Member Focus - SMBC Aviation Capital

Could you give us an overview of your company?

SMBC Aviation Capital is one of the world’s leading aircraft leasing companies. We invest in the most modern, technologically advanced aircraft in the world that are the most sought after by our 150 airline and investor customers in 50 countries. We have a fleet of 710+ owned, managed and committed aircraft.

Every minute one of our aircraft takes off or lands somewhere in the world. Our team of 200 professionals are based in Dublin and at locations in Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Miami, New York, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Toulouse.

What is your company's connection to Ireland?

Headquartered in Dublin, our shareholders, SMBC and Sumitomo Corporation acquired the company in 2012. Since then, the company has forged strong links with our Japanese colleagues, collaborating closely to develop our growth potential in the Japanese market which has opened new opportunities for us. We work with the leading airlines in Japan and also have a strong investor base in Japan who are increasingly interested in investing in aircraft as an asset type.

How did your company first become involved in the IJCC?

We believe that the IJCC has an important role in strengthening business links between Ireland and Japan. We also have a keen focus on developing career opportunities for our employee base in our overseas markets and at any one time, a number of our employees have been seconded to work in the Japanese market. It is very important therefore for us to develop and network with the Irish and Japanese communities based in Tokyo. The IJCC has facilitated these links and has been an important resource for our employee base here.

What changes have you noticed in the Ireland Japan relationship over recent times? What areas of growth do you see for your company (or sector) in the next 12 to 24 months?

We are a global business but recognise the value of building business and trade links between both the Japanese and Irish markets. This will be increasingly important now as the economy begins to recover from the adverse impact of Covid-19. Over recent times, we believe that ties have strengthened between both countries facilitated not only by the commitment in Ireland to broaden trade links with Asia as a result of the impact of Brexit but also because of the celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between both nations. In addition, the Rugby World Cup facilitated and built recognition between both cultures.

We believe that as the aviation sector begins to recover that we will continue to work closely with our shareholder to open mutually beneficial opportunities for us in the Japanese market.

Our business also recognises the importance of CSR programmes and opportunities to strengthen our employee base in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Last year alone, we funded and partnered with 18 charity partners and our employees volunteered 2494 hours to give back to the local communities in which we operate.

In addition, we were the first corporate partner of the National Gallery of Ireland since its reopening following the refurbishment of the Shaw rooms in 2017. This was an important sponsorship for our Japanese shareholders. Our other sponsorships include AWAR (Advancing Women in Aviation Roundtable) and we were a sponsor of their first annual lunch in Tokyo.

We have an active Graduate Programme and were the first aircraft leasing companies to develop this. We recognise the importance of developing the next generation of talent in this area. We are also sponsors of the MSc in Aviation Finance in UCD, the first of its type in Europe.


Contact: Elliot Milton

Elliot worked in SMBC AC’s Tokyo office from 2016 to 2020 and was a board member of the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce. Since relocating back to Ireland in March 2020, he continues to work with customers in the Japanese market and will be a regular visitor to Japan. From 2011 to 2015, Elliot was a diplomat in the Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo.