Raiffeisen-Leasing: Light and super midsize on demand in flexible Austrian market


The increase in demand for light and super midsize business jets was marked in 2020, Alexander Schmidecker, CEO of Raiffeisen-Leasing told Corporate Jet Investor. This is because “cost-consciousness” became an important purchasing factor and travel restrictions put a stop to the advantages of heavy and ultra-long range aircraft.

Schmidecker said the past year has demanded enormous flexibility from his company, but noted that is the great advantage of private jets over commercial airlines. Raiffeisen-Leasing recorded an all-time high in customer inquiries. “Inquiries increased from companies that had not previously considered business aviation but are now suffering from the massively restricted [commercial] flight connections.”

As of year-end 2020, 226 private jets were registered in Austria, representing a growth of 4% year-on-year (YoY), well above the EU average of 2%. In 2020, approximately 17% of newly registered private jets in the EU were registered in Austria. In Europe, only Germany and Poland saw more new registrations in 2020.

“When talking to our customers, we hear time and again about the importance of direct flight connections and the possibility to implement safe corona protection measures. In both cases, private jets are the convenient and reliable solution. In addition, Austria is a bizav-friendly market that offers with the Vienna Airport a professional hub in a geographically privileged location,” said Schmidecker.

Flexibility in helping clients new to the industry is a factor too. In connection with the acquisition of a private jet, many questions arise not just about financing, but also about the registration, the choice of a suitable operator or the tax handling, Schmidecker explains. “In all these questions we have in-house experts or can refer to competent partners, so that our customers are well looked after all around.”

The firm’s parent company, Raiffeisen-Bank International (RBI), was the first Austrian bank to sign the United Nations ‘Principles for Responsible Banking’. Schmidecker said: “We do see great potential in the use of SAF [Sustainable Aviation Fuel] and are promoting this with our customers. As we have a strong market share in car leasing, we have years of experience with electric mobility and know what questions customers have when they want to switch from fossil fuels to greener alternatives.”

Raiffeisen-Leasing has also just gained membership to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). For Schmidecker, who has been a member of the board of Leaseurope, the umbrella organisation of national leasing associations, this opens new opportunities.

“Our decades of expertise and our excellent network in the CEE [Central and Eastern Europe] region, allows us to make a valuable contribution to this European platform. At the same time, we want to be proactive in the industry realignment that will inevitably occur after the pandemic,” he said.