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  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Long-time Broker and NARA Co-founder Johnny Gantt, Sr. Dies see more

    Johnny Gantt, the long-time aircraft broker and co-founder of the National Aircraft Resale Association—now the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA)—died on May 14. He was 83.

    Gantt founded Gantt Aviation in Georgetown, Texas, in 1971, building the business into a well-known international business jet and turboprop brokerage firm that houses inventory in 40,000 sq ft of hangar space in Georgetown that has its own service center. He helped found the National Aircraft Resale Association in 1991 to pursue a code of ethics in the business of acquiring, selling, and trading aircraft. “To that end, Gantt Aviation became known worldwide as an honest and upstanding dealer in the global market, a distinction that made its founder proud,” IADA said.

    "Johnny's life will forever be synonymous with aviation and NARA, and for those of us lucky enough to know Johnny well, he was simply so much more," said John Foster, founder of Ogarajets. "A trusted and loyal friend with more stories of life than anyone can recount...a devoted husband, dad, and grandfather...a teacher, coach, and mentor to so many in and around Georgetown, Texas. Johnny's legacy will be marked by inspiration to others: anything is possible.”

    Born May 2, 1936, in Sweetwater, Texas, Gantt became interested in aviation after a pilot visited his high school to discuss flight careers, according to local obituary information. Soon after he took flight lessons and bought a Piper J3 Cub with money he earned working nights at a cotton gin. After graduation, he became a flight instructor in San Marcos, Texas, and eventually teamed with a local FBO owner, James Miller, to co-own Miller Flying Service in Plainview, Texas.

    About 15 years later Gantt sold his share back to Miller, moved his family to Austin, and established his brokerage firm. While selling planes, he continued to fly them, amassing more than 25,000 flight hours with type ratings in Lear, Citation, Hawker, Diamond, Beechjet, and King Air aircraft, among others. He also accrued a number of regional titles from the U.S. Acrobatic Club.

    Gantt is survived by his wife of 57 years, Eura Mae, daughter Melanie Gantt Rivera and her husband Julian, his son Johnny (Jay) Gantt, Jr. and his wife Amy, and five grandchildren.

    This article was originally published by AINonline on May 28, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Sky Allies Capital Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more
     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    EDGEWATER, Md. – Nov. 13, 2019 – National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Sky Allies Capital has 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 Sky Allies to our growing organization as we head to our 50th anniversary,” said Jim Blessing, president of NAFA.

    Sky Allies is a group of finance and aviation industry professionals – financing and leasing airplanes, helicopters, flight simulators and other aviation or industrial and technological equipment. The company specializes in credit challenged borrowers and other abnormal deal opportunities. They also offer special hourly simulator leasing programs for flight schools.

    The company is privately held and based in Las Vegas, NV. Sky Allies is a member of the American Association of Commercial Finance Brokers and thereby adhere to a Code of Ethics Program as voted on by their broker members. Their principal has 26 years experience in the aviation industry, is a Citation 525 rated pilot, ATP and an airplane owner.

    Much like NAFA, Sky Allies Capital is focused on the financing of aircraft – putting business plans in the air. Sky Allies and NAFA are committed to the highest level of customer service, fostering long lasting business relationships throughout the aviation industry.

    For more information about Sky Allies Capital, visit nafa.aero/companies/sky-allies-capital.

    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 NAFA.aero.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    The Air Law Firm Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    EDGEWATER, Md. - January 23, 2019 - National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that The Air Law Firm 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 Air Law to our association,” said Ford von Weise, President of NAFA.

    The Air Law Firm LLP is a boutique aviation law practice providing international legal services to the aviation industry. Their practice model sustains a bespoke and focused service from an agile and responsive team who can react quickly to the changing demands of a business environment. Air Law’s services are partner-led and proactive, with lawyers who are recognized internationally as being experts in their fields. 

    The practice has in-depth knowledge and understanding of the global aviation industry including aircraft finance and leasing, acquisitions and sales, litigation, regulatory advice and aviation insurance.The Air Law Firm’s international lawyers are qualified in various jurisdictions, routinely handling and managing transactional and commercial work, claims and litigation around the world on behalf of a multitude of clients – from individuals to the largest airlines.

