A new report on the aircraft leasing sector shows that the industry contributes €541m to the economy.

The PwC "Taking flight 2018: An economic & employment analysis of the aviation leasing industry in Ireland" report also said the sector supports nearly 5,000 jobs - most of them indirectly.

This means that it adds of millions more in payroll taxes too. 

Today's new research noted that the aircraft leasing sector has grown by 36% in the five years to the end of 2016.

That was when GDP was boosted by a number of somewhat artificial factors including aircraft leasing firms moving assets to this country. 

But the sector's growth is far from over and PwC predicts an expansion of a further 22% in the five years to 2021.

PwC said this growth is mainly driven by rising wealth in Asia and it predicts that Ireland will capture much of this growth.  

It also noted that Asia is eroding Europe's position as the primary location for aircraft demand from Irish lessors and should overtake it by 2018. 

According to the study, the country's key strengths in attracting the industry here are the depth and nature of our tax treaty network, a competitive tax regime, skilled labour availability and Ireland's legal and regulatory framework.  

The report stressed the importance of ensuring the current tax treaty network continues to expand and those more limited treaties are updated in order to enable Ireland to maintain its competitive advantage.

Brian Leonard, Tax Partner, PwC Ireland Aviation Finance Practice and author of the report,  said today's report confirms the significant economic potential of Ireland's aviation leasing industry to 2021 and beyond.  

"It is clear that Ireland has a long standing association with the industry. This, together with a continued focus on our favourable legal and tax environment for aviation leasing, has helped position Ireland as the location of choice in the global market," Mr Leonard said.

He cautioned that it was very important that the country continues to invest in specialised industry education to ensure that we have the skills to sustain this growth and secure our leading position into the future.