aircraft management

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Aircraft Management: The Aviation Professionals Every Jet Owner Needs see more

    NAFA member, Joe Barber, Vice President of Fleet Development with Clay Lacy Aviation, discusses aircraft management and what you need to know.

    Savvy business jet owners know how to maximize operational efficiency and safety, in the air and on the ground, while minimizing costs, complications and inconveniences. In short, how to enjoy the full benefits of jet ownership.

    How to own a private jet?
    There are five key people you need to have on your team to own a private jet.
    1. Aircraft broker to help you find and buy the right jet.
    2. Aviation attorney to provide critical guidance on ownership structure.
    3. Aircraft manager to oversee daily operations, employ crew-members, and maintain the jet.
    4. Flight crew to fly your jet.
    5. Aviation CPA to ensure you avoid unnecessary tax liabilities.

    Each professional fulfills a specific, highly specialized purpose—working in harmony to consistently and proactively insulate the client from liability and surprise costs, minimize tax exposure and operate efficiently and safely. Let’s take an in-depth look at the roles these aviation specialists play, and how they interact with an aircraft owner, and with each other.

    Aircraft broker: More than buying and selling.
    An aircraft broker sets the tone and lays the foundation for a smooth acquisition of the aircraft. The broker might be the client’s first contact within the business aviation industry, or introduced by an aviation attorney, aircraft manager or other professional. Aircraft brokers are often mischaracterized as simply wanting to make the sale, but keep in mind that they have a responsibility to the client beyond advising on the best type of aircraft that to meet their needs. An important part of their job is providing direction on building a team to facilitate a smooth acquisition and create long-term owner satisfaction. Ideally, aircraft brokers would like to be involved early on in the process to establish a productive dialogue with the owner, as well as communication with an aviation-focused attorney, management company and CPA.

    Aviation attorney: Guiding you through a maze.
    New aircraft owners might assume that they do not need an attorney who specializes in aviation. After all, they may already be represented by an excellent law firm or corporate legal department. The reality, however, is that aviation law is a highly complex field, demanding mastery of a bewildering array of separate laws, rules and regulations governing every aspect of ownership. It’s very much analogous to the world of medicine, where you might have a great internist, but you would seek a board-certified cardiologist to treat any heart issues.

    The aviation attorney works closely with other team members—especially with the aviation CPA/tax specialist. This helps assure the correct structuring of all ownership and operational aspects. optimization of available tax benefits and compliance with aviation regulations—all of which requires considerable effort and experience.

    An aviation attorney will have a less prominent role in the ongoing management and operation of a jet but is essential in the initial phases of aircraft ownership and delivery. This is when multiple team members are involved simultaneously and effective communications are so critical.

    Aircraft manager: Your 24/7 trusted advocate.
    A constant resource is the aircraft manager, who works for the aircraft management company and helps oversee every aspect of the jet ownership experience. Among many responsibilities, the aircraft manager assists in crew recruitment and management, aircraft scheduling and charter coordination, financial reporting, maintenance, avionics and cabin upgrades. “The best aircraft management is not the most expensive nor the least,” says Joe Barber, VP of Fleet Development at Clay Lacy Aviation. “Rather, it is the one who deals fairly, advocates in the client’s best interest and does what is right when action is required.”

    Flight crew: On the job even on the ground.
    It is paramount to set in place an experienced and personable flight crew—pilots, flight attendant and maintenance technician—that the owner likes and trusts. Once the operation and certificates are established, the flight crew has the most direct contact with the aircraft owner on a daily basis. The flight crew will work closely with the aircraft manager to handle the operational aspects and logistics of owning an aircraft—such as supporting scheduled maintenance events, advising on upgrades, crew performance review, and general maintenance and outfitting of the plane.

    Aviation CPA/tax specialist: Helping you save money.
    In the aviation industry, tax laws are not only complex and intricate, they often conflict with federal aviation regulations. Due to this fact, it is essential that the team include an aviation CPA who will provide guidance on how to lower or eliminate their tax exposure on a variety of federal, state and local issues, such as personal use of company aircraft, sales and use tax exemptions, property tax assessments and appeals, excise tax on transportation and fuel, and many other areas.

    The aviation CPA coordinates with all of the professionals on the team and helps identify the specific needs and interests of the aircraft owner that must be considered to identify the proper structure. Just because a particular structure works for one client, doesn’t mean it will work for another.

