Used Aircraft Maintenance Analysis – January 2020 see more
NAFA member, Tony Kioussis, President of Asset Insight, discusses which business aircraft showed the most improvement and deterioration in terms of their maintenance exposure to ask price ratio during January 2020, and what the market factors impacting those models were.
During January 2020, the average Ask Price for aircraft in Asset Insight’s revised, and substantially expanded, tracked fleet increased 16.8%. Which models were impacted the most? Tony Kioussis explores.
In January, Asset Insight expanded the number of aircraft in its tracked fleet of 134 fixed-wing models, and the new inventory mix posted a 1.6% unit decrease to 2,147 aircraft for sale, compared to the 2,182 assets comprising the same make/model list in December.
Asset quality improved 1.3% during the month, from December’s 5.206 to 5.272, a 12-month best figure that moved the Quality Rating from ‘Very Good’ into the ‘Excellent’ range on our scale of -2.5 to 10.
Additionally, at $1.332m, Maintenance Exposure (an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense) posted the lowest (best) 12-month figure for the second consecutive month.
January’s Aircraft Value Trends
During January, the average Ask Price for aircraft in the expanded fleet increased 16.8%, with all four groups contributing.
- Medium Jets led the way through an increase of 22.7%
- Large Jets were a close second rising 22.4%
- Turboprop Ask Prices increased 10.2%
- Small Jets increased 1.6%.
January’s Fleet for Sale Trends
The total number of used aircraft listed for sale decreased 1.6%, although this comprised a larger overall fleet size by virtue of the increase in tracked models. Total tracked inventory decreased 35 units with individual group figures breaking down as follows:
- Large Jet inventory: Increased 0.9% (+4 units since December 2019)
- Medium Jet inventory: Decreased 7.0% (+46)
- Small Jet Inventory: Increased 5.9% (+38) and
- Turboprop inventory: Decreased 6.9% (+31)
January’s Maintenance Exposure Trends
Maintenance Exposure (an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense) decreased 1% to post a 12-month low figure in January. Individual results were as follows:
- Large Jets: Increased (worsened) by 2%, based on January’s expanded fleet mix;
- Medium Jets: Maintenance Exposure improved (decreased) 1.7%;
- Small Jets: Worsened by increasing 6.5% due, in part, to the new fleet mix;
- Turboprops: Improved by 10.5% as a result of the new models added in January.
January’s ETP Ratio Trend
The latest fleet mix increased (worsened) the average ETP Ratio to 72%, from December’s 64.8%, but Turboprops posted a respectable improvement (decrease).
The ETP Ratio calculates an aircraft's Maintenance Exposure as it relates to the Ask Price. This is achieved by dividing an aircraft's Maintenance Exposure (the financial liability accrued with respect to future scheduled maintenance events) by the aircraft's Ask Price.
As the ETP Ratio decreases, the asset's value increases (in relation to the aircraft's price). ‘Days on Market’ analysis has shown that when the ETP Ratio is greater than 40%, a listed aircraft’s Days on the Market (DoM) increase, in many cases by more than 30%.
During Q4 2019, aircraft whose ETP Ratio was 40% or greater were listed for sale nearly 84% longer than assets with an ETP Ratio below 40% (215 versus 395 DoM). How did each group fare during January?
- Turboprops held the top (best) spot by a wide margin posting the lowest ETP Ratio, 42.6% (a 12-month low/best figure for this group and a substantive improvement on December’s 52.1%);
- Large Jets held on to second place, but the 70.7% Ratio represented the group’s record high (worst) figure;
- Small Jets captured third position but worsened from December’s 67.3% to 76.8%;
- Medium Jets took last place while posting the group’s record low (worst) figure of 87.4% compared to December’s 75.5%.
Excluding models whose ETP Ratio was over 200% during one of the previous two months (considered outliers), following is a breakdown of the business jet and turboprop models that fared the best and worst during January 2020.
Most Improved Models
Four of the ‘Most Improved’ models posted a Maintenance Exposure decrease (improvement), while the Hawker 1000A and the Falcon 900 experienced a Maintenance Exposure increase. Excepting the Citation VI, which had no Ask Price change, the remaining five models experienced price increases as follows:
- Hawker 1000A $264,250
- Beech King Air C90 $17,714
- Cessna Citation ISP $14,409
- Gulfstream GIV $189,141
- Dassault Falcon 900 $1,700,000
The Hawker 1000A captured top spot on the ‘Most Improved’ list, following its third place showing on December’s list after occupying the ‘Most Deteriorated’ slot in November. No transactions were posted for January, but two transactions were confirmed for December after we closed out that month.
There were nine assets listed for sale at the end of January, equating to 22.5% of the active fleet. The model earned its top spot via a 17.6% ETP Ratio improvement thanks to a Maintenance Exposure decrease approaching $13k, along with a substantial Ask Price ‘increase’, but only because the two least expensive aircraft were the ones that changed ownership.
Seller Advice: With current listings averaging an Ask Price 53% higher than December’s average trading value, along with an average ETP Ratio of 91.4%, sellers should carefully consider offers that, on first blush, may appear to be low.
Cessna Citation VI
The Citation VI took second place on January’s ‘Most Improved’ list thanks to a Maintenance Exposure decrease exceeding $170k that played well with no change in the model’s Ask Price.
One aircraft transacted in January, and the seven inventory units amount to 20% of the active fleet for sale. With an ETP Ratio exceeding 115%, sellers need to be sure before turning down any offers. Buyers are likely to be few and far between.
Beechcraft King Air C90
This model posted four transactions in January and 43 units remained for sale (10.8% of the active fleet). The King Air C90 joined the Most Improved list due to a 14.5% ETP Ratio improvement, and this was thanks to a Maintenance Exposure reduction approaching $53k and an Ask Price increase.
Although the C90 fleet is between 38 and 49 years of age, this aircraft continues to enjoy a decent following. Its current ETP Ratio of 113.2% will create difficult decisions for some sellers, but there is sufficient market interest for most owners to find buyers, assuming they are realistic about the market’s view of their asset’s value.
