Category: Industry Events

Airline Economics 40 under 40 2020 & Mentors announced

Mike Bianco

A group of 40 talented individuals shine a light on the future for the aviation finance and leasing industry during a period of unprecedent stress.

Airline Economics, the flagship publication dedicated to the commercial aviation finance and leasing industry owned by Aviation News Ltd, has announced the 2020 40 under 40 group.

“This has been period of unprecedented challenges for the aviation finance and leasing community but considering the wealth of young talent demonstrated by the record number of nominees to the Airline Economics 40 under 40 group, this industry – famed for its innovation and triumph under stress – is in safe hands,” says Victoria Tozer-Pennington, editor and co-founder of Airline Economics.

All of the individuals named to the top 40 under 40 group for 2020 have been nominated by their peers, colleagues and clients in recognition of their skills, achievements and dedication to the industry.

Although the 40 under 40 group is not ranked, Airline Economics does present its Future Leader award to the individual with the most and most impressive nominations from clients. This year’s recipient is John McInerney, the managing director of Phoenix American Financial Services’ aviation ABS managing agent operations based in Shannon, Ireland. John has been singled out for recognition with a record number nominations from peers, clients and industry grandees, who all highlighted his professionalism, remarkable leadership qualities and “can do” attitude. John has been applauded by clients and colleagues even more recently during the pandemic crisis for remaining calm under pressure and showing even greater leadership abilities.

In 2020, the Highly Commended designation was also awarded to three individuals to recognise the calibre of their supporting nominations. These are: Kevin VanDenBerg, Vice President – Asset Management at Aero Capital Solutions; Mike Bianco, Chief Executive Officer of AvAir; and Mike Draz, Shareholder, Global Transportation Finance, Vedder Price.

Given the extraordinary circumstances, this year we asked all the successful individuals to comment on the current crisis and their hopes for the future. All were confident in the ingenuity of the people working in the industry and that travel would resume. And almost all expressed their hopes that the industry would continue on its drive to become more sustainable.

“The comments from this year’s group were extremely heartening during a bleak time for the industry, with many expressing their complete confidence that the industry will rebound and come back stronger than ever, albeit with the desire that lessons should be learned from this crisis to rebuild a more sustainable and resilient industry that looks to the longer-term future,” says Victoria.

For the first time this year, all 40 under 40 members were given the opportunity to nominate an individual or individuals that have acted as a mentor or inspiration during their career in the aviation industry. The response was overwhelming, allowing us to compile the first Airline Economics Mentors group for 2020. “We have often been requested light-heartedly to compile and 60 over 60 list,” adds Victoria. “Tthis year, our list of mentors does recognise those veterans of the industry who have given back by promoting and assisting the next generation of executives to take aviation into the next decade and beyond.”

Congratulations to all members of the Airline Economics 40 under 40 group for 2020. The Airline Economics team looks forward to celebrating with them all when the recovery is well under way.

Full Airline Economics article link:

Fleet Retirements a Mixed Bag for Spare Parts Sector


Moves by a number of leading airlines to permanently retire significant parts of their fleet as a result of COVID 19 are a mixed blessing for spare parts sector with future demand likely to be non-existent for certain types of aircraft, according to Mike Bianco, chief executive of US firm, AvAir.

Last week American Airlines announced the permeant retirement of 100 aircraft from its fleet, including A330-300a, B757-200s and B767-300s, as well as Embraer and Bombardier jets. Likewise, Air Canada announced its was ending the working life of 79 of its aircraft as part of a trend for carriers either to bring forward planned retirements, or simply axing part of their fleets in response to lower passenger demand due to COVID 19.

In theory this should be a boon for a spare parts provider like AvAir in terms of feedstock availability, but Bianco says that not all planes that are being retired will have a value, even as low oil prices change the economics of using older aircraft .