    The Air Law Firm understands the cultural aspects and nuances of international business. The group is adept at helping to strategize, finding solutions for clients as business people and legal partners rather than a last resort. They often resolve clients’ disputes privately through mediation and arbitration and provide counsel as a respected and trusted advisor, consistently delivering practical advice and adding real value.

    “We at the Air Law Firm are delighted to join NAFA and look forward to sharing experience, opportunities and information with NAFA members. We are avid supporters of doing everything possible to enhance the experience of buyers and lessees of corporate and private aircraft to ensure seamless and professional transactions,but also with a view to investigating where improvements and innovative products can be discussed. NAFA presents us with an excellent forum for this and we welcome the interaction with other members,” stated Aoife O’Sullivan, Partner at the firm.

    Much like NAFA, The Air Law Firm is passionate about aviation and upholding the highest standards in client service.  Air Lawand NAFA foster strong business relationships and global networks in the aviation industry, with the knowledge and dedication to support continued development.

    For more information about The Air Law Firm, visit www.theairlawfirm.com.  

    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 www.NAFA.aero.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Jack Prewitt & Associates, Inc. Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    EDGEWATER, Md. - Aug. 23, 2019 - National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Jack Prewitt & Associates, Inc. has 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 Jack Prewitt to our growing organization as we head to our 50th anniversary,” said Jim Blessing, President of NAFA.

    Jack Prewitt & Associates provides a comprehensive aircraft brokerage and acquisition service developed from extensive knowledge gained over the years of the aircraft markets, allowing them to effectively gauge the needs of their clients. The company prides itself on being an aviation partner with a track record of client success and satisfaction. 

    The company serves their clients by first establishing what the client’s mission is when acquiring an aircraft, then providing up to date insight into the worldwide aviation marketplace. Their team identifies the best aircraft that fits their customers’ mission and negotiates a fair market price, all while guiding them through the purchasing process from “tip to tail”.

    Over the last 40 years, Jack Prewitt & Associates has bought and sold over 1000 aircraft, largely through their extensive, exclusive network of contacts. As an inventory dealer, the company are experienced buyers as well as sellers. Via their leasing subsidiary, AEI, they also own six aircraft, including five large cabin jets, all on long-term lease. The company believes this varied experience sets them apart from the rest of the field.

    Much like NAFA, Jack Prewitt & Associates, Inc. has experience in all facets of aviation and provides accurate market knowledge. Jack Prewitt and NAFA are passionate about the aviation industry and promoting excellence in service.

    For more information about Jack Prewitt & Associates, Inc., visit nafa.aero/companies/jack-prewitt-associates-inc

    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 NAFA.aero.

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

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

     

    EDGEWATER, Md.– September 16, 2019 – National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Jet Edge Partners has 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 Jet Edge to our growing organization as we head to our 50th anniversary,” said Jim Blessing, President of NAFA.

    Jet Edge Partners is a full-service aircraft broker and dealer formed as a division of Jet Edge International. The aircraft sales experts at Jet Edge work to understand the mission profiles, goals, and operational budget of their clientele to ensure they are connected with the best possible aircraft to meet their individual needs. 

    The company’s team is connected in real time to the movements in the markets and are skilled in projecting future trends in the aviation industry. Throughout their careers, the sales team at Jet Edge Partners have successfully completed aircraft transactions totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. 

    With offices and sales professionals located throughout the United States, the company provides clients with the knowledge and understanding of the market needed in order to purchase or sell an aircraft with confidence and unmatched customer service. 

    Jet Edge Partners not only transacts aircraft, but alongside Jet Edge International, it operates, owns, and manages one of the largest fleets in the world, providing clients with operational knowledge and resources unmatched in the industry. 

    Much like NAFA, Jet Edge Partners promotes knowledge and understanding of the market for confident and timely transactions. Jet Edge and NAFA are committed to the aviation industry and the highest standards of customer service. 

    For more information about Jet Edge Partners, visit nafa.aero/companies/jet-edge-partners.

    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 NAFA.aero.