Cessna Citation ISP
The Citation ISP found itself in this same position in November, and was on the ‘Most Deteriorated’ list in December. The 13.1% ETP Ratio improvement resulted from a near $66k decrease in Maintenance Exposure, along with an Ask Price increase exceeding $14k.
Four transactions were posted in January, but 55 units were listed for sale at the end of the month (19.6% of the active fleet). The model’s current 94.3% ETP Ratio places buyers squarely in the driving seat.
Two aircraft joined the ‘for sale’ fleet in January, and with no transactions being posted, inventory rose to 25 units (14.3% of the active fleet). The model has demonstrated resilience over the past few years and earned its place on this list by virtue of an $18k Maintenance Exposure decrease along with an Ask Price increase exceeding $189k.
However, at 27 to 34 years of age, and carrying an ETP Ratio of 131.5%, one wonders how much longer GIV aircraft that are not covered by an engine Hourly Cost Maintenance Program will be truly marketable.
Dassault Falcon 900
The final model joined this month’s ‘Most Improved’ list on technical grounds and proved, yet again, why small fleets can create misleading statistics. No Falcon 900s transacted in January, the lone December inventory aircraft was withdrawn, and two other units entered the for-sale fleet.
These changes led to a $338k Maintenance Exposure increase, but a whopping $1.7m Ask Price increase helped secure a place for the Falcon 900 on the list. The problem is, the latest listings are priced over 60% higher than the withdrawn aircraft, making the Ask Pricing difficult to achieve while also artificially enhancing the group’s ETP Ratio.
Hope is never a well-founded strategy.
Most Deteriorated Models
All six models on January’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ list registered a Maintenance Exposure increase. The Cessna Citation II and the Gulfstream GV posted an Ask Price increase of $5,504 and $249,167, respectively. The remaining models registered the following decreases:
- Hawker 800A -$64,968
- Bombardier Global Express -$426,250
- Piaggio P-180 -$58,696
- Dassault Falcon 900B -$367,500
January’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ model posted no transactions during the month, and the 33 units listed for sale accounted for 14.3% of the active fleet. To achieve its position on this list, the Hawker 800A posted a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $149k, and an Ask Price reduction approaching $65k.
With a listed fleet ETP Ratio of 191%, any seller whose aircraft engines are not enrolled on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Program is likely to keep flying their aircraft until it reaches the salvage yard.
Cessna Citation II
The Citation II was second-best on the ‘Most Improved’ list in December, so how did it get here one month on? A Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $93k was the primary culprit, but its problems do not stop there.
Two units transacted in January, one was withdrawn from inventory, and five more aircraft joined the fleet to offer buyers a selection of 95 assets (18.5% of the active fleet) sporting an ETP Ratio of 108.8%.
Seller Advice: If an offer comes your way, consider it a gift no matter how small!
Bombardier Global Express
This model occupied top spot on our ‘Most Improved’ list last month, but inventory changes through additions and withdrawals increased Maintenance Exposure over $1.1m, and an Ask Price reduction exceeding $426k certainly didn’t help.
On a positive note, the model’s 13 listings equate to only 9% of the active fleet, and its ETP Ratio of 68.8% will make many of these aircraft quite marketable, especially if they are enrolled on an engine Hourly Cost Maintenance Program.
Note: As we pointed out last month, the Bombardier Global Express still has plenty of financial and operating life remaining, along with a strong following. For this reason, many current and potential owners are considering upgrading their asset utilizing the JANUS Modernization Program, a decision that could add substantial value to the aircraft while making it virtually indistinguishable from a new production unit, particularly with respect to passenger amenities.
The market has not been kind to this model, which is unfortunate considering its cabin size, low interior noise level, and speed for a turboprop. No transactions were reported in January, while the three additions to inventory increased buyer selection to 14 units, or 16.7% of the active fleet.
The aircraft’s 115.9% ETP Ratio, created through a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $75k and an Ask Price drop of nearly $59k, is undoubtedly challenging sellers. Buyers are firmly in the driving seat here as well.
Dassault Falcon 900B
One aircraft transacted in January and two were withdrawn from inventory, leaving 12 units listed for sale (8% of the active fleet). Unfortunately, those inventory changes increased Maintenance Exposure by nearly $247k, while Ask Price fell approximately $368k, landing the model on this list.
With an ETP Ratio of 45%, most of these aircraft are infinitely marketable, especially if their engines are enrolled on HCMP.
Even though the GV posted an Ask Price increase in January, the model could not overcome a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $1.1m, created through the withdrawal from inventory of two assets and no sales transactions. The GV thereby found its way to this list after occupying sixth place on the ‘Most Improved’ group in December.
With only 12 units listed for sale (6.3% of the active fleet), an ETP Ratio averaging 41.4%, the aircraft’s superb operating capabilities, and the market following for this model, most sellers should have the ability to extract good value from the sale of their asset.
The Seller’s Challenge
It is important to understand that the ETP Ratio has more to do with buyer and seller dynamics than it does with either the asset’s accrued maintenance or its price. For any aircraft, maintenance can accrue only so far before work must be completed.
But as an aircraft’s value decreases, there will come a point when the accrued maintenance figure equates to more than 40% of the aircraft’s ask price. When a prospective buyer adjusts their offer to address this accrued maintenance, the figure is all-too-often considered unacceptable to the seller and a deal is not reached.
It is not until an aircraft undergoes some major maintenance that a seller is sufficiently motivated to accept a lower figure, or a buyer is willing to pay a higher price and the aircraft transacts, ultimately.
A wise seller needs to consider the potential marketability impact early maintenance might have on their aircraft, as well as its enrollment on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Program where more than half of their model’s in-service fleet is enrolled on one.
Sellers also need to carefully weigh any offer from a prospective buyer against the loss in value of their aircraft for sale as the asset spends more days on the market awaiting a better offer while simultaneously accruing a higher maintenance figure.
This report was originally published by AvBuyer on February 17, 2020.
What Does it Cost to Operate a Large Cabin Jet? see more
NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses the costs associated with operating a large cabin jet.
Any answer to questions asking what it costs to operate an aircraft must always start with, “it depends”. The following article discusses some of the dependent variables.