“It’s a mixed bag with decisions like American’s to retire its 757s. That’s been a dead bird for a while in my opinion, we don’t even trade in that aircraft. Conversely, there’s a lot of 767 retirements at the moment and there is still a strong demand for material and engines for that aircraft. Obviously, this demand will change as the market becomes saturated, but it’s a good sign that you’ve got firms such as Amazon Prime Air flying 767s.”

AvAir has traditionally focussed on the narrowbody part of the market with Bianco estimating widebody activity accounts for around 25% of the firm’s business. Despite this, and the current bearish sentiment on widebody aircraft in general, the chief executive says the future market for larger planes could hold up.

“It’s probably too early to call the outlook on the widebody plane. International travel has just got clobbered but it could be a lot better for the widebodies than people are saying. It depends on how quickly the market responds to making people feel safe flying long haul, with a bunch of people crowded around them.”

AvAir recently signed a deal to purchase the majority of Lufthansa Technik’s overstock of rotable spares inventory, which saw the Arizona-based company acquire 9,000 line items, including IDGs, FADECs, and starters. Bianco says the firm is looking to making further acquisitions either inventory deals like the one with Lufthansa Technik, buying into contracts, or purchasing companies outright.

Last year Bianco became chief executive of AvAir in a management buyout, backed by Corrum Capital Partners, when founder Robert Ellis sold his business. In 2018 Corrum closed a $250 million aviation fund at the time Jason Cipriani, co-managing partner at the private debt fund, said it would enable the firm to “significantly” expand its aircraft holdings and part of these funds are available to back deals by AvAir.

Bianco declines to give exact details of the cash at his disposal but says that access to a portion of the fund manager’s aviation dry powder means AvAir is looking to make acquisitions that fit within the firm’s main business of aircraft inventory supplies.

“All the experts are saying that the after-market is going to be different, but we are still talking about a multi-billion dollar space, there is just going to be fewer players in it. Our partnership with Corrum Capital Partners means AvAir is well capitalised and is looking to buy businesses that fit our core competencies.”

AvAir was in advanced discussions with one party which were broken off in March as the impact of COVID 19 made deal-making impossible, but Bianco says that once the market starts to rebound the firm is going on the acquisition trail.

“There’s two acquisitions that we are pretty serious on, and our talks on these are now probably going to resume in late summer.”

Meet AvAir at MRO Americas 2019


We would welcome the opportunity to connect with you in person at MRO Americas 2019 set for April 9 – 11 in Atlanta. We’re happy to schedule appointments ahead of time for your convenience.

AvAir team members who will be in attendance include:

✈️ Mike Bianco, CEO –

✈️ Younes El-Khatib, Vice President – Business Development –

✈️ Kevin Lenz, Vice President – Sales –

✈️ Steven Solomon, AOG Manager –

✈️ Zachary Hall, Account Executive –

✈️ Max Masterson, Account Executive –

✈️ Atheer Mustafa, Account Executive –

✈️ Nina Boyd, Executive Assistant –

Want to link up? Shoot any of our team members an email ahead of the conference to secure an appointment. See you there!

Meet the AvAir Team at MRO Europe!

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The AvAir team is on the move again, and this time they’re headed to London for MRO Europe. Come connect with us in October, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person at MRO Europe, and we’re happy to schedule appointments ahead of time for your convenience. AvAir team members who will be in attendance include:

Younes El-Khatib, Vice President of Business Development – Younes.EK@AvAir.Aero

Fjalar Scott, Director of Business Development, Europe – Fjalar.Scott@AvAir.Aero

Rosa Gudmannsdottir, Account Manager, Europe – Rosa.Gudmaan@AvAir.Aero

Steven Solomon, Aircraft on the Ground Manager –

Graham Carson, Director of Business Development – Graham.Carson@AvAir.Aero

Max Masterson, Account Executive – Max.Masterson@AvAir.Aero

Atheer Mustafa, Account Executive – Attheer.Mustafa@AvAir.Aero

Want to link up? Shoot any of our team members an email ahead of next month’s show to secure an appointment, or stop by Booth 1621 and say hello during the exhibition. See you there!