     September 16, 2019
  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    NAFA Announces Geoff Colvin as Keynote Speaker for 48th Annual Meeting see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Jan. 15, 2018 - The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Geoff Colvin will be the keynote speaker at their upcoming 48thAnnual Conference, to be held March 3rdthrough March 6th, 2019,at Marriott Harbor Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Colvin will be presenting to an audience of aviation industry and finance experts with a global reach; supporting or enabling the financing of general and business aviation aircraft throughout the world. 

    Mr. Colvin is one of the most respected voices in business journalism, with a remarkable understanding of the key issues and trends impacting business today: the global economy; government regulation; the impact of Washington politics/policy on the business environment and the economy; leadership and management; global competitiveness and more. He is an award-winning author, broadcaster, and speaker, and has engaged hundreds of audiences on six continents.

    With his extensive experience as longtime editor and columnist for FORTUNE, top broadcaster on the CBS Radio Network, regular lead moderator of the Fortune Global Forum, and moderator for the International Business Leaders Forum in London, Geoff Colvin is one of America’s sharpest minds on leadership, globalization, wealth creation, the infotech revolution, and related issues. He has appeared on TodayThe O’Reilly FactorGood Morning AmericaCBS This Morning, ABC’s World News, CNN, CNBC, PBS’s Nightly Business Report, among other programs.

    The 48th Annual Meeting of the National Aircraft Financing Association will bring together the most active aircraft lenders in North America and worldwide to network and discuss issues topical to the industry, including: aviation regulatory changes, banking system regulatory changes, updates on new aircraft entering the marketplace, and other issues pertinent to aircraft buyers and their support systems. 

    Mr. Colvin will present “Leading Ahead of What’s Next – The New Rules of Business” for the over 250 attendees. He will address how the world of business is changing in historic and profound ways, with technological disruption, government’s role, and the balance of global economic power shifting massively, helping aviation industry leaders successfully navigate the tumultuous environment.

    For more information about Geoff Colvin, visit http://geoffcolvin.com/speaking/

    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 www.NAFA.aero.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Zilberbrand and Dufour Expand VREF Staff and Specialties see more

    NAFA member Jason Zilberbrand, President and CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference & Appraisal Services, announces expanding staff and specialties.

    VREF Aircraft Value Reference, the leading provider of aircraft valuations for the aviation industry expands staff and services.

    CHICAGO, IL, USA, June 3, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ -- VREF Aircraft Value Reference, Appraisal & Litigation Consulting Services the leading provider of aircraft valuations for the aviation industry, continues its 25th Anniversary celebration by adding more staff and specialties to its management team to meet their expanding business requirements.

    VREF has been expanding its specialty expertise’s, which now includes aviation cyber security, airport security, avionics, avionics security, and ground equipment appraisal and Litigation consulting.

    “Offering expertise, consulting and appraisal work related to cyber security and avionics is not something we take lightly. It is a highly specialized field that requires years if not decades of training, certifications and experience to produce high quality and awe-inspiring results”, said Jason Zilberbrand President of VREF. 

    “VREF is the only Business Aviation and for that matter General Aviation firm that offers the breadth of expertise we do with a staff including lawyers, federal agents, teaching professors and A&P technicians and is the most knowledgeable appraisal team I have ever worked with,” said Ken Dufour CEO.

    Eric Pupye, Esq. joined VREF in March to oversee Cyber Security, Airport Security and Avionics Security Expert Witness and Litigation Consulting. Eric is an attorney and Federal Agent with The Department of Homeland Security and he has Top Secret Security Clearance. In addition to being an attorney, Eric is a certified Protection Professional (CPP) and a Professional Certified Investigator (PCI). Prior to joining VREF, Eric spent a decade in the U.S. Air Force working with the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Threat Reaction Agency. Eric is a combat veteran and he was awarded the Bronze Star.

    “Eric brings a new skill set and specialties to the firm, we are not only honored to be working with him, but it also establishes VREF as the go-to company for all aviation related litigation support matters,” said Jason Zilberbrand, VREF President and CTO. Mr. Zilberbrand continued, “We are confident that Eric’s talents will be a huge part of our continued growth as we start taking on more sophisticated projects.”