For the purpose of our discussion, Conklin & de Decker defines Large Cabin Jets as those that typically seat 10+ passengers, have a flat cabin floor, include a galley for preparing a hot meal, and a lavatory. Cabin height should allow for most people to stand up without much of a stoop (i.e., approximately 70 inches). And range should allow for at least 3,000nm non-stop.
Aircraft typical of this category are the Gulfstream GIV and G450 series; the Dassault Falcon 900 series; the Bombardier Challenger 600 (through 650) series; and Embraer’s new Praetor 600.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Large Cabin Jet?
Acquisition costs for new models in the Large Cabin Jet category run between $32m to $45m. Pre-owned prices vary as many of these models will have been in production for many years. However, a typical 20- year-old Large Cabin Jet can be purchased for between $4m and $6m.
Keep in mind that placing a pre-owned aircraft into service will probably require additional funds, and a buyer may elect to spend a further $1m to $2m on upgrades, paint and interior refurbishment.
Major maintenance checks may be due soon and must be budgeted for at the time of purchase. If the engines are close to overhaul and are not enrolled on a guaranteed hourly maintenance plan, then buyers should budget another $1m+ per engine for the overhaul. It’s essential that the pre-owned Large Cabin Jet buyer plans on these major expenses.
What’s the Operating Cost of a Large Cabin Jet?
Operating costs depends on the size and age of the aircraft. Below are some illustrative averages for a Large Cabin Jet, taken from the Conklin & de Decker Report. These have been rounded-off:
- Average variable cost per hour: $4,000
- Fuel*: $2,000
- Maintenance: $1,200
- Parts, Labor, Major Maintenance Reserves
- Engine Reserves: $800
(* Fuel cost depend on fuel price (per gallon) and fuel burn.)
What are the Data Costs of a Large Cabin Jet?
Another variable cost to budget for is Wi-Fi or airborne internet. The ultimate costs will vary, based on the type of connection, speed and amount of data used, and where you fly. If flying in the US, you could use an air-to-ground (ATG) system connected to cellular towers.
Large Cabin Jets are typically used to fly globally, however, and if flying over water or in remote regions, maintaining internet connectivity will require a satellite-based system.
There are different installation and rate plan options designed to fit the needs of both the passengers and pilots. New installations for a satellite system can run anywhere from $650k to $800k.
Monthly rates based on data used and download speeds can start at $25,000 per month. An approximate data estimate is $2,000 to download a movie in HD or $4,000 to stream a live sporting event.
What are the Fixed Costs of Large Cabin Jet Ownership?
Fixed costs of Large Cabin jet ownership typically run between $1m and $1.2m per year and include the following:
Here’s how the costs for these elements looks:
1) Salaries: The pay for two pilots ranges from $170,000 to $200,000 per pilot, depending on job duties and level of experience. Depending on your operating location and travel schedule, it may be wise to employ an aircraft maintenance engineer/technician on a salary of $80,000+ per year.
And if the schedule is complex, involving frequent changes and multiple individuals who can authorize use of the aircraft, a flight scheduler is recommended as well as an administrative person. Their salaries can be in the region of $60,000 per year.
2) Training: Pilots need training at least annually and that can cost between $75,000 to $80,000 for two crew members.
3) Hangar: For hangar rental, plan on an annual fee between $50,000 and $60,000 for a typical metropolitan area. Premium locations, like New York City, Hong Kong and Geneva, will be significantly higher.
4) Insurance: This can range between $30,000 to $60,000 depending on the aircraft value and liability limits. If the aircraft spends a lot of time outside of developed countries, those costs may increase substantially.
5) Refurbishment: Paint and interior should also be considered. A new interior and paint job may last from seven to nine years with excellent care. Depending on the level of completion, materials and extra features, you should budget approximately $1.2m to $2m for this work.
Additional costs that can be incurred include acquiring aircraft technical publications for the flight crew and additional maintenance, office and travel expenses.
What’s the Overall Cost of Owning a Large Cabin Jet?
In summary, it’s reasonable to plan an operating budget of approximately $2.8m per year for 400 annual hours operations in a Large Cabin business jet, excluding the costs of capital, taxes and depreciation.
This article was originally published by AvBuyer on January 13, 2020.
Ain’t Nobody’s Business see more
NAFA member, Edward Kammerer, with Greenberg Traurig, discusses aircraft ownership privacy and security.
When asked why you use business aircraft, you likely would list “security” and privacy” among your top reasons. These legitimate and valid concerns include industrial security, personal security, a desire to keep trips and destinations confidential, and a good old fashioned sense of MYOB.
Many owners go to great lengths to keep the identity of their aircraft and their flying patterns hidden from view. However, despite owners’ best efforts, prying eyes easily can detect and track aircraft and identify their owners. Information available at the FAA Registry and other publicly available government filings, as well as aircraft information websites and services, make aircraft ownership information and destinations easy to obtain.
How Private and Secure is Your Aircraft?
Many aircraft are owned in LLCs formed just for this purpose. While the names of such LLCs may intentionally obfuscate the identify of the aircraft’s “true owner,” public information regarding the ownership and management of such LLCs often point to a company or individual owner. Additionally, services such as JetNet and Amstat are very effective at revealing an aircraft’s “true ownership.”
Contrary to what many think, taking title to an aircraft in an “Owner Trust” does not protect the owner’s identity. The name of the beneficiary of an Owner Trust must be disclosed in the aircraft’s publicly available registration documents. The use of a so-called “Double Trust Structure” can be effective to shield an owner’s identity. A Double Trust uses an Owner Trust with a second trust as the beneficial owner of the Owner Trust. The name of the second trust is a matter of public record, but the name of true owner of the second trust is hidden. Even with a Double Trust, the identity of the true owner can be discovered if the owners are not vigilant.
Anyone with an internet connection can track an aircraft simply by typing a tail number into aircraft tracking websites such as Flightaware.com or various other “plane spotter” websites.
