Business jet financing group Global Jet Capital is pressing ahead with its plan to strengthen its team around the world, with two senior appointments announced at this week’s ABACE show in Shanghai. Ed Barnes has been named as the U.S.-based group’s chief financial officer, while David Henderson is its new managing director for Asia sales.
Barnes was formerly CFO at JetBlue Airways and also has served on the board of aircraft leasing group Jetscape. Henderson, who will report to the U.S.-based company’s EMEA and APAC head of sales Robert Gates, was formerly head of GE Capital’s Asia Corporate Aviation Business, based in Hong Kong. He also has served as an aviation finance consultant to the Asian Sky Group, and has particular expertise in market conditions in China, India, southeast Asia and Australasia.
According to Global Jet Capital, the current Asia-Pacific fleet of business aircraft is more weighted toward large jets (constituting 37 percent of the regional total) than the global average (32 percent). The group estimates that around 225 medium-size and heavy business jets are acquired outside the U.S. each year, requiring around $7.25 billion in financing.
Prospects for financing aircraft transactions around the world have prompted the company to recruit 13 loan origination professionals, most of whom will be based outside the U.S. It is looking to add staff in Hong Kong, Dubai, London, continental Europe and Latin America.
In January, Global Jet Capital completed the acquisition of the aircraft lease and loan portfolio of GE Capital Corporate Aircraft in the Americas, representing approximately $2.5 billion of net assets. The complicated process has involved transferring ownership of around 350 aircraft registered in various countries. Management of the group was recently bolstered by the appointment of former GE Capital Corporate Aircraft president Dave Labrozzi to the new position of chief operating officer.
Labrozzi told AIN that Global Jet Capital will have a sharp focus on offering leases to international business jet owners. “The industry is taking a bit of a breather, but it hasn’t dropped off the face of the earth,” he commented. “People are taking more time [in considering aircraft purchases] and are being more thoughtful about how the asset will be used and about fleet planning.”
According to Labrozzi, the challenges posed by conducting aircraft transactions in China would be a deterrent to a conventional bank, but to Global Jet Capital they represent a chance to prove the worth of their expertise. “You have to be very thoughtful in dealing with registration issues and financing requirements there but it doesn’t bother us; it’s hard work but the opportunity is there and though China has slowed a bit there is still massive potential,” he concluded.