Conferences and Speeches

Growth Frontiers Global Dublin

Sunday, January 15, 2023 {ml-event-to} Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Morgan Lewis is proud to sponsor Airline Economics’ Growth Frontiers Global Dublin conference—one of the largest meeting places for participants in the global aviation industry. Partner Sidanth Rajagopal spoke during a “Fireside Chat,” and partner James Bradley spoke during the “JOL & JOLCO Panel.”

  1. Day 1 Recap
  2. Day 2 Recap
  3. Day 3 Recap
 

Day 1 of Growth Frontiers Global Conference

Following the arrival of most delegates over the weekend, Monday, January 17 was the first official day of the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Global Dublin 2023 conference which brings together over 4,000 professionals from all corners of the globe. It has been great to see the room filled to the walls with industry participants eager to catch up and get underway with the upcoming schedule.

The day took off with speed and excitement, with the opening talk setting the scene for the conference. The keynote speech dove into airline recovery post pandemic and the challenges ahead in 2023, including analysis on the following:

  • Production and deliveries of new aircraft continuing to be constrained, with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) behind delivery schedules.
  • Potential shortfall of capital to fund new aircraft, although this is increasing as airlines go back into the black.
  • Impact of increasing borrowing costs and demand on leasing rates.

Looking forward, the outlook for the industry was very positive—with the aviation market continuing to strengthen, especially with the resumption of travel in China and its impact on the Asia-Pacific market and wider global aviation industry. The International Air Transport Association is predicting that airlines will return to profitability in 2023 after a few challenging years.

This was followed by a number of insightful sessions throughout the day that focused on sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG), treasury, asset management, lessor finance, and investment. A wide and yet interconnected range of key obstacles and new opportunities were highlighted.

Before long, we were nearing the end of the day and aviation partner, Sidanth Rajagopal took the stage for a fireside chat to discuss the exciting developments in aviation finance with a focus on the MENA region. The discussion covered a lot of ground ranging from the importance of ESG and more fuel-efficient aircraft to the secondary market as a means to diversify portfolios, as well as the commitment to diversity hiring in the aviation space.

With Day 1 coming to a close, we headed to a networking reception for delegates hosted by Morgan Lewis.

 

DAY 2 OF GROWTH FRONTIERS GLOBAL CONFERENCE

The morning of Day 2 focused on finance, with sessions on supported finance in Europe and the Americas, banking, as well as capital markets. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability were heavy on the agenda for each session. The keynote speaker explored synthetic fuels as an alternative to conventional jet fuel as a means of achieving the aviation industry’s goal of net zero by 2050. The following advantages of synthetic fuel were described:

  • The technology is fully scalable
  • It is considered a drop-in solution, meaning no modifications to existing engines or infrastructure are needed
  • It is 100% fossil fuel free

The afternoon kicked off with an interesting engine investment, management, and leasing panel that forecasted a strong year ahead and significant optimism about the growth of the sector. This was followed by a gripping manufacturer’s panel discussion on the issues affecting manufacturers’ ability to deliver new aircraft on schedule and their plans for achieving net zero by 2050.

Complementary to Day 1, today we continued to see a showcase of growing and emerging trends across the aviation finance industry with a general sentiment of a bright year ahead. This was certainly welcome news amid participants. 

 

DAY 3 OF GROWTH FRONTIERS GLOBAL CONFERENCE

The third and final day got started with a number of speaker panels considering the opportunities and challenges facing the aviation industry in 2023, including the impact of global inflationary pressure on the leasing market, the disparity in appraisal rates and the macroeconomic outlook. Revisiting what has been a theme of the conference, the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) panel considered the growing importance of ESG in the aviation industry, and in particular the need to decarbonize air travel. The panel also considered the viability and scalability of SAF in helping the industry achieve its goal of net zero by 2050. 

The morning tailed off with panels on the leasing and asset management and regional aviation market. In the afternoon, Morgan Lewis partner James Bradley was invited to join the stage for an interesting panel discussion on Japanese Operating Leases (JOL) and Japanese Operating Leases with Call Option (JOLCO) products, which saw a resurgence in 2022, and which are expected to be increasingly attractive sources of financing in the year ahead.  

As concluding remarks were made and the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Global Dublin 2023 conference drew to a close, we all took a moment to reflect on the past few days. It has been a great event from start to finish. After what has been a tough couple of years for the industry, it was good to see the conference return to its usual slot of January and the streets of Dublin once again filled with industry professionals from across the globe. Morgan Lewis is proud to sponsor the 2023 conference and we have relished the opportunity to meet with clients, partners, and friends.