The January 1 requirement that aircraft update their navigation tracking systems to ADS-B standards makes following aircraft movements an option for anyone with readily available and inexpensive equipment. Fortunately, the FAA and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) recently announced a program which will allow an owner to block public tracking of real-time positioning and identification information for ADS-B compliant aircraft.
What Can You Do?
While there are no fail-safe methods of keeping your aircraft’s ownership and movements secure, there are several precautionary measures which you can take to help preserve privacy and security.
- Avoid the use of vanity tail numbers and identifying marks on your aircraft which may provide telltale clues to ownership.
- Carefully monitor the identity of signatories to public documents. The identity of the “true owner” of an aircraft can be disclosed by cross-referencing the names of LLC documents to the “true owner” through websites such as LinkedIn. Documents filed at the FAA, such as tail number reservations and re-assignment, can help a determined investigator connect the dots between the true owner and the actual registrant.
- Double Trust structures, if properly formed and vigilantly monitored, can help protect your identity.
- By making an Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (f/k/a as NBAA’s “BARR Program”) blocking request, owners and operators can opt out of having their aircraft information broadcast over the internet.
- Sign up for the NBAA/FAA Program which allows your ADS-B tracking data to be broadcast in a format which is not readily accessible to the public.
Modern technology makes keeping your aircraft’s identity and location private and secure more difficult than ever. However, by taking a few simple precautions, you can shield your identity and aircraft movements from your competition, the media, those with political motivations, and the curious general public.
This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on January 1, 2020.
The Closing: The Final Step to Completing the Aircraft Acquisition! see more
NAFA member, Amanda Applegate, Partner, Aerlex Law Group, discusses steps to completing your aircraft purchase.
At long last, you have found the aircraft that fits your needs, the pre-purchase inspection is complete and the discrepancies have been remedied. It is now time for the closing. What does this mean and what needs to be done? For many first-time aircraft buyers, they think the closing will be a long drawn out event. However, I tell all of my clients that the closing should be a non-event and if all of the work has been done in advance, the actual closing should take less than 10 minutes. Once the purchase agreement is executed, a closing checklist should be developed to track all of the deliverables needed through closing. Here is a list of the important items that need to be accomplished shortly before closing:
1. Aircraft Positioning –
The purchase agreement should identify the delivery location and who is required to pay the movement costs, if any. The closing cannot occur until the aircraft arrives at the delivery location and in the required delivery condition.
2. Closing Documents –
There is an actual filing window at the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) registry in Oklahoma City, OK. All of the closing documents should be pre-positioned with the escrow agent in Oklahoma City, as the escrow agent will be responsible for filing the applicable documents with the FAA. As the buyer, the required FAA closing documents are a registration application FAA Form 8050-1, a statement in support of registration if the purchasing entity is a limited liability company, lender documents if applicable, and a declaration of international operations if there is an upcoming international trip. As the seller, the required FAA closing documents are a bill of sale FAA Form 8050-2, as well as any lien releases if necessary. Additionally, the buyer and seller will each need an active transacting user entity account with the international registry in order to register the contract of sale at closing. Further, the purchase agreement more than likely requires other non-FAA closing documents, such as a delivery receipt and warranty bill of sale.
3. Insurance –
During the purchase process an insurance carrier should have been selected and a determination on the amount of coverage required. Shortly before closing, insurance should be bound and the buyer should receive and review the certificate of insurance. If the aircraft is financed or managed by a third party, these parties will have specific insurance requirements which need to be evidenced on separate insurance certificates.
4. Maintenance Programs and subscriptions –
If the aircraft is enrolled in any maintenance programs or subscription services, the third party providers must be contacted to confirm the account is in good standing, paid in full and transferrable upon closing.
5. Closing Statement –
The escrow agent will prepare a final accounting statement based on the terms of the purchase agreement and information provided by the parties. The statement will usually include the purchase price and any other fees due under the purchase agreement or to third parties, such as brokers. Any movement costs or similar expenses should be calculated a few days prior to closing and agreed upon by the parties prior to the day of closing.
6. Inspection Facility Invoice –
Oddly this is an item that can often cause a delay in closing. The aircraft cannot depart the inspection facility for the delivery location until all invoices are paid. However, invoices can’t be paid until they are final. The invoices from the inspection facility are very detailed and often take a long time to get into final form. Once received they must be reviewed in detail since certain costs are buyer costs and other costs are seller costs as dictated by the purchase agreement.
7. Tax plan –
The tax planning at the federal and state level for the acquisition should have been completed while the pre-purchase inspection was occurring. At closing, the tax plan should be implemented.
All of the items above can be accomplished in the days leading up to closing. If done properly the actual closing is a series of emails or a conference call with all parties lasting less than 10 minutes!
This article was originally published by BusinessAir Magazine, The Latest, on November 19, 2019.
Structuring an Aircraft Sale to a Flight School see more
NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, answers your aviation finance questions.
Q: Hi Adam, I’m the owner of a 77 B-55 Baron. My local flight school is interested in purchasing it but is unable to finance. Any ideas on how to structure a sale?
A: If the flight school is unable to secure financing through an SBA loan or other means, seller financing might be an option. With AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services added to your membership you will have access to consultation with one of our panel attorneys. They would be able to help set up the appropriate contracts to facilitate the sale.
Q: I'm an AOPA member that recently purchased an airplane in Missouri and brought it back to North Carolina two days after purchase. I intend to eventually incorporate business use into my flight time, but for now the use is personal. I have two questions: What sales tax can I expect to pay on this purchase, and from what state would I be taxed? I intend to upgrade avionics for ADS-B requirements. If I incorporate business use into my flying before the avionics purchase, is any of this deductible or do I need to put it under an LLC before this happens?
A: For tax-related questions your CPA would be able to provide the appropriate answers. Additionally, AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services has in house attorneys that specialize in aviation tax law. Adding PPS to your membership will give you access to these attorneys.
This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on October 23, 2019.
Insurance Will Not Cover An Unqualified Pilot in Command see more
NAFA member, Greg Reigel, Partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, discusses aircraft insurance coverage regarding an unqualified pilot in command.