    Experience the full benefits of jet ownership.
    Whether an owner has one plane or multiple jets— from an Embraer Phenom 300 to a Gulfstream G700— having the right team of aviation professionals in these five key roles is critical to an enjoyable, cost-efficient aviation experience. The sooner that team is in place, the better. Scott Cutshall, SVP Business Operations at Clay Lacy, stresses the importance of keeping time on an owner’s side. “Assemble your team early,” says Scott. “I can’t emphasis the importance of that enough. By putting your team in place early, before a letter of intent is drafted, an aircraft owner will save significant time and money.”

    This article was originally published by Clay Lacy Aviation on July 15, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    The Complete Guide to Corporate Flight Department Administration see more

    NAFA member, Michael J. Moore, Executive Vice President of Essex Aviation, discusses options for managing your assets.

    Businesses that own private aircraft (or, in some cases, a fleet of aircraft) find themselves faced with two options when deciding how best to manage their assets: Either hire a management company to take over operations or establish their own in-house flight department. Both come with unique advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to carefully weigh all the travel, logistics, operational and management support requirements before deciding between the two. That said, it’s undeniable that an in-house flight department is an attractive option for organizations whose top priorities are privacy and more direct internal control over their aircraft operations and management.

    In this article, we’ll explore everything that goes into forming a flight department, so that you can make the most informed decision whether it’s the right choice for your business.

    Table of Contents

    What is a Flight Department?

    A flight department is the people and processes responsible for the ongoing management, maintenance and aircraft operations on behalf of its owner. A flight department can vary from a single pilot to an entire facility with an organization staffed by a wide range of aviation experts. Though these examples stand at opposite ends of the spectrum, they are essentially the same in that they involve qualified professionals tasked with overseeing business aviation operations on behalf of the owner.

    A flight department’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    • Trip analysis
    • Flight planning
    • Ongoing maintenance
    • Overall operations
    • Aircraft scheduling
    • Flight planning
    • Crew management
    • Operational cost management
    • Regulatory oversight and management
    • And more

    Flight Department vs. Management Company

    As mentioned earlier, corporations that own private aircraft have their pick of either forming their own in-house flight department or working with a management company. Before you take any additional steps to research the option of establishing a flight department, it’s important that you understand the difference between the two, as well as the benefits and drawbacks to each.

    Let’s start with the basics: Both flight departments and management companies are responsible for overseeing day-to-day activities involved in aircraft maintenance, management and operation. The only substantial difference between the two is that, with a flight department, the owner and their flight department assumes full responsibility for business aviation operations, whereas with a management company, a third-party entity assumes the responsibility.

    Read the full article here.  

    This article was originally published by Essex Aviation on August 1, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Choosing Your Aircraft Management Company: Five Keys to Successful Due Diligence see more

    NAFA member, Joe Barber, VP Fleet Development, CAM with Clay Lacy Aviation shares five keys to successful due diligence when choosing your aircraft management company.

    In a perfect world, the due diligence process to select the right aircraft management company would be straightforward and objective. Competing proformas would be formatted identically with the same terms for every line item. There would be no hedging or ambiguity. No hollow promises or questionable guarantees. No missing budget variables that appear as unpleasant surprises on the first invoice. Clients could easily compare and contrast, and make better informed decisions.

    Instead, welcome to the real world, where proposals to manage business jet aircraft vary widely in organization and terminology, where the emphasis is often on salesmanship and showmanship, looking good rather than being thorough and transparent, and where the lowest estimate might end up costing you tens of thousands more in unexpected fees.

    This should not be a beauty contest—but it often is.

    Charles Porteus, president and founder of Seefeld Group, a leading business aviation marketing and research firm, notes that client surveys often show aircraft management is viewed as a “commodity.” For clients, there is little—or at least difficult to discern—differentiation among competing companies. The result is more like a beauty contest than the meticulous presentation and review of high-end business services to manage, operate and maintain a multi-million-dollar capital asset.

    There’s a reason they call it due diligence.

    The dictionary defines diligence as “persistent work and effort.” That sums up the challenge for business jet owners and their advisors as they seek to find not only the answers to questions, but to ensure that the right questions are being asked in the first place. Here are five guidelines that together are the key to finding the ideal aircraft management company for your specific needs.

    1. Focus on objective metrics—yours as well as theirs.

    You begin with the basics, of course. How many years has the company been in operation? How many aircraft do they manage? Part 91 vs. Part 135? Locations? Pilots? Management fees? Insurance? And so forth. Then dig deeper. Create constants for your comparison so you are comparing apples to apples. Fundamentally, you are conducting a gap analysis so you can more thoroughly understand what is being offered, what is different and what is missing.

