Irish-based aircraft leasing firm Avolon saw its profits rise by 16% to $176m during the first quarter of the year. 

Revenue from its leasing operation fell by 4% in the three month period to $616m, but the company said it made a gain on the disposal of 20 aircraft. 

Chinese-owned but Dublin-headquartered Avolon had a fleet of 553 aircraft at the end of the quarter, which are leased to airlines including Ryanair, Air France and Southwest.

It serves 150 airlines across 61 countries.

Avolon said it completed eight lease transactions in the quarter comprising new aircraft leases, follow-on leases and lease extensions.

Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, said the first quarter represents another strong quarter of performance for the company.

"The strong financial performance is underpinned by another active quarter for aircraft trading - a testament to the continued hard work, focus and commitment of the Avolon team," Mr Slattery said. 

The CEO said that since the first quarter ended, Avolon has successfully achieved an investment grade ratings profile.

This was a key corporate objective for 2019 and was well ahead of the company's expected timeframe.

"Our enhanced credit rating profile will provide us with even greater financial flexibility and access to a deeper pool of capital," Dómhnal Slattery said.