If you buy insurance to cover the aircraft you own or fly, you want to make sure the policy covers you and your aircraft if you ever have a problem. It is important to understand that your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurer. That contract has terms and conditions that spell out the rights and responsibilities of both you the aircraft owner and/or pilot and the insurer.
As you may be aware, if an aircraft owner and/or pilot does not comply with the requirements of the insurance contract, the insurer can deny coverage. This can sometimes lead to arguments between the insurance company and the insured aircraft owner or pilot.
This was the situation in one recent case in which the insurance company denied coverage to an aircraft owner whose aircraft was destroyed during an emergency landing. In Hund v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh (D. Kan., 2019), the aircraft owner was flying his aircraft along with another pilot. During the flight the aircraft’s engine experienced a loss of power and the other pilot—who was piloting the plane at the time—told the aircraft owner “your airplane,” at which point the aircraft owner assumed the role of pilot in command and attempted to restart the engine. Unfortunately, the aircraft owner was unable to restart the engine and was forced to perform the emergency landing that resulted in the destruction of the aircraft. After the accident, the aircraft owner submitted a claim to his insurer for the value of his aircraft.
In determining whether to pay the claim, the insurer looked to the insurance policy which addressed coverage for both the aircraft owner as a named insured, and for other pilots operating the aircraft. The policy conditioned coverage on compliance with the policy’s “Pilots Endorsement” which required, unsurprisingly, that the pilot in command have a valid FAA pilot certificate, a current and valid FAA medical certificate, if required, and a current and valid flight review.
Unfortunately, neither the aircraft owner nor the other pilot satisfied these conditions: The aircraft owner possessed a current flight review, but not a current medical certificate; the other pilot did not have a current flight review. Although these facts were undisputed, the aircraft owner argued that 14 C.F.R. § 91.3(b) suspended the policy requirements during an in-flight emergency, which he and the other pilot faced during the emergency landing.
14 C.F.R. § 91.3(b) provides that “[i]n an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.” Specifically, the aircraft owner argued that § 91.3(b)’s emergency rule was in effect when he assumed control from the other pilot, and the emergency rules “suspended all other rules” except to do what is necessary to respond to the emergency. The insurer didn’t agree, and neither did the Court when the aircraft owner sued his insurer for denying his claim.
The Court initially observed that Section 91.3(b) allows a pilot in command to “deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.” It then concluded that Section 91.3(b) applied only to the rules in Part 91, and not the regulations governing pilot qualifications in 14 C.F.R. Part 61.
Makes sense to me. Certainly, the aircraft owner’s argument was creative. But I agree that the plain language of the insurance policy and the regulations are inconsistent with that argument.
The moral of the story? If you are going to act as pilot in command, make sure you satisfy both the applicable regulations, as well as the requirements of any insurance policy covering the aircraft you are flying.
This article was originally published by Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, on April 1, 2019.
Aircraft Operating Costs: How to Measure Them see more
NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President at Conklin & de Decker, discusses where some of the common mistakes are made when comparing the operating cost of one business aircraft against another and how data can be used to give a true apples-to-apples comparison.
When comparing business aircraft operating costs, data from multiple sources is likely to provide inconsistent results. Your first consideration should be the quality of the data and where it is from.
A quality supplier of cost data should explain where and how their costs were calculated.
- Good cost data should clarify whether you are looking at the operating costs for a new aircraft or a used model;
- It should detail how many years the costs are projected (for example, a five-year budget will differ significantly from a 10-year budget);
- You also need to establish if the costs only cover scheduled maintenance during the projected period, or whether they accrue for other maintenance and unscheduled maintenance.
How Does Utilization Affect Operating Cost?
Many aircraft have calendar-based maintenance requirements. If an inspection is due every six months, the aircraft will have a different average hourly cost at 250 annual hours versus 500 annual hours. The trip profile will also further impact cost, as will varying fuel consumption for long or short trips.
For helicopters, flying with external loads or in a high-cycle operation will significantly affect the costs. Likewise, high-frequency utility operations are going to see very different costs compared to a low-utilization VIP operation. The cost of special equipment also needs to be accounted for.
To be fully understood, all costing assumptions must be stated and fully explained.
Operating Costs: Which Key Terms Need to be Defined?
Fuel cost will clearly be different for a long trip versus a short trip but what is the assumed cost of that fuel? It will only create confusion if you attempt to directly compare fuel costs for Business Jet A flying a 600-mile trip at $4.50 per gallon versus Business Jet B flying a 1,200-mile trip at $5 per gallon.
There are many other terms that need to be defined beyond fuel cost. For example, are the salary costs based on two senior captains, or one senior captain and a first officer? Is the hangar-cost based on a major metropolitan area?
Maintenance costs can take days to analyze in detail. In general, you need to define the period for which the costs are assumed and clarify if they accrue for maintenance outside this period.
Are the engines accruing for only the overhaul, or are they on a guaranteed hourly maintenance program with full coverage for all engine maintenance, including unscheduled events? It’s important to have a clearly defined explanation of what maintenance is assumed to be included and for how long.
You should also clarify if the costs cover fuel and maintenance costs only, or additional items too. When trying to determine the total costs to own and operate an aircraft, more data is always better.
What is the Cost per Nautical Mile?
In aviation, we have a habit of always talking in terms of flight hours. However, if the aircraft is used to transport persons from one location to another, the aircraft's job is to fly a given distance. Airplanes that fly point to point should be compared on a cost-per-mile basis.
Let's compare a King Air 350i and a Citation CJ4. Using the default Conklin & de Decker variable cost per hour, the King Air 350i variable cost is $1,312 per hour and the CJ4 shows $1,708 per hour.
There you have it, the jet costs almost $400 per hour more to operate! But what's missing here?
It’s the cost per nautical mile.
If the King Air averages 281 nautical miles each hour, the cost per mile is $4.67. If the CJ4 averages 409 nautical miles each hour, the cost per mile is $4.18. What initially may look like one airplane having 30% higher variable costs per hour really has a 1.5% per mile lower variable cost.
There is not a single set of correct assumptions and methodology to apply when comparing aircraft costs. The director of maintenance will be concerned with seeing the details of the maintenance budget.
