Aoife O’Sullivan to Chair EBAA's newly formed AMAC Finance and Leasing Working Group.

Thursday 26th April 2012

Aoife O'Sullivan, Partner at specialist aviation legal firm Gates and Partners, has been invited by the European Business Aviation Association, EBAA, to chair the AMAC Finance and Leasing working group.

The recently created Associate Members Advisory Committee, AMAC, is intended to provide a forum where operators and Associate Members can share and debate their views on subjects of common interest through a variety of working groups. The Finance and Leasing forum will focus on dealing with the challenge of reduced financing options as it explores and identifies new means of finance. It will also promote solutions at a European level that aim to reduce risks from a financier's perspective.

The group will bring together operators, manufacturers, financiers and insurers to review and assess aircraft finance in business aviation. On an ongoing basis AMAC will cover a wide variety of subjects pertinent to the business aviation community. O'Sullivan regularly transacts business aviation deals and as a legal counsel for both vendors and purchasers is regularly involved in providing advice on all areas of the transaction from sourcing and structuring finance, advising on insurance requirements and explaining the complexities of VAT in relation to the transaction. She is therefore well placed to chair this important group. O'Sullivan took up the new role as Chair on 1st March 2012 when the first focus group met in at the EBAA offices in Brussels. O'Sullivan's colleague and fellow Partner, Sean Gates, also forms part of the AMAC Insurance workshop group.

Gates has been voted year on year best aviation insurance lawyer worldwide by Who's Who and combined they bring together the different expert aspects of the firm to the EBAA forums.

Business Aviation Challenges:

Gates and Partners has been involved in over 40 aircraft transactions related to corporate jets alone in the last 12 months worth in excess of US$1 billion dollars. Furthermore, they have witnessed a growing number of areas where the industry may not be fully versed with legal requirements.

The challenge of illegal charter is still prevalent, driven by a combination of economic climate and general ignorance about the regulations relating to chartering aircraft. Aviation insurance continues to be a commonly misunderstood product and Gates and Partners has been working closely with the insurance industry to try and clarify coverage of aviation risk in the business aviation community and encourage the finance and insurance industry to work more closely together.

Commercially the Emissions Trading Scheme has also thrown up many questions for owners and operators that will spill over into the executive aviation market and Gates and Partners are advising clients how best to handle the issue. "We are regularly involved with international cross border transactions so we understand exactly what's happening, and with our accumulated experience across all aspects of aviation law, we are able to provide sound advice on all the areas associated with owning, financing and operating an aircraft."

Gates and Partners is already running its own schedule of aviation seminars designed to provide its clients with background information on the owning and operating of aircraft and also a forum in which to meet other industry leaders in a small target group. "Our existing seminars have proved very successful for our clients and have served to bring together an influential network of aviation professionals who can exchange ideas and learn more about how to handle the challenges of owning and operating an aircraft'" says O'Sullivan.

The seminars, which normally welcome about 60 guests, cover a wealth of aviation topics connected with finance, insurance, security, registration, regulation and record keeping, and are becoming increasingly popular as word spreads about their excellent content and information provision. They have also high-lighted a number of knowledge gaps in the market which will steer future topics. "We know aviation, it's what we do day in and day out, so we really are in a strong position to provide this kind of educational platform. Combined with the AMAC Finance and Leasing group, we are able to encourage and provide excellent opportunities to collate and then disseminate valuable information to an even wider audience" she continues.

O'Sullivan will be speaking at the EBAA Safety Workshop, and the Transactions Conference both to be held on 13th May 2012 during EBACE.

About Gates and Partners:

Gates and Partners specialise in aviation law with offices in London, Singapore, Dubai, Paris and Brussels. The firm is internationally recognised by its peers, clients and industry resulting in awards from well-respected publications such as the Expert Guides - the Best of the Best, International Who's Who Legal, Chambers and Partners, Air Finance Journal, The Lawyer Awards, Legal Business Awards, The Legal 500. Award commentaries include "most commercially aware", "best industry knowledge", "most innovative", "a stellar reputation" "The lawyers realise solving problems quickly and thoroughly may not mean as many billable hours, but is better for clients". The firm has been awarded Aviation Law Firm of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

About EBAA:

The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) was founded in 1977 to defend the interests of business aviation. Today, more than 750 business aviation companies (direct members or members of associate organizations) rely on the EBAA to protect their business interests. It is the only voice to represent business aviation among the European institutions.

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