    Additionally, VREF opened its third International Office and welcomed Neil Schiller, ASA of Sydney Australia to the team. This is the third International office opened in 2019 including Switzerland and Austria. Neil will be overseeing appraisal and expert witness work in the Oceania region and he has over 30 years of extensive experience in appraising aviation related assets including aircraft, helicopters, ground equipment and airport equipment. Prior to joining VREF, Neil was in charge of the GECC portfolio of Business aircraft for Australia and New Zealand.

    “Eric Pupye and Neil Schiller are welcome additions to VREF. The team we have assembled represents the best talent available in the industry and our commitment to the industry to drive transparency and ethics. We plan on opening additional offices to assist the existing client base,” said Ken Dufour, ASA and CEO of VREF.  

    About VREF

    VREF Aircraft Value Reference, Appraisal & Litigation Consulting Services, was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach, Austria, Switzerland, China and Australia.

    VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services (SaaS) and published quarterly digests.

    VREF provides valuations, appraisals and litigation consulting services to a world-wide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators and suppliers. VREF Aircraft Value Reference, Appraisal & Litigation Consulting Services plays a key role in advising decision makers within the aviation industry. 

    VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for the AOPA.

    For further enquiries or interviews please contact the VREF team.

    P: 844-303-VREF
    E: info@vref.com

    Jason Zilberbrand
    VREF
    3129610934
    email us here

    This press release was originally published by EINPresswire on June 3, 2019.


     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Leading Edge Aviation Solutions: Anything Can Happen - and Fast. see more

    NAFA member, Joseph Carfagna, Jr., President of Leading Edge Aviation Solutions, LLC, discusses how quickly things can change in the aviation industry.

    Just a year ago, Joseph L. Carfagna, Jr., President, Leading Edge Aviation Solutions, LLC told us, “These are the best conditions we’ve seen in eight years. The market has loosened up a bit, especially for the U.S. buyer. Prices are low, and sales activity has increased.”

    Now Joe reveals, “Rather than the market loosening up a bit, today may be the start of a market that’s as good as it’s ever been.” Why? “ In late May 2018, many factors are fundamentally different: I believe we’re going to look back on the third quarter of 2017 as the point where the market had bottomed and began to turn. In less than a year, excepting the oldest and least-desirable models, we shifted from a buy- er’s to a seller’s market. There is still a supply of pre-owned airplanes, but if the trend continues, the shortage in desirable airplanes will be very acute. It’s really something.”

    As he mentioned last year, this change is “...primarily driven by U.S. buyers. They’ve led the charge on this market change. There’s no huge surge of offshore buyers.” He added: “The value of the stock market drives the market for corporate airplanes.”

    So, why is this happening? And why, at this particular moment?

    “A few months after it felt like the recovery had begun,” Carfagna says, “Congress began discussing the tax plan that seemed like it was going to be favorable for the corporate jet owner.” This of course subsequently passed. The result? “This market has really turned around, and in an extremely short period of time. U.S. sales activity, especially, has ramped up steeply, which narrows the field of U.S. airplanes for sale. Manufactures must love it. You can’t help but be optimistic.”

    But with the price difference between new and used aircraft still quite wide, American buyers are increasingly looking at foreign-based aircraft, often from countries where maintenance and inspection do not mirror FAA conventions. “International sellers are coming out of the woodwork, selling to U.S. buyers,” Carfagna says. While this means there are more choices for buyers, it also opens a window of unfamiliarity.

    Carfagna whittles away that unfamiliar- ity by staying current on all sales and by passing that immediacy to the customers. “Leading Edge does the same preparatory type of consulting with clients prior to commencing with a sale or an acquisition. We give a lot of counsel about what needs to be done to get the best value for their money. An educated buyer or seller is empowered with knowledge and more likely to make good decisions. ‘What does a buyer notice?’ is a question for both parties.”

    In a pre-purchase inspection, buyers appreciate that, “We have a full-time director of maintenance available for on-site representation and, of course, to render expert opinion. Joe Esmerado, with his 50 years of experience, has intimate knowledge of most of the aircraft in the market and the experience to know what’s up with any new considerations.”

