Course Overview

Thanks to aviation, our world is more interconnected than ever before—it affords us the opportunity to explore far-off countries and experience new cultures, peoples, philosophies, and points-of-view; it connects us in-person with distant friends, family, and colleagues; it ensures that the packages we’ve ordered online reach our front doorsteps.

None of this would be possible, however, without the aircraft leasing and finance sector, which although relatively young, has already had a profound and far-reaching impact on the world.

The Diploma in Aviation Leasing & Finance at City Colleges is an executive-level programme intended to provide participants with a comprehensive and commercially focused introduction to this dynamic and globally important industry.

Over ten (10) instructor-led sessions, as well as through a series of practical hands-on workshops, students will explore and engage the core principles and concepts fundamental to understanding this industry.

Students who study the Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance will learn first-hand from industry experts and current practitioners with specialised knowledge in the field.

Course Duration

The Diploma in Aviation Leasing & Finance is run over ten (10) sessions comprising of three-hour instructor-led lectures totaling 30 hours. The course can be done in class or fully online.

Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance lectures will be complemented by two (2) weekend workshops during the semester. These workshops are intended to provide students with an opportunity to:

  • Practice applying subject knowledge to practical scenarios and analysing relevant case studies.
  • Engage in problem-based learning and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.
  • Review and consolidate the material covered in class.

Appropriate material will be made available in advance of each workshop to enable full participation and to maximise student learning.

Course Modules

Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance content can be completed in class or fully online;

Week 1: Introduction to Aviation Leasing & Finance and Industry Overview & Landscape

  • Course overview and timeline
  • Introduction to commercial aviation
  • History of the aircraft leasing industry
  • Ireland as a centre of excellence
  • Basics of aviation leasing and finance
  • Aircraft leasing vs. ownership—the pros and cons
  • Types of leases (i.e., operating lease, finance lease, wet lease, dry lease, synthetic lease, tax lease, etc.)
  • Typical multijurisdictional transaction structures


Week 2: Aircraft Operating Leases

  • Introduction to aircraft operating leases
  • The leasing life cycle (i.e., pre-delivery, delivery, operations, and redelivery)
  • Essential lease provisions and clauses
  • Key lessor and lessee concerns and considerations
  • Common negotiation points
  • Lease negotiation—art vs. science


Week 3: Aviation Finance

  • Introduction to investing in aircraft assets
  • Raising capital and methods of fleet financing
  • The importance of diversification
  • Considerations for aircraft financiers and lenders (i.e., security interests, enforcement, etc.)


Week 4: Principles of Aircraft Selection

  • Foundations of fleet planning—the three golden rules
  • Aircraft performance
  • Aircraft economics
  • Perspectives on aircraft selection—airlines vs. lessors vs. OEMs


Week 5: Aircraft Operating Lessors and Aircraft Trading

  • Overview of aircraft operating lessors
  • Common business models
  • Aircraft marketing strategies
  • Leasing portfolio management
  • Overview of the aircraft secondary market
  • Common sell- and buy-side transaction types
  • Acquisition and sales process of used aircraft
  • Transferability considerations
  • Key transaction documentation and the Global Aircraft Trading System (GATS)


Week 6: Aircraft Maintenance Compensation

  • Basics of aircraft maintenance compensation development and management
  • Maintenance compensation mechanisms (i.e., cash reserves, end-of-lease adjustments, letters of credit, etc.)
  • Sources of maintenance data
  • Reserve economics (i.e., cost drivers, rate determination, escalation, etc.)
  • Maintenance exposure analysis


Week 7: Lease Pricing and Aircraft Valuation & Appraisal

  • Modeling a lease transaction
  • Evaluation metrics—NPV vs. IRR
  • Sensitivity and scenario analyses
  • Calculating minimum lease payments
  • Introduction to aircraft appraisals
  • Purpose of an appraisal
  • Appraisal process
  • Valuation methodologies
  • Appraisal firms


Week 8: Risk & Repossessions and Airline Credit Analysis

  • Types of risks faced by aircraft operating lessors (i.e., market risk, asset risk, counterparty credit risk, jurisdictional risk, etc.)
  • Effective risk mitigation and industry best practices
  • Due diligence—understanding its importance and process overview
  • Repossessions and extractions
  • Emerging issues to consider
  • Introduction to credit analysis
  • Types of airlines and airline business models
  • Quantitative and qualitative risk factors
  • Credit scorecards


Week 9: Legal & Regulatory Framework, Insurance, and Taxation

  • Introduction to aviation law
  • Multilateral air law treaties and current parties
  • Cape Town Convention (i.e., aircraft objects, international interests, registration, connecting factors, remedies, etc.)
  • Introduction to aviation insurance
  • Types of insurance (i.e., hull insurance, liability insurance, war risk, additional coverage, etc.)
  • Insurance parties
  • Introduction to aviation tax
  • Key taxation issues (i.e., residency, permanent establishment, trading requirement, capital allowances, tax treaties, etc.)
  • Cross-border transaction considerations
  • Recent changes in tax law impacting aircraft lessors and lessees


Week 10: Closing, Career Session, and Career Panel & Networking Event

  • Course recap
  • What’s next for aviation in a post-COVID19 world?
  • Discussion of final assignment requirements
  • Course feedback and evaluations
  • Overview of functional roles
  • Recruiting advice and insights
  • Industry associations and organisations
  • Career panel discussion and Q&A session

Learning Outcomes

Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance aims to ensure that successful participants:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the core principles and concepts applicable to aviation leasing and finance
  • Acquire practical working knowledge of aircraft operating leases and other forms of financing structures and documentation
  • Assess the inherent risks and rewards involved in investing in aircraft assets
  • Appreciate the underpinnings of the commercial and financial decision-making processes within aircraft operating lessors
  • Develop familiarity with key legal, regulatory, taxation, and insurance issues pertaining to the sector and market participants
  • Foster industry awareness and business acumen

Course Award

City Colleges Diploma


Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance will be assessed as follows:

Continuous Assessments

There will be two (2) continuous assessments during the semester. Each assessment will be a 60-minute online quiz comprising of 30 to 40 multiple-choice questions.

Final Written Assignment

Students will prepare and submit an individually written assignment of not more than 2,500 words in length, including notes and appendices. A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding the Aviation Leasing and Finance Diploma. A fail grade will result in a Certificate of Attendance for the course but without the Diploma being awarded.

Further information on course assessment criteria will be provided on the first day of class.


Robert Russell is Programme Director and Senior Lecturer of the Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance at City Colleges.

As a current industry practitioner, he specialises in commercial aircraft trading and leasing at a top global operating lessor.

Robert holds a M.Sc. in Aviation Finance from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. He has also completed both the Diploma and Certificate in Aviation Leasing and Finance from the Law Society of Ireland as well as the Certificate in Aircraft Acquisition and Finance from the Institute of Technology Carlow.

Prior to joining the aviation industry, Robert spent over six years in the financial services sector in New York City and Dublin, focusing on corporate advisory and restructurings. He earned a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from Boston College in 2011.


This course is exceptionally comprehensive. I work in the Air Corps, Baldonnel as an aircraft maintenance technician and technical instructor. I can easily say that the instruction laid out within this course has certainly increased my knowledge of the aviation industry.

The professionalism from the instructors and the instruction given was highly appreciated, which made the entire learning process quite enjoyable.

Alan Ashe


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live online
Live online training with real-time instructor-student interaction.
  • Live & fully online
  • Archived for review
27th September 2022
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT
Study in a classroom environment one evening a week.
  • City centre location
  • Fully interactive
  • Limited class sizes
27th September 2022
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT

Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance Prospectus

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