    Each company should be able to demonstrate objectively why they are a better choice than their competitors—although beware if they seem to be “tearing down” other companies in order to build themselves up. Turn the tables and ask what competitors might say about them.

    2. Listen to what they are asking you.

    At the same time, play close attention to the questions they are asking you. They should be probing to fully understand your unique requirements, mission profile, where you travel, how often and who goes with you. Your expectations of a management company, needs and preferences for meals and amenities, international issues, and other key details and concerns. If they are not asking these questions, you have to wonder if they are truly focused on your best interests.

    3. Seek expert insights.

    There are numerous professionals within the business aviation industry: the list includes aviation attorneys, CPAs and other financial advisors, aircraft brokers, insurance providers. Their knowledge of the industry and the major players, as well as their specific expertise, can be a valuable resource for you as you narrow your choices. Poll their opinions, while keeping an eye out for any possible conflicts of interest.

    4. Challenge any “guarantees.”

    The only thing that can be guaranteed is that nothing can be guaranteed. Not only is aircraft ownership inherently complex, our world is filled with variables. Who, for example, could have anticipated COVID-19? So it is wise to challenge any guarantees from a prospective management company.

    Guaranteed charter revenue. How can they promise that? Instead, ask the company to demonstrate how they will work to generate charter revenue to meet your agreed-upon goals.

    Guaranteed maintenance costs. Really? Ask them to show how will they work to minimize your maintenance costs without sacrificing quality or safety.

    5. Watch out for what might be missing.

    If a proposal is dramatically lower than others, it could be a sign that one or more variable budget items has been omitted or significantly underestimated. For example, international handing and other fees related to foreign travel. Or warranty and subscription costs. There are any number of candidates that can fluctuate wildly based on a number of variables specific to your use of the plane. This is the time to ask questions and demand answers. Otherwise you might find that the lowest bid was ultimately the most costly choice—a fact you might not discover until you see your first invoice.

    Otherwise you might find that the lowest bid was ultimately the most costly choice—a fact you might not discover until you see your first invoice.

    The bottom line is that this due diligence is worth it. With the right aircraft management company you will have an invaluable partner. Working closely with you, they can lower your ownership costs, add value, maximize efficiencies and ensure your asset is operated and maintained to the highest standards—so you can experience all the benefits and enjoyment of business jet ownership.

    This article was originally published by Clay Lacy Aviation on July 9, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Elevate Jet Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more


    EDGEWATER, Md. – October 18, 2019 – National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Elevate Jet recently joined its professional network of aviation lenders. 

    “NAFA members form a network of aviation finance services who diligently and competently operate with integrity and objectivity throughout the world. We’re excited to welcome Elevate Jet to our growing organization as we head to our 50th anniversary,” said Jim Blessing, President of NAFA.

    Elevate Jet, a subsidiary of Elevate Holdings, is a trusted and professional single-source set of solutions for private jet owners and flyers, offering aircraft management, corporate shuttle, consultancy, and advisory services. The company has been serving private aviation with professional services since 2003, advising private flyers concerning their aviation interests.

    Elevate is a premier aircraft management company founded on the growing need for boutique style aircraft management. The company is designed to align with their clients’ mission profiles, providing highly customized services to private aircraft owners and flyers. Their experienced aviation team has a wealth of industry knowledge and intelligence that ensures exemplary levels of bespoke service in aircraft management and aircraft consultancy

    Much like NAFA, Elevate Jet places great importance on fostering knowledge, experience and trustworthiness throughout the aviation industry, providing the highest levels of professionalism in aviation asset management advisory.

    “Elevate Jet takes our fiscal responsibilities to our managed aircraft owners seriously, as well as to the clients that retain us to provide aviation advisory services,” said Patti Ann Sullivan, Executive Vice President – Aircraft Management. “The NAFA forums for discussion of issues impacting the aviation and finance industry, exploration of best practices and review of risk mitigation strategies, along with continuous education benefit the industry and the aircraft owners and flyers that we are fortunate to serve. It is for these reasons Elevate Jet is pleased to be a member of the esteemed NAFA association." 

    For more information about Elevate Jet, visit

    About NAFA:  

    The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft; to improving the industry's service to the public; and to providing our members with a forum for education and the sharing of information and knowledge to encourage the financing, leasing and insuring of general aviation aircraft. For more information about NAFA, visit

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Aircraft Management Arrangements and the Flight Department Company Trap see more

    NAFA member, Ryan Swirsky, Associate with GKG Law, discusses aircraft management arrangements and their consequences.