The CFO, although requiring accurate maintenance costs, will need to know the tax implications of the deal and depreciation predictions but is not likely to need all the maintenance line items. The finance representative will need a full set of costs to know that the buyer or lessee can afford to operate the aircraft, not just make the payments.
In Summary: Consider the Source
The supplier of the cost data needs to not only accurately represent the costs but also explain them and answer your questions.
Costs are not a commodity where cheaper is always better. An aircraft that has been well maintained and has up-to-date avionics and a guaranteed maintenance program will cost more to acquire than the same model with a sketchy past, poor records, and engines that are approaching a major check. In the end, it’s true to say that you get what you pay for.
This article was originally published by AvBuyer on November 8, 2019.
Why Use An Accredited Aircraft Appraiser? see more
NAFA member, Louis Seno, ASA, Chairman Emeritus and Special Advisor to the Jet Support Services, Inc. Board of Directors, discusses why using an accredited aircraft appraiser is best.
Keeping a finger on the pulse of your aircraft’s current valuation is crucial, both for tax and depreciation purposes, and when you seek to refinance or sell your aircraft. (Listen to “Regular Check-Ups,” Above & Beyond Podcast, June 2019.)
The demand for reputable appraisers is increasing throughout the business aviation industry. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), banks and leasing companies, insurance underwriters, and on-demand charter operators all need knowledgeable appraisers they can trust. But what makes an individual qualified to become an appraiser?
Due to the complex nature of the appraisal profession, education and experience are crucial. However, there are no legal requirements, nor license needed, so anyone can call him- or herself an aircraft appraiser, regardless of their knowledge, skills, experience, or abilities. In response, the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) established an aircraft-specific discipline and designation program, to help assure owners and financial institutions that the aircraft are accurately valued.
An increased demand for aircraft valuation experts in the early 2000s mandated something more be done. And so a 2016 partnership was formed between ASA and the David B. O’Maley College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to establish a universally accepted industry standard. Together, they developed a series of four courses designed specifically for professional aircraft appraisers, enabling those so committed to achieve a new official accreditation.
Successful completion of the courses provides participants with the necessary fundamental appraisal coursework to apply for professional accreditation through ASA, with a specialty in aircraft appraisal. The curriculum covers commercial, business, and general aviation aircraft, including fixed-wing and rotorcraft, and other aerospace assets, such as tugs and ground power units.
ASA’s coursework and testing builds a solid foundation of aviation knowledge. A thorough peer evaluation of appraisal reports is then conducted before an individual can receive the Accredited Member (AM) credentials for two years of experience, or the Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) credentials for five years of experience.
Additionally, there is a 100-hour continuing education requirement to be completed during the five years after receiving ASA accreditation. Courses and advanced conferences are offered around the globe for ASA appraisers to learn more about current issues and prepare for future valuation challenges.
“The accreditation process is detailed and meticulous,” said Johnnie White, ASA’s CEO. “We recognize that your turbine aircraft is a multimillion-dollar asset. To ensure its proper valuation, we set high standards on educating our designated members.”
You can secure a qualified appraisal for your aircraft in one of two ways:
- In a desktop valuation, the appraiser will go well beyond a simple pricing comparison by researching the current aircraft on the market, establishing the average days the aircraft model has been on the market, and evaluating any trending data. The appraiser also will assess the maintenance status, look for any major inspection expenses that could be coming due, and perform a cursory check of the logbooks and specifications for the aircraft without looking at the asset. This is the less costly option.
- A physical, onsite appraisal will consist of all of the above, plus a hands-on inspection that includes a thorough examination of the aircraft, including engine and airframe maintenance logbooks. With this option, you will pay for the appraiser to travel to and from your aircraft, for the time spent on the physical inspection of the aircraft and records, and for research of recent sales of comparable make/model aircraft to establish the asset’s current market value.
When your aircraft needs an appraisal or reappraisal for insurance or refinancing purposes, or to prepare for its disposition, choose an ASA-accredited appraiser who has invested in their profession to become the most accomplished and skilled person to appraise your aircraft and to keep a pulse on its value for years to come.
This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on November 1, 2019.
Who’s Onboard? Onboarding Your Managed Aircraft see more
NAFA member, Joe Barber, CAM, Vice President Fleet Development with Clay Lacy Aviation, discusses onboarding your managed aircraft.
You’ve bought a new aircraft, or are happy with your current one. In considering many factors, including the frequency of your travel, your need for a “turnkey” operation, and maybe your desire for some charter revenue, you’ve decided to enlist the services of a professional aircraft management company. You’ve done your research (See “Choosing a Management Company,” BAA July/August 2015), made your selection, and are ready to sign.
Similar to any new service you enlist, there is a start-up phase, referred to as “onboarding.” Onboarding is simply the steps that the company will take to properly prepare itself, the aircraft, and the crew, and to satisfy the FAA and DOT to conduct flight operations in an efficient, cost-effective, safe, and legal manner.
The onboarding process begins once your decision is made, even before the contract is signed. It begins with a meeting including you and any of your representatives who will be involved with the aircraft, such as your CFO, executive assistant, or risk manager. The management company team typically includes an onboarding specialist and designated aircraft manager, plus representatives from maintenance, accounting, charter, and human resources. They follow a comprehensive checklist to streamline and expedite the process. Communication is key. The team will meet frequently to review the status of your aircraft transition, and will provide you with weekly updates.
Certain basic processes – and regulations – must be covered for every aircraft, in addition to designing others to meet your own specific requirements. The best management companies use a recognized project management system together with a system for continual improvement. Developed by Toyota engineers, Kanban and Kaizen focus on achieving high-quality results. Other companies use the Six Sigma method and its focus on Total Quality Management. The basic organizing principle is to start with the end in mind: “What will a successful aircraft ownership experience look like for you?” and then use “reverse engineering” to get there.
In the “honeymoon period,” usually the first six months, there is a high level of activity and some topics will require your input. There are more than 180 tasks required to operate safely and meet your individual requirements, which can be grouped into 65 categories, in three main areas:
- Aircraft Management: Flight operations, accounting, vendor negotiations (e.g. fuel discounts), subscriptions, and insurance.