    What’s hot? Emphasizing that the market is volatile, Carfagna ventured some examples. “Late model, low time, large cabin intercontinental business jets, like the G550 and Global 6000 with the right interior configuration are hard to find. Falcon 2000LX, 900LX and Challenger 300/605 are right behind.” Tastes also change, affecting certain design features. “Range isn’t always a magic bullet. If the customer doesn't need intercontinental range, there are great large cabin and super midsize jets that can handle everything they need.”

    “U.S. buyers historically tend to shop U.S. registrations. The N registration remains the gold standard,” Carfagna adds. However, if a suitable U.S. registered aircraft cannot be located, Leading Edge knows where to look, and has plenty of experience and contacts abroad.

    “We provide legwork before we even get close to a pre-purchase inspection; we weed out the undesirable airplanes before you see them.” says Carfagna. “With airplanes from China, Russia, India, for a few non-exclusive examples, you must watch their condition closely. And yes, there are some good ones, but you must be vigilant to avoid problems and wasted motion.”

    And 2020 is coming. “An airplane that’s worth $1.5-$4 million but requires $300-$600k in upgrades--that’s a daunting proposition.” Carfagna says that the low prices of some well performing airplanes are superficially attractive; but what’s the plan for two years out? “A lot of older airplanes will simply stop being viable. There’s just nowhere they can go, and many of them will simply be taken out of service in 2020.”

    “We know that there is no better way to expand our customer base than by creating satisfied customers who realize we brought real value to the table.” Leading Edge Aviation Solutions facilitates nearly as many acquisitions as dispositions. “Aircraft sales, both sides, require a very hands-on, consultative process. Even the most-experienced buyers and sellers don’t see hundreds of transactions in their careers. But we do. In fact, some of our best clients are what the industry would consider the ‘most experienced.’ However, they appreciate the depth of knowledge and experience that Leading Edge can bring to a buy or sell transaction or their future aviation planning. A satisfied customer is a powerful asset because we are in the quintessential referral business. Our customers have friends and their friends rely on friends.”

    Customers, more now than ever, are looking at total cost of ownership, from search, through acquisition, operation, maintenance... to disposition. Leading Edge has stayed on top of this trend. Carfagna adds, “Everyone enjoys getting something ‘extra’ and having peace of mind about the decisions they make. Leading Edge Aviation Solutions together with key players in our industry have put together an exclusive aviation benefits package that provides an ‘extra’ as well

    as peace of mind for our clients. We call this exciting new program THE EDGE
    - Benefits Program. Through this, we have exclusive arrangements with several industry partners that provide discounts on services that corporate operators

    use. Most notably, we have an exclusive arrangement with ARGUS, providing clients who acquire their aircraft using our acquisition services with a valuable three-year bundled package of follow on services. The package consists of annual operational financial benchmarking for their operation, best practices audit-

    ing twice, and an annual market value analysis. This package provides clients with peace of mind, as well as providing extraordinary value.

    He says, “We help ensure that not only did they make a prudent purchase, but also that operational costs of running the airplane are in line and procedures follow good practices. This is valuable during ownership and to help in disposition planning. We’re taking out some of the uncertainty of what an airplane should cost throughout its service to our customers. It’s a very deep and comprehensive data gathering and analysis.” And one size doesn’t fit all. “In conjunction with ARGUS we examine costs regionally – costs vary tremendously from region to region, even airport to airport.”

    Advice?

    “Stay ahead of the looming year 2020 regulations – keep your fleet modern. This is a real deadline for compliance, and an extension to meet requirements is most unlikely. It’s now or never.”

    Of primary importance in a seller’s market, he says, “Make sure that on anything you do, get educated. Do the home- work.” Even so, a good broker is essential, and a time-saver. “The market ultimately is a pretty perfect thing. We listen to it carefully and interpret it. And we work hard to be sure we’re good at interpretation.”

    We have said this before, “Leading Edge doesn’t blame reality; Leading Edge listens to it, analyzes it and helps its clients deal with it effectively. We make sure clients are well-in- formed. Our personalized and professional customer service makes for satisfied clients.” Big isn’t everything. “We do plenty of business, but we make sure that clients are pleased. We’re not the biggest brokerage and acquisitions firm, but we’d like to think we’re as good as it gets, making sure that things are done right.”