    Aircraft owners frequently arrange for aircraft management companies to provide full-service management of their aircraft for aircraft operations under Federal Aviation Regulations (“FAR”) Part 91. However, when the aircraft management company contracts with the aircraft owner, there is the so-called “Flight Department Company Trap” that can result in serious negative consequences.

    Some background will be helpful.  It is common for a special purpose entity (“SPE”), typically wholly owned by an individual or his or her operating company, to take title to the aircraft.  The aircraft management company usually prepares its management agreement for the SPE to sign.  This commonly occurs because the management company rarely has any information related to ownership structuring issues.

    FAR 91.501(b)(5) allows aircraft operations to be conducted under FAR Part 91 when the carriage of officials, employees, guests, and property of a company on an airplane operated by that company is within the scope of, and incidental to, the business of the company (other than transportation by air) and no charge, assessment, or fee is made for the carriage in excess of the cost of owning, operating, and maintaining the airplane.  This generally means that flights must be in furtherance of a primary business activity of the company.  For example, flying executives of a company that sells widgets to a manufacturing facility where the widgets are made to oversee production would be within the scope of, and incidental to, the primary business of the company.

    Essentially, the Flight Department Company Trap is a situation where the SPE operates its aircraft illegally because stricter FAR are applicable to the SPE’s aircraft operations, but those stricter rules are not followed because the SPE operates the flights solely under FAR Part 91.  The primary activity of an SPE would be transportation by air, as there is no other primary business activity being conducted by the SPE (hence leading to the “Flight Department Company” description).  Therefore, the SPE will be unable to meet the requirements of FAR 91.501(b)(5).  Further, under FAR Part 91, the aircraft operator is not permitted to receive compensation of any kind, except under certain limited exceptions.  Capital contributions by an individual or by his or her operating company to the SPE (which would typically be the only way to fund aircraft operations, as the SPE’s only asset is the aircraft) are deemed to be compensation.

    With the structure where the SPE enters into the management agreement, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) would likely view the SPE as providing air transportation services for compensation to the owner of the SPE.  The fact that the SPE may be wholly owned by the recipient of such transportation services, or disregarded for federal income tax purposes, is irrelevant.

    Fortunately, aircraft owners can still engage aircraft management companies for assistance operating flights under FAR Part 91 if structured correctly.  Typically, the structure would entail the SPE “dry” leasing the aircraft (i.e. – lease the aircraft without crew) to an individual or his or her operating business, and the individual or business would enter into the aircraft management agreement.  That individual or business would then pay the aircraft management company, and the individual or business would be deemed the operator of those flights by the FAA.  Ideally, the SPE would not be involved in any cashflow with respect to the aircraft operating budget and would instead just have cashflow related income from the dry lease.

    While, from a practical perspective, it may seem like there is not much difference between the two structures (after all, the same ultimate individual or business is flying on the aircraft, and paying the costs for the flights), use of the incorrect structure can result in serious negative consequences.  Those consequences can include violation of insurance policies (and potential denial of coverage by the insurance company in the event of an accident), violation of loan covenants, civil fine exposure by the FAA to the SPE, penalties for the pilots of the aircraft (such as civil fines and license suspension), and federal excise tax liability.  Further, liability protection planning may be potentially undermined due to a piercing of the entity veil argument (due to the principal activity of the SPE being to conduct unlawful aircraft operations).  It is also more likely than not that this structure will undermine typical state sales and use tax planning.

    Aircraft ownership and operation is a complex topic that requires consideration of multiple, often competing, factors.  GKG Law’s business aviation attorneys have marshaled extensive knowledge of federal aviation, tax and regulatory issues, and we are one of the leading practices in the country primarily devoted to business aviation law.  For more information on this topic or other business aviation related needs, please contact Ryan Swirsky ( or 202.342.5282).

    This article was originally published by GKG Law on September 9, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Clay Lacy Aviation Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more


    EDGEWATER, Md. – Feb. 4, 2019 – National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Clay Lacy Aviation has recently joined its professional network of aviation lenders. “NAFA members proudly finance - support or enable the financing of - general and business aviation aircraft throughout the world, and we’re happy to add Clay Lacy to our association,” said Ford von Weise, President of NAFA.

    Founded in 1968 by an aviation legend and industry pioneer,Clay Lacy Aviation is considered one of the world’s most experienced operator of private jets. For the past 50 years the company has managed, maintained and globally operated jet aircraft from every major manufacturer- serving business and world leaders, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, professional athletes, sports franchises, celebrities and dignitaries. 

    “NAFA brings together talented leaders from across the business aviation industry and we are delighted to support and participate in their efforts,”said Scott Cutshall, VP Brand Development with Clay Lacy.

