Ares Management Corporation has teamed up with aviation industry veterans to launch a commercial aircraft lessor.

Private equity funds managed by Ares and aviation industry veterans, including Bob Brown, Sean Sullivan and Will Hudson have committed $500m to Vmo Aircraft Leasing, the newly-formed company.

Brown will initially serve as the Vmo’s CEO, transitioning to executive chairman over the next 12 months. He most recently, he served as CEO of Vx Capital Partners. Prior to co-founding Vx Capital Partners, Brown was an executive VP at Pegasus Aviation.

Sullivan will initially serve as Vmo’s COO, transitioning to CEO over the next 12 months. He most recently served as head of Americas at AerCap before joining Vx Capital Partners last year. Prior to that, he held senior positions at International Lease Finance Corporation, Allco Finance Group and Bank of America Leasing and Capital.

Hudson, who was also a founding partner of Vx Capital Partners, will serve as the COO of Vmo. At Vx Capital Partners, he was responsible for aircraft leasing, asset management and engine portfolio activities. Hudson was previously a VP of Pegasus Aviation.

Scott Graves, partner and co-head of the Ares Private Equity Group, said: “We believe the formation of Vmo is a terrific collaboration between a strong and respected management team, on the one hand, and an experienced and resourceful investor in the aviation sector, on the other,”

“Together, we expect to build a differentiated company that provides outstanding service as well as flexible capital solutions to airline operators, lessors and OEMs around the world.”

Brown said: “We are excited to form Vmo at a time when we can have a profound positive impact on the industry. We are extremely pleased to join forces with our new partner Ares, which has the resources and industry experience to support us in building a leading, global aircraft leasing company.”

Sullivan said the impact of COVID on the aviation industry has been unprecedented.

“We look forward to supporting the global airline industry by working alongside carriers, lessors and manufacturers to seek to invest in the most fuel-efficient and effective aircraft and to provide the flexible financial solutions that meet our airline customers’ needs.”

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