    What’s it all about? “Our goal,” says Joe Carfagna Jr., “is simple--to use our knowledge and experience to build a base of very satisfied clients.” In the words of Albert Einstein “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

    This article was originally published by Leading Edge Aviation Solutions in their blog "The Cutting Edge".

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    The Realities of the Pilot Shortage see more

    NAFA member, Rene Banglesdorf, CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation, discusses how good pilots are hard to find and how the realities of the pilot shortage are starting to affect the aviation industry.

    Gone are the days when aviation departments sort through a huge stack of resumes for pilots – though a few still do. Nowadays, good pilots seem to be hard to find. And the realities of a pilot shortage are finally starting to affect the aviation industry.

    High pilot training costs, several years of earlier hiring freezes in top markets, and the threat of technology replacing pilots in the not-too-distant future has deterred the next generation of talent.

    By my math, the number of pilots retiring exceeds the number of new entrants by more than 100-percent – with an increasing demand from commercial, cargo and private operators. To us that signals a critical shortage – and if the airlines are feeling it sharply, general aviation will be too.

    Already we hear about American or Canadian pilots being recruited to the Middle East and Asia at salaries double or greater the averages in North America. Larger carriers are offering signing bonuses, 20-percent-plus pay increases and better benefits to attract and retain experienced pilots.

    Boeing’s job forecast

    In its most recent jobs forecast, Boeing indicated an unprecedented 20-year demand for pilots at 790,000 – double the current workforce. And according to their report, 80,000 pilots in the US alone will age out in that same timeframe.

    “Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labour supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near-term,” said Keith Cooper, Vice President of Training & Professional Services, Boeing Global Services. “An emphasis on developing the next generation of pilots is key to help mitigate this. With a network of training campuses and relationships with flight schools around the globe, Boeing partners with customers, governments and educational institutions to help ensure the market is ready to meet this significant pilot demand.”

    To this end, Boeing touts its Pilot Development Program – an accelerated training program that guides future pilots from early stage ab-initio training through type rating as a first officer – to help operators meet their growing pilot needs.

    That’s great for companies or people operating Boeing’s aircraft, but it may not factor down into providing a pipeline of pilots for general aviation, especially piston or turboprop operators.

    The competition is on

    Regional airlines have doubled starting salaries and bonuses in recent years, which heralds stiff competition for lower-time pilots, as regional airlines typically serve as time and tenure builders for younger pilots.

    Private aviation flight departments are getting more competitive as well. Recent news of airline compensation increases has encouraged some firms to bump salaries by 30 or 50 per cent to avoid pilot turnover.

    The pilot shortage that’s affecting commercial and private aviation is affecting the military, as well, as fighter pilots are leaving the military in droves for cushier, better-paying jobs in commercial and private aviation.

    “Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labour supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near-term.” ~Keith Cooper

    In order to compete with the airlines and private flight departments, the military is taking steps to improve benefits to their pilots in addition to increasing pay, including more cockpit time, increased flexibility in assignments, more career options, and shorter deployments.

    Many flight departments and airlines are doing the same.

    While I’m all for more competition among operators – especially with my daughter in expensive flight training – the bigger question here is how can we make training less cumbersome or costly?

    Flight schools

    Flight schools, like Flight Safety International, where my daughter is in training for her airline transport pilot (ATP) license, are competing for certified flight instructors to keep up with demand for training. When there aren’t enough instructors, training is delayed, pilot trainees are discouraged, and expenses increase – all deterrents to increasing the numbers of pilots entering the workforce.

    According to a 2017 study conducted by CAE, a civil aviation training provider, the global airline industry will require 255,000 new pilots in order to meet the demand of airline growth and pilot attrition over the next 10 years. “The largest requirement will come from the Asia-Pacific region which alone will need 90,000 new pilots, followed by the Americas which will need 85,000,” said Kinda Sarrage, Regional Sales Manager for the Middle East, Northern Africa and South Asia.

