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Q&A with Ian Halliday, Close Brothers Aviation Sales Director

Ian Halliday, Aviation Sales Director, sheds some light on his role and explains how borrowing in the Aviation sector works...

Ian Halliday

Tell me more about yourself and your background in aviation

I have almost 15 years’ experience in the aviation sector with the majority of my time spent on aircraft finance. I’ve also been a director of a UK helicopter operator and account manager for Royal Ascot and Silverstone major event Heliports.

In addition, I’ve repossessed aircraft from abroad on behalf of administrators and valued and inspected aircraft on behalf of banks – I’ve even had a go at flying a few aircraft.  

Is there such a thing as a ‘typical deal’?

Every deal is different – a saying that’s commonly used, but also incredibly accurate. With the number of variables involved, like loan size, aircraft type and the client’s credit profile, it’s impossible to have a typical deal – they really are all different.

Tell me about deal sizes and running costs…

Our sweet spot is between £100k to £10m, but that’s not to say we can’t do smaller or larger deals – which we do. As part of our due diligence, on every deal we take into account the running costs of the aircraft being purchased, ensuring we understand upcoming maintenance along with how much it costs to fly the aircraft on an hourly basis and the expected annual utilisation.

Aviation can be seen as a wealthy person’s pursuit – is this true?

Aviation is typically split into two categories when talking about an aircraft’s use, the first of which is leisure flying, where it’s someone’s passion, hobby and business combined.

Secondly, there’s private aviation, where an aircraft is used for business purposes. Time is money – and private aviation certainly saves you time, although this doesn’t have to be in a brand new Gulfstream G650.

Flying a light aircraft to get from one end of the UK to the other has the reward of saving time while getting you there in style and comfort.  

What has been the impact of COVID-19?

Despite an initial slowdown in enquiries and a few cases where we assisted customers using various measures at our disposal - including payment holidays - I’m delighted to say we’re currently receiving record numbers of new business enquires from both new and existing clients.

What do you think the future holds for the aviation team?

We are going to keep doing what we do well and ensuring our customer service standards are maintained. The beauty of Close Brothers is we don’t panic in a crisis – Covid-19 is an example of this because we didn’t change our lending stance and never shut our doors. With this attitude the future of the team is stable and we hope to continue to grow.

What sets Close Brothers Aviation and Marine apart?

That’s an easy one! It’s our ability to get a deal done. We pride ourselves on being able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ very quickly, and when we say ‘yes’, our in-house team has the ability to transact a deal more quickly than anyone else. Combine that with real expertise and a common sense approach and you have a compelling offering.