    Clay Lacy Aviation is a trusted partner for aircraft management, charter, maintenance, avionics, interiors and FBO services. The company has aircraft operations and regional offices across the U.S., including a full-service FBO at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, and aircraft maintenance centers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Oxford, Connecticut. They are also the authorized dealer for the Quest Kodiak 100 Series II in the Northeastern U.S. 


     Waterbury-Oxford Airport, Oxford, CT


    The company prides itself on having the resources of a large organization, with the agility, responsiveness and personal attention of a small, private flight department. Their highly knowledgeable team of aviation professionals manages every facet of their clients’aircraft- whether one aircraft or a fleet, a light jet or an airliner- anticipating needs, reducing costs and protecting assets.

    Much like NAFA, Clay Lacy Aviation is dedicated to the continuous improvement of safety, service and value throughout the industry.Clay Lacy and NAFA foster highly trained, knowledgeable and passionate aviation professionals worldwide with their expanding networks of experienced and trusted businesses. 

    For more information about Clay Lacy Aviation, visit  


    Van Nuys Airport, Los Angeles, CA


    About NAFA: 

    The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft; to improving the industry's service to the public; and to providing our members with a forum for education and the sharing of information and knowledge to encourage the financing, leasing and insuring of general aviation aircraft. For more information about NAFA, visit

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Blue Ridge Jet Management Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more


    EDGEWATER, Md. - Jan. 16, 2019 - National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Blue Ridge Jet Management has recently joined its professional network of aviation lenders. “NAFA members proudly finance - support or enable the financing of - general and business aviation aircraft throughout the world, and we’re happy to add Blue Ridge to our association,” said Ford von Weise, President of NAFA.

    Blue Ridge Jet Management is a multi-faceted private aviation company offering services designed to evolve with the needs of their customers, including aircraft management, charter brokerage, aircraft sales and acquisitions, business aviation consulting and flight crew services.  Their team encompasses over 100 years of aviation experience and supports their clients’ private aviation needs throughout the various phases of growth and development.  

    Many of their clients start with charter, transition through jet cards or a fractional share program and ultimately end up owning an aircraft.  The goal at Blue Ridge Jet Management is to foster the client relationship by finding the right solution for every need, now and in the future. 

    “Blue Ridge Jet Management shares the commitment of the National Aircraft Finance Association to our mutual clients who require the expertise of a team of professional partners to receive the best guidance, advice and counsel regarding the complex process of aircraft acquisitions, financing, operations and management.  It is an honor to be associated with NAFA and its Members,” stated Greg Kinsella, Co-founder of Blue Ridge.

    Much like NAFA, Blue Ridge Jet Management promotes the highest standards of customer service in private aviation. Blue Ridge and NAFA contribute greatly to the aviation industry as committed partners with their clients. 

    For more information about Blue Ridge Jet Management, visit  

    About NAFA: 

    The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft; to improving the industry's service to the public; and to providing our members with a forum for education and the sharing of information and knowledge to encourage the financing, leasing and insuring of general aviation aircraft. For more information about NAFA, visit

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Vinci Aeronautica Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more


    EDGEWATER, Md.Feb. 13, 2018 - National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Vinci Aeronatucia has recently joined its professional network of aviation lenders. “NAFA members proudly finance - support or enable the financing of - general and business aviation aircraft throughout the world, and we’re happy to add Vinci to our association,” said Ford von Weise, President of NAFA.

    Vinci Aeronautica specialists have more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, providing aircraft recurrent, pre-buy, redelivery and compliance inspections services for the finance and legal sectors. The company has an extensive background in maintenance management, operations, finance, regulatory compliance and sales/purchases of aircraft. The Vinci team works with the Civil Aviation Authority and several air operators to provide focused and tailored services to their valued clients. 

    With experienced inspectors, Vinci has carried out more than 2000 inspections ofa wide variety of aircraft – both fixed and rotary wings– and assisted numerous air companies – both large and small. The company has also trained and worked with many authorities worldwide, gaining significant knowledge and expertise with different compliance systems, including EASA and FAA systems.

    Vinci Aeronautica prides itself on having a global reach while providing local knowledge. Their inspectors and audit teams are fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, forming the biggest dedicated aircraft inspection company in Latin America. They are a team of highly specialized professionals with formal training on aviation rulemaking and a strong technical background. Along with the company’s proprietary asset management system, Vinci has the experience, knowledge and technology to take the utmost care of their clients’ assets.

    Much like NAFA, Vinci Aeronautica is committed to providing the highest level of service in the aviation industry. Vinci and NAFA establish strong business relationships worldwide, fostering a network of knowledgeable aviation professionals.