    “The largest requirement will come from the Asia-Pacific region which alone will need 90,000 new pilots, followed by the Americas which will need 85,000.” ~Kinda Sarrage

    “Many regions have been experiencing a higher than usual turnover of experienced pilots or captains leaving them for the Asian carriers as they offer more competitive packages, tax benefits, and flexible work rotations. To compensate for this loss, airlines should establish second officer recruitment schemes. Though some airlines have begun implementing programs to attract lower hour pilots, it is at a much slower rate than that which is required. If airlines established such programs several years ago, they would have a steady pipeline of first officers coming through that would be upgradable to captains today. The reality is that the pool of available captains is shrinking, and this is becoming apparent as airlines struggle to recruit and train pilots to meet their demands,” Sarrage said.

    SARA Act

    In the US, Senators James Inhofe and Tammy Duckworth are co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation aimed at helping the general aviation community.

    The Securing and Revitalizing Aviation (SARA) Act of 2018 (S.3270) calls for the creation of an Aircraft Pilot Education Program that would allow high school students to get a head start on their flying careers by taking aviation-related courses for credit, according to a press release from the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA).

    The bill also includes reforms to existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations to ease the shortage of qualified designated pilot examiners (DPE) needed for initial and recurrent pilot training.

    Additional provisions would enhance existing due process protections for pilots; extend limited liability coverage for FAA designees performing agency duties, but who are not covered under immunities for government employees, as well as for pilots performing volunteer missions; and grant the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) the authority to review denials of airman certificates by the FAA.

    AOPA

    The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has worked diligently for years for medical requirements reform, facilitating the renewal of licenses for more than 5,000 “rusty” pilots.

    The AOPA You Can Fly High School Initiative ninth-grade STEM curriculum was tested in 29 high schools during the 2017-2018 school year. It has proved popular with teachers and students alike because it engages youth with hands-on activities and exposes them to the world of aviation and potential careers. The program, created in partnership with educators, curriculum developers, and aviation experts, offers four-year study options in aviation career pathways and is aligned with rigorous math and science educational standards already in use.

    Each of us should be working toward attracting as many pilots and mechanics as possible to aviation –and then working to keep them here!

    General aviation flight departments are beginning to awaken to a reality that pilot salaries, bonuses and flexibility are changing. What are you doing to adapt?

    Rene Banglesdorf is the CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation, a worldwide aircraft brokerage based in Austin, Texas. She is an author, speaker and podcast host.

    This article was originally published in Altitudes Magazine on October 14, 2018.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    GAMA shares good news from the U.S. House of Representatives for the general aviation industry. see more

    NAFA member, GAMA shares good news for the general aviation industry from the U.S. House of Representatives.  

    Washington, DC –– The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing legislation authorizing the programs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years and advancing key priorities for the general aviation manufacturing and maintenance industry.

    “We are thrilled to see a long-term FAA reauthorization bill that will strengthen the general aviation industry, mandate needed reforms, and provide certainty for the entire aviation sector,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “We thank the House of Representatives and the bipartisan leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), for their work on this important legislation. We encourage the U.S. Senate to pass the measure expeditiously.”

    H.R. 302, which authorizes the FAA through September 30, 2023, includes numerous provisions that will improve aviation safety, streamline regulatory burdens, strengthen job creation, encourage competitiveness and innovation, and stimulate exports. Specifically, the bill:

    • Requires the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary establish a Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee that includes representatives of commercial and general aviation, including aircraft, engine, and avionics manufacturers, and maintenance, repair and overhaul organizations. The Committee’s work will focus on certification and regulatory process reform, safety management systems, rulemaking improvements and enhancing global competitiveness;
    • Strengthens the effectiveness of the Organizational Designation Authorization (ODA) process and oversight to enhance the predictability and efficiency of the certification process for new products and technology;
    • Sends a clear message to the FAA to improve safety cooperation with international partners, facilitate improvements and end delays in the validation and acceptance of aviation products;
    • Requires the FAA establish a comprehensive regulatory database and a Regulatory Communications Consistency Board to reduce regulatory inconsistency at the agency;
    • Calls for the FAA to establish a Task Force on Flight Standards Reform to help drive needed improvements in the FAA Flight Standards Office. The Task Force includes manufacturers and will look at how the certification, operational evaluation and entry into service of newly manufactured aircraft can be improved;
    • Asks the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of the FAA’s Part 23 rulemaking implementation to ensure the agency is working with industry to maximize the rulemaking’s effectiveness;  
    • Mandates the FAA Aircraft Registry Office in Oklahoma City remain open in the event of a government shutdown or emergency furlough; and
    • Addresses the aviation workforce shortage by establishing a ‘Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force’ and a ‘Women in Aviation Advisory Board’; directs the GAO to initiate a study on the current and future supply of aviation and aerospace workforce; and establishes a pilot grant program to train pilots and maintenance and technical workers.

