The programme was launched in 2016 by Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of International Airlines Group, and came about because the major aircraft financing businesses based in Dublin were very keen to develop a further stream of high-quality graduate intake into the business and create a teaching, research, and learning environment to support those looking at careers in aviation finance. 

Patrick Blaney, Chairman, Aircraft Leasing, Finance, and Law, UCD says the programme targets 30 students a year, with up to five students on a part-time basis over two years. “Our target demographics are 50% non-EU and 50% EU (including UK), with the non-EU part having an Asian focus given that the main source of air traffic growth in the next 20 years will be from Asian countries, particularly India and China,” he says.

CDB Aviation believes that achieving diversity and gender balance within the aviation finance community is among the most critical aspects of building the workforce that will further propel the industry in the future.

“Over the two years, we have grown the participation from three females in the academic year 2016/7 (one of whom took up an appointment in MIT during the beginning of the year) to nine in 2017/8 and have a strong list of applications from female students for 2018/9,” says CDB Aviation Head of Human Resources Fiona Scott.

Patrick Hannigan, CDB Aviation Chief Executive Officer, sums up the scholarship programme as an important example of industry-wide efforts to "promote and raise the visibility of women in aircraft leasing and aviation finance.” He adds that this Airfinance Journal and CDB Aviation scholarship "will greatly assist us in reaching out to highly skilled female students interested in a career in aviation finance.”


Each year, Airfinance Journal and CDB Aviation award 50% of tuition fees to a female aviation finance student at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.


The MSc in Aviation Finance aims to advance students’ understanding of all aspects of aviation finance, with a specific focus on the practical features of global aviation markets.

The scholarship aims to: 

        Nurture the next generation of aviation            finance talent

        Develop women in aviation to broaden            and enhance diversity within the industry

2019/2020 Scholarship Recipient 
MSc in Aviation Finance UCD Smurfit School

I'm very honored to be awarded the Airfinance Journal (AFJ) Scholarship supported by CDB Aviation, which encourages female practitioners in the aviation industry