- Flight Operations: scheduling (dispatch), ground transportation, record keeping, installation and oversight of a Safety Management System, crew training and schedules, and issuance of flight manuals.
- Maintenance: inspections, repairs, records and manuals, warranties, equipment compliance, training mechanics, and FAA interface.
Here are some of the questions you may be asked:
- If your aircraft is coming from another management company, would you like to keep the same crew members? For example, if you’re moving to a larger or newer aircraft, is your current crew capable of or interested in operating the replacement aircraft?
- If the management company finds that your crew member does not meet the proper operating standards (identified during transition training), how will this be handled?
- If the aircraft is on a charter certificate, what are your charter requirements (e.g. annual billable hours/revenue)? Do you want the ability to approve every trip, every time? A good management company will track every opportunity and be able to share how many trips were presented, and how many you accepted or declined with the associated revenue per hour.
The onboarding process traditionally takes 60-90 days, but may be extended if the FAA is delayed in conducting your certificate acceptance flight or additional crew training is required. Once complete, you will have one individual assigned to you, often referred to as a “Client Advisor” or “Aircraft Manager” who will serve as your primary point of contact with the management company to ensure that you have a positive experience.
This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on September 1, 2019.
How to Build a Business Aircraft Acquisition Plan see more
NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses the importance of developing a thorough aircraft acquisition plan.
With a sense of urgency and a large sum of cash, an aircraft acquisition can be completed rather quickly. However, without a plan or the right team in place, these types of scrambles typically result in the wrong aircraft for the job, or just simply picking the wrong aircraft. To avoid the headache from an impulse purchase, you need to build a business aircraft acquisition plan.
To begin, there are two fundamental reasons for acquiring new or different aircraft:
- The current aircraft can no longer perform the mission, or
- The current aircraft is no longer the most cost-effective solution.
Changes in mission need to be quantified. As an example, one client in the Eastern US started flying shorter trips with fewer people. Their eight-passenger jet, with a 1,800nm range, was more than they needed.
Instead, they found that a five-passenger airplane that’s more efficient on short trips might be the next aircraft for them.
But how can you quantify what it is that you need and want? Economics are critical. The cost of an aircraft is more than the acquisition price alone. It encompasses the total costs needed to operate the aircraft and allow for a future residual value.
As an example, a single aircraft that meets 98% of usage requirements may cost far more than an aircraft that meets 85% of your needs with a supplemental jet card, charter or fractional solution in place for the remaining 15%.
What Should Your Acquisition Plan Include?
It is important for you to understand what it costs to own and operate the aircraft – and this will all come into your acquisition plan. So, what should your acquisition plan include?
An aircraft acquisition plan must (at a minimum):
- Identify, quantify and differentiate your needs and wants;
- Identify and rank the possible aircraft types by mission capability; and
- Analyze all the costs involved with the aircraft.
Your plan should be void of emotional issues and stay as far from subjective criteria as possible. To help in this respect, you will need someone who can ask the tough questions and assist with an unbiased analysis of the candidate aircraft.
Consultants may offer the unbiased review that you initially need, and their feedback will need to cover both technical and financial aspects of the aircraft acquisition.
Who Should be on Your Acquisition Team?
As you proceed with the acquisition you need to add expertise across several fields to your team. Tax planning should begin well before the purchase, not after the closing, meaning that you will need to hire someone familiar with taxes as they apply to aviation.
You will also need to consult a qualified aviation attorney to ensure that the contracts are appropriate and that the various regulatory issues are addressed. A document that looks good from a basic business perspective may not be legal in the eyes of the FAA or other aviation authority.
Don't overlook the insurance broker, who will need to be kept informed as to when and how the aircraft is to be used. (For example, if the aircraft is to be placed on a management agreement, who and how are each of the parties to that agreement going to be covered?)
You will also need an aircraft sales professional, who will ideally have an excellent understanding of the aircraft sales market — what the availability is; lead times for various models; who to contact about pre-buy inspections and appraisals; and how long it could take to dispose of your current aircraft.
Moreover, the aircraft sales professional you hire will need all the qualities required to be an excellent facilitator, since their job will also be to make sure the deal closes and that all parties are happy.
Additional Planning When Buying New…
Moreover, if you are buying a new aircraft, specifying all the options, picking out paint, and choosing an interior may take a minimum of six months and may well require the services of additional advisors.
Think of your business aircraft acquisition as a “time-is-money” deal. That is, if you don’t have much time, you’ll probably spend even more money! If you are looking to close a deal by the end of this year, you need to be looking seriously right now, and investing in all of the right areas to ensure your acquisition plan results in the right aircraft, at the right cost, at the right time.
This article was originally published by AvBuyer on October 25, 2019.
Painting the Financial Picture see more
NAFA member Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, shares what items you need when preparing to finance an aircraft.
"You don't really need all of this financial information, do you?" It’s a question often asked by AOPA Finance clients. Yes, yes we do. If you want the lowest rate, the most competitive structuring, the least amount down, and the lowest payment, an exhaustive analysis of your credit worthiness must be made.
IRS Schedule Cs or Schedule Es are not enough. While they may indicate whether the ownership structure has any pass-through income on an individual's tax return, the description of that pass-through income is summarized as a line item or two. Likewise, K-1s only indicate percentages of a shareholder’s income and liabilities. Line items and percentages don’t tell the whole story. Full tax returns do.
Global Cash Flow
Your tax summaries may show cash going from one related entity to another. But are you actually taking from the “left pocket and putting it in the right pocket?” If so, that isn't real money, is it? The lender will net that out of your “global cash flow.” Global cash flow—also known as a Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows—is a listing of all the various entities in which a person has ownership and what their net cash flow from all the entities is.
And then there’s the global debt schedule.
Global Debt Schedule
What is a global debt schedule? It’s a comprehensive list of all the ownership entities. It’s a listing of the actual total debts of each entity in which the individual has ownership. It details what the total amount owed is, and to whom. What the monthly payments are. How much is interest versus how much is principal. It also includes maturity dates for all debt.