    For additional information, please contact Sarah McCann, GAMA Director of Communications, at +1 (202) 637-1375 or smccann@gama.aero.

    This original article was published by GAMA on September 26, 2018.

     September 27, 2018
  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Charting New Directions in the Life Cycle of Private Aviation Usage see more

    NAFA member Amanda Applegate, Partner with AERLEX Law Group, discusses the life cycle of private aviation usage.

    When I began my career in the aviation industry 20 years ago, the “life cycle” of private aviation consumers was fairly straightforward and predictable: first, they sampled non-commercial aircraft travel by chartering, then they moved into fractional ownership and, eventually, whole aircraft ownership if the demand existed. Later in the life cycle, when the consumer’s travel decreased, they moved back into fractional ownership and
    eventually returned full circle to charter. Typically, a consumer would rely on a single provider at a given time until that provider could no longer satisfy their requirements.

    For a variety of reasons, this conventional life cycle of the private aviation buyer no longer exists. There has been a revolution in private aviation options and platforms, creating many new alternatives that did not exist 20 years ago. This has led to a decrease in brand loyalty by private aviation users. Also, many first-time aircraft buyers have not flown privately for an extended period of time and often skip the fractional ownership step. Additionally, many private aviation consumers have become much savvier and depend on a combination of multiple aviation solutions to fulfill their various travel needs.

    WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
    When a private aviation buyer finds herself in any one or more of the following scenarios: considering private aviation for the first time, looking for an alternative option to a current provider, contemplating whole aircraft ownership, or resolving dissatisfaction with a current service provider, there is no standard answer as to what program or option would be best. There are many factors to consider when selecting one or more private aviation products and the consumer does not often have the time to fully explore the multitude of available options. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

    1. Number of hours flown per year
    2. Destinations
    3. Importance placed on the age of the aircraft
    4. Length of flight segments
    5. Ratio of roundtrip vs. one-way travel
    6. Number of passengers
    7. Peak time traveler or business week traveler
    8. Acceptable service level (on time performance, working entertainment systems, interior condition and amenities)

    Given the complexities of the offerings in today’s aviation market and the limited research time available to most consumers, it is often advisable to hire a consultant who charges by the hour (not on commission). The consultant can help the buyer consider the key factors mentioned, explore the various options and evaluate the solution that makes the most sense for the customer’s mission. When selecting the consultant, it is important to confirm that they do not receive any referral fees or other types of compensation by referring one program over another. The buyer must be sure the consultant is making their recommendation based solely upon the client’s best interests.

    It seems that almost monthly there is a new aviation program or offering that I am hearing about for the first time or a new permutation on an old program. It is sometimes exhausting to keep up with all of the changes that are occurring in the marketplace. However, even if you read all of the marketing literature, you can’t truly understand a program, the “enhancements” it offers and the performance of the provider unless you place multiple users into a specific program on a regular basis. That is why an experienced consultant can bring tremendous value to a buyer evaluating private aviation solutions. And as I always remind my private aviation clients, please don’t simply select the program that your friend uses unless your friend has the exact same travel needs and service level expectations. You may be setting yourself up for a costly disappointment.

    There is no longer a typical life cycle pattern for the consumer of private aviation. Take the time to evaluate all the options available and chart your own path based on the solutions that best suit your unique travel needs.

    The original article was published on March 28, 2018 in BusinessAir Magazine, March 2018, Volume 28, No. 3.

     September 18, 2018