The second edition of MACE (Malta Aviation Conference & Expo), which sees Malta Business among the media partners, starts today, 18 November. One of the most awaited speakers is Mr. Khader Mattar, an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in the aviation industry. After years of management roles in sales for the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and China, Mr. Mattar became CEO of IC Leasing, specialising in financial and aircraft acquisition consulting. IC Leasing is based in the prestigious Dubai International Financial Center and offers a unique approach to finance, acquisitions and business aviation consulting. Its Asset Based Financing approach, combined with its expertise in all aspects of the business aviation industry, provides its clients with a tailor-made solution to meet their individual needs. We are delighted to share our exclusive interview with Mr. Khader Mattar.

Mr. Mattar, what are the main financial solutions for the purchase of an aircraft ?

There are many ways to structure the financing of an aircraft, each with its own advantages and disadvantages; from standard banking finance, leasing (Asset-based & Finance lease), export credit, as well as certain operating leases. Many institutions focus on the client and the size of the banking relationship, others collateralize the loan or simply offer finance leases. We at IC leasing focus on the asset itself; the aircraft. Client credentials do matter ofcourse, however we believe selecting the right asset to finance, monitoring its status from a maintenance & utilization point of view, in addition to structuring the finance lease to minimize capital exposure would benefit all stakeholders of the asset-based finance lease transaction.

In the face of the Covid emergency has the aviation sector resisted well or suffered like many other economic sectors?

As you have seen, the effect of the pandemic on the commercial aviation sector is sizable. However, we have witnessed minor disruptions in Business Aviation. Current reports place manufacturer’s business jet deliveries for the next ten years at 4% below previous forecasts. We have seen the temporary slowdown & pause in deliveries, business jet usage and overall acquisition, which we believe was mostly due to lockdowns and lack of freedom of movement and travel. In contrast to previous crises which were centered on credit crunches and financial losses. Over the years, we have witnessed a trend in the business aviation industry; the recovery from a global slowdown is led by an increase in charter bookings which spills over to the pre-owned acquisition market, and onto new orders from manufacturers. Current trends of charters, pre-owned acquisition, and future deliveries are proof that the business aviation industry is resilient.

How are Malta and its legislation viewed from abroad for those working in the aviation sector?

Malta is a well respected jurisdiction in the industry, from its flexible and supporting legislation to its key value to both commercial and general aviation. We believe its aviation future is very promising and bright.

What kind of advantages can a State provide to aviation operators to convince them to invest in their country?

Operators are crucial to the general aviation industry, we believe several factors play an integral part in spurring investments, the most important perhaps is aircraft traffic. From a macro viewpoint increasing traffic to airports can be achieved by improving the infrastructure of Airports, their capability to receive all types and sizes of aircraft, in addition to roads and hard infrastructure connecting the airport to the city which complements ease of access to and from the airport. From a micro point of view in terms of facilities; the  availability of space and efficient airport planning to support hangars and maintenance capabilities, the availability and access to competitive and flexible aircraft financing solutions which could be a doorway to increasing aircraft registrations in the jurisdiction and thereon aircraft traffic.

In order to achieve the above, the support of the governments and the aviation authorities are very important, not only on a financial level but also to ensure that a close relationship exists between operators and general aviation authorities. Such accommodative facilities combined with high aircraft traffic would surely push operators to expand and invest in their operation.

What future and what prospects do you see for the future of aviation and air transport?

Air transport, travel and the aviation industry as a whole, whether commercial or general, is a key supporter of many other industries, trade, tourism and so on. Even though we have witnessed temporary disruptions due to the pandemic, we believe the industry as a whole is very resilient. Going forward, the impact of travel restrictions will ease and the aviation industry will adapt, we foresee positive growth going forward. Simply put, we cannot restrict people from travelling, flying and exploring, whether for business or leisure, and the aviation industry is key to this taking place. Another important matter to add, that should perhaps also take precedent, is working towards a Greener & more Sustainable industry. We foresee sustainable aviation fuel, the adaptation of manufacturers to more environmentally friendly initiatives, green loans and so on taking place and becoming the norm in the future which would further encourage and enhance travel and the aviation industry as a whole.

For the registration of aircraft and the development of your business project in the aviation sector in Malta rely on the consultancy of Malta Business Agency.