    For more information about Vinci Aeronautica, visit  

    About NAFA: 

    The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft; to improving the industry's service to the public; and to providing our members with a forum for education and the sharing of information and knowledge to encourage the financing, leasing and insuring of general aviation aircraft. For more information about NAFA, visit

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    5 Ways Aircraft Management Saves a Private Jet Owner Money see more

    NAFA member Clay Lacy Aviation, discusses ways aircraft management can save you money.

    Through pooled purchasing and thoughtful decision making, an aircraft management company can save a private jet owner 25-30% in annual operating expenses over a single aircraft flight department; while also improving safety and service. Here is an overview of the five areas that aircraft owners will save when choosing to partner with a reputable aircraft management company.


    Fuel is the largest variable cost that private jet owners incur; accounting for about 38% of variable expenses and 19% of annual operating expenses. A management company reduces this cost through large fleet fuel purchase programs. “The more diversified a private jet operator is, the more savings that can be passed along to an aircraft owner directly,” says Daniel Murphy, Senior Fleet Analyst at Clay Lacy Aviation. “We can pass along savings to aircraft owners by driving down purchase costs. Aircraft owners essentially save by leveraging our large fleet’s buying power,” Daniel continues.

    Crew Training, Retention, & Utilization

    Pilot and cabin attendant training is a necessary and recurring component to owning and operating a private jet. Pilots are required to attend training, multiple times throughout a year to remain proficient on aircraft systems and emergency procedures. “We can achieve discounts on crew training in the range of thousands of dollars for each training event,” estimates Daniel. “Over time, these savings add up and make a difference for our clients,” Daniel continues.

    Crew retention is also an area that a management company helps aircraft owner’s save. Clay Lacy carefully vets pilots and cabin attendants; meticulously choosing only the best and most well suited to be part of an aircraft owner’s in-flight team.

    In Clay Lacy’s fifty-year history, pilots often stay ten, twenty, and even thirty years with the company. This incredible level of retention offers a consistency, efficiency, and savings often unachievable with other private jet management companies.

    When management companies have multiple air-frames of the same type within their fleet, lateral use of flight crews is also possible. For example, if a private jet management company operates three Gulfstream G550s, there is the option to rotate the flight crews between the aircraft if necessary. This helps to eliminate the need for outside contract pilots in the instances when full-time crew members are unavailable.


    Considering aircraft insurance, both the opportunity for cost-savings and ‘lifestyle savings’ should be noted. When working with a large aircraft management company, aircraft owners will see significant savings being incurred on both a quantitative and qualitative basis. “The real value in a quality insurance program lies in replacement aircraft programs and other benefits,” says Daniel.

    “Clay Lacy’s policies include an aircraft replacement option that allows for individuals to utilize other jets in the fleet when their aircraft is down for maintenance or experience another issue or service update,” continues Daniel. When an aircraft management company maintains a large fleet, the temporary replacement option provides clients with peace of mind and ultimate convenience. “With over one-hundred aircraft in Clay Lacy’s managed fleet, and over 50 percent large-cabin jets, it’s advantageous for aircraft owners’ to join our insurance programs,” says Daniel.


    In-flight WiFi is a necessary amenity in this era of private jet travel. However, there is a significant cost to installing the equipment and sizable ongoing monthly service fees. Aircraft management companies are able to develop ongoing relationships with companies like Honeywell, Gogo Inflight or Smart Sky, and in turn, leverage the multiple jet subscription discounts to help reduce costs for each individual aircraft owner. “Once again, we see savings for a private jet owner based on an ability to individually serve one client while maximizing the benefits that a large fleet yields,” reiterates Daniel.  In addition to WiFi, there are five to ten other subscription based services that aircraft owners save on, including items like aeronautical charts, flight planning services, satellite weather, parts and avionics warranties, and much more.

    Trip Expenses

    One of the most significant expenses that occur regularly are those related to a flight. Examples of trip expenses include ground transportation, catering, landing fees, aircraft parking, international permits, FBO services, crew hotels and crew transportation. “Aircraft management companies maintain relationships between various vendors and can achieve discounts that a one or two aircraft flight department cannot achieve,” says Daniel.

    The Individualized Approach To Savings

    In addition to the five areas mentioned above, an aircraft management company can significantly lower maintenance costs while continuing to maximize an owner’s use of the aircraft. “An aircraft management company that offers in-house maintenance will be able to save a jet owner over the long-term by decreasing the number of cycles imposed on an aircraft and increasing efficiency,” says Daniel.

