SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Commercial aviation continues to demonstrate its sustained ability to attract investors as evidenced by record attendance at the 28th annual conference of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading that opened over the weekend.
ISTAT is a nearly 30-year-old, not-for-profit organization with more than 2,000 members worldwide. It serves aircraft operators, investors, manufacturers, leasing companies, appraisers and other supporting businesses and is dedicated to fostering and promoting interest and educational opportunities in commercial aviation.
In recent years, ISTAT and its annual events have grown in popularity to become the leading forum for its sector of the aviation industry. At the conference start, more than 1,300 participants from 28 countries were on hand for the two day conference, held at the Westin Keirland Resort.
Current ISTAT President and President of AVITAS, John Vitale, commented that "This year's numbers show more than a 10 percent increase over last year's event, held in Orlando. We hit the 1,000 mark back in 2007 and it has continued to grow since then."
ISTAT's growth is no coincidence, as much of the business of commercial aviation was able to weather the recent economic disruption due to the quality of aircraft investments.
"Compared to other asset classes, commercial aircraft have outpaced other investment opportunities due to an aircraft's long useful life and their extremely mobile nature," said Joseph Ozimek, ISTAT incoming president and an executive at Boeing Capital Corporation, the aircraft builder's product financing and leasing unit. "The financiers' ability to redeploy aircraft assets in the event of an operator's default or just normal lease turnover gives investors confidence not found with other assets," Ozimek added.
For decades, global aviation interests have exchanged information and conducted business at major event venues like the Paris and Farnborough Air Shows.
Increasingly ISTAT's annual spring conference has grown to fill the need for a major U.S.-based venue for the global aviation industry with a business importance on par with the major air shows.
The 2011 ISTAT line up of industry luminaries for the first meeting day, focusing on aircraft manufacturing, included keynote speaker and U.S. Federal Aviation Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt, Airbus Vice President of Marketing Andy Shankland, President and CEO James Albaugh of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, President Gary Scott of Bombardier of Canada and Executive Vice President Paulo Silva of Embraer of Brazil.
Day two will focus on the state of aircraft engines, financing and leasing, with headline speakers including President Todd Kallman of Pratt & Whitney, President and CEO Jean-Paul Ebanga of CFM International, President and CEO Steven F. Udvar-Hazy of ALC among others.
ISTAT is distinguished among other leading industry forums by its non-profit nature. The society's events come together by the efforts of member volunteers motivated by supporting the industry's broader growth and the numerous charitable interests ISTAT support with society profits.
"ISTAT's meetings, whether the spring annual meeting and the European conference in the fall, aim to foster an industry dialog that nurtures the industry as a whole," said Doug Runte, an ISTAT board member and managing director at Piper Jaffray. "We come with our individual perspectives, but we collectively focus our energies on improving the lot of commercial aviation overall."
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 worldwide.