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Obituary: Raymond Tighe 1948 - 2011
28 April 2011
Aircraft industry loses business leader and friend.
Raymond Tighe passed away on April 3 2011, at the age of 63,
after a two and a half year battle with cancer. Tighe was a
leading innovator in the aircraft leasing industry for more
than 30 years and he continued his work until the end.
Tighe's family has had a long association with the airline
industry going back to the 1930s. His father, Des, served in
Iona Airlines, the Irish Army Air Corps and Aer Lingus, where
he was line service manager in Shannon. Tighe loved flying from
an early age and began his career during one of the most
exciting times of commercial air transport. He joined Aer
Lingus in the mid-1960s fresh out of high school. He then moved
to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to join American Flyers. Tighe
earned his pilot's licence in his early twenties: an
achievement that was one of his greatest joys. Tighe later
moved to Trans World Airlines where he earned his licence as a
flight dispatcher in the early 1970s.
Tighe met his wife Meav, a member of the Aer Lingus ground
operations crew at London Heathrow Airport in 1971. It was
while on his honeymoon in Thailand in 1973 that he first met
Tony Ryan, found of Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA). Ryan became a
hero and mentor to Tighe and the two men formed a close
friendship that lasted throughout their lives.
In the early 1980s, Tighe joined GPA to developed the leasing
company's trading floor. During his time there, he and Niall
Greene established the first major turboprop aircraft leasing
company in a joint venture between GPA and Pacific Western
Airlines. The venture was a major success, opening the market
for regional air transportation using modern turboprop aircraft
in many countries around the world.
Tighe later joined GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) in 1992
when the lessor bought GPA. There he continued to develop the
market for turboprop and regional jet aircraft. When he left
Gecas in 2002, in response to many requests from industry
leaders, he established Magellan Aircraft Services and was
immediately mandated to manage the turboprop portfolios owned
by several European aerospace banks.
Over the years Tighe became a source of industry knowledge to a
large diaspora of colleagues from around the world. The very
mention of Tighe's name elicited an immediate warm response and
conversation soon turned to his unique knowledge, expertise and
his wonderful family that he loved so much.
Tighe had a gift for helping launch the careers of young people
eager to build a life in the aircraft leasing business. He was
generous with his time and his connections. In recent years
Tighe had also became an advocate for expanding the presence of
Ireland in the global aerospace financing industry by
encouraging everyone he encountered to meet in Dublin every
January at the Airfinance conference. Ray was a fountain of
aviation knowledge, a respected aircraft trader and an
acknowledged leader in his profession who will be missed by his
loving wife Meav, his children Leonie and Paul, his many
friends and colleagues who will cherish his memory for
Patrick Harris was a colleague and friend of Ray Tighe's.