    Daniel’s role at Clay Lacy looks at both qualitative and quantitative data regarding each aircraft in the managed fleet. Subsequently, the information gathered is used to choose the best course of action for projected long-term savings, as well as operational goal achievement. “Some owner’s raise concerns over being part of a large managed fleet but at Clay Lacy, we can achieve both the cost-savings benefits of a large organization with the familiarity and comfort exhibited by a small management firm,” says Joe Barber, Director of Aircraft Management at Clay Lacy Aviation. “This ability to translate what seems to be two opposing entities is possible through the system of support we employ for each aircraft. Every aircraft owner has a professional and specialized team, available at any time; day or night.  “We have the resources and relationships available to give our owner’s the ownership experience that they deserve and desire.”

    Would you like to know how you can save more money as a private jet owner? Contact an aircraft manager today! 

    This article was originally published by Clay Lacy Aviation on their Insights Blog.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    3 Qualities to Look for in an Aircraft Manager see more

    NAFA member, Clay Lacy Aviation, recommends what you should look for when hiring an aircraft manager.

    Private jet ownership is complex in nature, as an aircraft asset requires daily management oversight. From operations, scheduling, crewing, maintenance, hangaring, and more— a private jet must be managed efficiently and effectively so that a private jet owner may experience the full benefits of ownership. The private jet experience— from pre-purchase to long-term ownership— is best placed in the care of a reputable and specialized aviation team. One component of owning a private jet is deciding who and how the aircraft asset will be managed.

    With many aircraft management companies and aircraft managers to choose from, how does an aircraft owner make the best management decision for their goals and needs? What character traits differentiate a good aircraft manager from a great one? Here are three characteristics to look for when selecting an aircraft manager.

    A masterful listener

    As the point of contact for the aircraft owner and the individuals on the aircraft management team, the best aircraft managers have mastered the art of listening and utilize the skill continually. Effective communication is essential to the aircraft manager’s role but equally important is the necessity for an aircraft manager to be a masterful listener. Aircraft managers must listen to both what is being said by an aircraft owner and what is left unsaid. Many individuals are first-time aircraft owners and do not know what questions to ask or what to anticipate with ownership. This is where a skilled aircraft manager can step in. Not only can an aircraft manager listen, but an experienced professional will be able to ask pertinent and timely questions to assist in creating a beneficial ownership experience.

    A conscientious professional

    Beyond a standard level of professionalism, the best aircraft managers are honest, authentic, and emotionally intelligent. They communicate with an aircraft owner the important points while maintaining the ‘ease of ownership;’ a major benefit to working with an aircraft management company. Aircraft managers— who are excellent in their field— have a proven ability to connect and build trust between teams and clients. They not only communicate what they are going to do for a client but follow through with timely action. Additionally, the best aircraft managers can step into the aircraft owner’s shoes and understand the needs and wants of the owner; making decisions benefit the client time and time again.

    Advocates for the client

    The best aircraft managers advocate and operate with an aircraft owner’s best interest at the forefront of their decision-making and problem-solving. An aircraft manager is a private jet owner’s eyes and ears when it comes to the aircraft asset. So, without question an aircraft manager must do what is right by his or her client. In turn, the aircraft owner must have complete trust that the aircraft manager will make the best decisions regarding the aircraft operation.

    Regardless of what aircraft management company an aircraft manager is employed with, the aircraft owner should believe— through action and solutions offered— that the aircraft manager is assisting the owner at every turn. Advocating for a client includes a foundation of knowledge, experience, and strong industry relationships, which allow for more efficient and practical solutions to be discovered.

    Discover the benefits of aircraft management. Request a management proposal.

    This article was originally published by Clay Lacy Aviation on their Insights Blog.


  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Size Matters – And So Do Your Needs - Regional or National Aircraft Management Company: Your Call see more

    NAFA member, Thomas Mitchell, Executive Vice President of Essex Aviation, discusses options to consider when choosing an aircraft management company.

    When acquiring your first or subsequent aircraft, one of your primary decisions will be how you want your aircraft to be operated. Have you considered the requirements for establishing your own flight department, and are you prepared to undertake them? If not, you have the choice to retain a professional management company to manage your aircraft for you.

    How will you select this management company? Options to consider are:

    • Nationally known companies that may be either a division of a large public corporation or privately held;
    • Mid-sized companies, often formed to complement their FBO or aircraft sales business; and
    • Smaller, usually regionally based, companies which have organized a few professional aviation individuals to support a limited number of aircraft on behalf of a small group of owners.

