Capital Jets. The aircraft will take over the Nairobi – Johannesburg and Nairobi – Dubai scheduled service with increased frequency for our clients in addition to new scheduled routes to and within Africa and Middle East in 2022. It will also offer point-to-point solutions for COVID-19 vaccines (from India / UAE to Africa) in addition to E-commerce shipments to new markets,” commented Astral’s Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gadhia. 

“The B757-200F will complement the Astral fleet with new and efficient options to and within its existing scheduled and charter freighter network, which comprises of over 50 destinations in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia,” added Astral’s Commercial Director in UAE, Satvir Kalsi.

About Aquila Air Capital

Founded in 2021, Aquila Air Capital (“Aquila”) is a specialty finance platform focused on providing aviation asset financing, as well as purchasing and leasing aircraft and engines. Led by a management team with decades of experience in the aerospace and aviation industries, Aquila is a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs. www.AquilaAirCapital.com