SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With 2012 global commercial-aircraft deliveries forecasted to approach a record nearly $100 billion, the business of buying, selling and financing airplanes continues on an upward climb, powered by a healthy appetite for investment opportunities in what has been a very high-performing asset class.
That enviable environment underpins ISTAT Americas 2012, the annual meeting of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) that opened today here.
Attendance on day one reached yet another record – more than 1,300 participants from 30 countries.
For nearly 30 years as not-for-profit industry society, ISTAT has been dedicated to fostering and promoting interest and educational opportunities in commercial aviation while providing a forum for those involved in the aviation and supporting industries.
ISTAT represents more than 2,700 members worldwide who are involved in operating, manufacturing, maintaining, selling, purchasing, financing, leasing, appraising, insuring or other activities related to the commercial aviation sector.
Commercial aviation's impressive growth track is not without its concerns. For example, will product demand be sustained as aircraft manufacturers increase their production rates, and is export credit use really necessary to ensure a level global playing field for plane builders? These topics are among those expected to dominate the dialogue over the two days of ISTAT Americas 2012.
Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of the airline trade association, Airlines for America (A4A), is this year's keynote speaker on day one, which highlights airframe and engine manufacturing topics. Other presenters include senior-level executives from Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and engine manufacturer CFM. Day two speakers representing financing and leasing interests include CEOs from aircraft leasing firms ALC and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).
"The growth of ISTAT, and our annual meeting, reflects the continuing growth of the aviation industry," said Joseph Ozimek, ISTAT president and vice president for 737 MAX marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Four years ago, industry deliveries were about $62 billion; today we're looking at $100 billion and beyond. As investments, aircraft have done spectacularly well through the economic downturn. ISTAT has become an industry leader because people acknowledge that our non-profit nature lets us be unbiased," Ozimek said.
ISTAT has made inroads in attracting new members from the airline industry as it moves to include more customer-focused interactions by its members who have typically come from the aircraft sales and financing sectors.
The Society's membership from air carriers has doubled in the last two years.
"ISTAT events provide forums for interaction for industry participants from all sectors of commercial aviation," said Daniel Pietrzak, an ISTAT board member and managing director of aircraft transactions, Delta Air Lines. "Members and non-members from around the world come to share ideas, do business, and hear about the latest issues affecting our businesses."
Beyond its annual meeting in the U.S., ISTAT's reach has been extended to include events in Asia, Europe and at the Paris and Farnborough Air Shows
"Today's ISTAT works hard at fostering a global community and dialogue around aviation interests," said Doug Runte, an ISTAT board member and managing director at Deutsche Bank Securities. "Through our annual events, including our marquee annual conference and a greatly expanded presence this year at Farnborough, we bring together thousands involved in the industry. We may bring individual viewpoints, but we all look to lift the entire aviation industry, so that we can all benefit."
Among ISTAT's interests is support for and development of standards for the global aircraft appraisal industry. The society sponsors the ISTAT Certified Appraiser program, of which there are nearly 50 members world worldwide.