    Within each category are differences in the breadth and width of resources offered, and several factors should be considered and evaluated to determine which type of organization best meets your needs.

    Evaluating Your Choices

    What programs and services do each offer? What are the key operational, maintenance, crew management, and administrative factors you should understand while making this decision? As you begin your search, you’ll want to find out:

    • How long has the company been in business?
    • Who owns and manages its day-to-day operations, and what is their background and experience in the industry?
    • If chartering your aircraft is of interest, does it have the necessary government-issued certificate, giving legal authority to generate outside revenue via third-party charter? (See “Spotlighting Charter Cheaters,” Business Aviation Advisor July/August 2018)
    • Has it satisfied safety audits by an independent third party such as ArgusWyvern, or the Air Charter Safety Foundation?
    • Will maintenance be outsourced, or does the management company have its own in-house capability, and will it provide detailed documentation of work performed?
    • Are fleet operator discounts made available to you for insurance, fuel, training, and maintenance?
    • What are the company’s crew hiring and training standards, and are these be acceptable to you?

    In addition, the decision to use a national or regional management company may be informed by where you intend to hangar your aircraft. Especially for charter purposes, some companies will suggest basing your aircraft at an airport known for higher charter demand, and ferrying the aircraft to you for your own travel or for maintenance. Others will manage your aircraft based at any airport you choose that offers sufficient runway and basic support services.

    What Do You Need Your Management Company to Do for You?

    Be sure to allow sufficient time to review a range of aircraft management companies and compare their differences. A useful first step is to outline and prioritize your goals in order to define, at least in theory, what would make an ideal relationship.


    • Your travel profile. Can the management company you are considering accommodate the details of how you normally travel? Are they experienced with international flying? Can they respond to short notice demands, and do they have the capability to make contingency travel plans when needed? (See “Global Reach,” Business Aviation Advisor May/June 2018)
    • Is having occasional access to additional aircraft important to you and can that need be accommodated by the prospective company?
    • Is the management company experienced with your particular aircraft’s sophistication, size, and/or model?
    • If you normally require immediate or 24/7 support, are they able to provide it?
    • Does the offered structure pool pilots, or will pilots be dedicated to you and your aircraft?
    • Will the management company accommodate a hands-on approach if that is what you want? For example, would you be able to have direct involvement with the hiring of and interactions with pilots, maintenance personnel, or administrative support?
    • Do you plan to make your aircraft available for charter when you are not flying? If so, what are your revenue requirements?

    The Differences Between Charter and Owner Use

    While management companies provide services for both, the FAA doesn't regulate or really even recognize aircraft management companies – large or small, regional or national – unless your aircraft is operated under a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 135 charter certificate. The FAA does recognize operational control of flights, which lies either with the management company when flying charter, or with the aircraft owner during non-charter flights.

    Therefore, whether entrusting your aircraft to an internal or third-party Part 135 charter management company, significant due diligence is highly recommended, and it is prudent to engage the assistance of an independent and knowledgeable industry resource or advisor.

    And, if chartering your aircraft to third parties to generate revenue is a primary objective, the region in which your aircraft is based and the type of aircraft you own may be uniquely attractive to both large and small management companies. Those factors should be discussion items when comparing charter projections of management companies.

    Advantages and Limitations

    While a larger charter provider may have a greater capability to market your aircraft for maximum utilization, it may have policies that, while effective and necessary to manage a large Part 135 fleet, may feel burdensome if you are an owner with few requirements.

    A large, reputable national aircraft management company often will be better equipped to effectively support the details associated with unusual flight destinations, during all times of the day or night, as well as ground handling and even security details.

    A larger company may have the purchasing power to negotiate substantial discounts, typically passing them along to you. However, the annual management fees charged by a larger company may be somewhat higher than those of a smaller regional company.

    The ability to identify your specific values and needs will have a significant impact on your selection process. As you narrow your choices, it is highly recommended that each prospective management company respond to a questionnaire which defines your specific operational and financial requirements, and also provides a detailed pro forma budget for your aircraft. This “Request for Proposal” exercise often highlights strengths as well as possible deficiencies in a prospective management company, and can prove to be an effective tool in your evaluation and final selection process.

    And as you make your final selection, be sure to choose a company that can meet not only your current, but also your future, needs. For example, when you sell this aircraft and purchase another, will this company have the flexibility and capability to adapt to a newer or different make and model, or must you begin the management company selection process anew?

    Whichever company you choose, you can and should expect it to partner with you to meet your travel needs, your budget, and any required charter revenue.

    This article was originally published in Business Aviation Advisor on July 11, 2018.