Depending upon what one’s business relationship is with his partners, the lender may require additional documents to help fill in holes in the financial picture. Those might include hypothecation, subordination, or even side agreements. A hypothecation agreement could be submitted from the controlling party acknowledging the CEO emeritus is entering into a financial relationship.
Speaking of partners, imagine a borrower has two partners and he owns one-third of the business. Some lenders may require the other two partners’ to be party to the transaction.
For some, that’s just too much. They’re only going to have the loan for three years so the “pain-in-the-neck” factor is not worth their time and effort. Other folks just don't want to disclose all their financial information for personal reasons. Still others have obligations with lenders elsewhere that restrict them from guaranteeing debt or have covenants in place from other business debt. For these individuals, a collateral-based loan might be the more appropriate option. The trade-off is simplicity for a little bit higher interest rate.
Collateral Based Loans
A collateral-based deal might proceed more quickly from initial inquiry to funding but it does come with a different paperwork burden. Even so, the process is usually far less onerous. Banks will conduct an exhaustive search on the quality of the individual as well as on the aircraft. For the individual, they want to know if this person has filed bankruptcy. Do they have tax liens against them? Are there pending lawsuits on them, for any reason? A person applying for a collateral-based loan should be crystal clear how good or bad their character looks on paper.
Every time an AOPA Finance advisor must request additional information because our client’s paperwork is incomplete adds additional stress to the process. Bottom line-- there are no shortcuts. A transparent, painless credit deal requires in-depth financial paperwork.
This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on June 12, 2019.
How Long Should You Keep Your Business Jet? see more
NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses your plan on how long you should keep your business jet.
When buying a business jet, it’s important to have an idea of how long you will own the aircraft. But where do you begin your analysis? David Wyndham assesses not only why, but how you should build a plan…
A client was recently looking at how the cost of owning their first business jet compares to a jet card or block charter. Their expected annual utilization is 350 hours and they plan to operate between two continents, requiring a Large Jet. They ultimately chose not to purchase the aircraft.
Why did they choose not to own an aircraft? In short, their expected utilization period only covered the next two-to-three years. After that the client expected to retire and fly substantially fewer hours. In this case, a very short-term of ownership, combined with the projected decline in the aircraft’s residual value, meant the total ownership costs favored a well-structured jet card program over outright ownership.
There is no ideal length of time to own a business aircraft, however. The ideal will differ from one prospective owner to the next. So what are the key considerations that a buyer should take into account when determining the length of ownership?
Changes in the primary mission will often dictate a change of aircraft to one that is a better fit. For example, one flight department suddenly needed to fly much longer trips following a merger. The existing aircraft lacked the necessary non-stop range, creating the need for a replacement aircraft.
Likewise, if the need to carry a certain number of passengers changes then an equipment change could be required. Mission requirements could dictate a smaller aircraft or a larger one.
For example, there's no need for a 12-passenger Long Range Jet if the primary mission changes to short hops with fewer passengers.
When the mission changes, it's important to establish if these are for the short-term or will be more permanent. A short-term change in mission or hours to be flown might be well-served by charter or a jet card. As a part of your acquisition process, you will need to see if any foreseeable mission changes are likely to occur, and if so, when and for how long.
As an aircraft ages, it requires more maintenance to stay reliable. The time needed to perform that maintenance tends to increase. The costs of operating a newer aircraft are therefore lower than older examples. If the economics of the newer aircraft are lower than the older one, it can further support a change.
For business-use aircraft, taxes may be another consideration when deciding how long to keep the aircraft. There are some companies that maximize the tax depreciation of the aircraft as aggressively as the tax law allows and, once depreciated, these companies often elect to replace the aircraft.
Part of this discussion depends on the profits of the corporation and the need for tax deductions. Taxes should never be the sole reason to buy or sell your jet, but they can be a significant decision point. It's always a good idea to consult with a tax expert for further guidance.
Maintenance, Technology and Parts
Maintenance Factors: Calendar requirements for travel, advances in technology and the ability to obtain spare parts after an aircraft has been out of production for many years are among the other considerations for determining how long you should plan on keeping your jet.
If the aircraft is flown a lot, the increased calendar availability of a newer aircraft needs to be factored into the equation. Older aircraft can be down for maintenance more than 50% of the time, which necessitates significant supplemental lift.
How might an aging aircraft fit with your projected mission needs five years from the time of purchase?
Technology Factors: New technology that is required for ATC, navigation and increasing safety may not be cost-effective when modifying older aircraft. For some business jets, updating systems to a modern ‘glass cockpit’ suitable for global navigation can exceed $1m or more. For the older global jet, it may not be worth spending that money. This must be assessed at the time you’re buying a jet.
Parts Availability: For much older aircraft with fewer left flying, the ability to find spare parts, irrespective of cost, makes the aircraft less able to meet its schedule. A rule of thumb is that if less than half the fleet is still flying, the aircraft can be considered an ‘end-of-life’ model – in which case, you may need to develop a plan for the aircraft’s scrappage once your planned term of ownership is finished.
If the long-term mission needs are not likely to change, then the decision should center on costs. The costs of keeping or replacing the aircraft should be calculated using a life-cycle cost approach to arrive at the best financial solution.
This approach considers not only the operating costs but also current and future values. It may also include taxes and the cost of capital.
In summary, there is not one right answer for how long to own a business aircraft. The timing depends on the age of your aircraft and on the costs of owning and operating it. I’ve seen owners who change aircraft every five-to-seven years and some who keep an aircraft 20 years or longer.
This article was originally published by AvBuyer on March 6, 2019.
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.
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.
Aircraft Insurance Rates Take Off: Upward Trend in 2018, First in 16 Years see more
NAFA member Stephen P. Johns, CIC, President of LL Johns Aviation Insurance, discusses the upward trend in aircraft insurance rates.
In early 2018, most buyers began hearing that their aircraft insurance rates would be increasing for the first time in years. Rate increases of 3-5% for operators with clean loss records were common, and 15% for those who’d had claims. By the end of 2018, claims-free operators were seeing 10-15% rate increases, and those with claims history even higher.
What Precipitated the Rise?
After some upward movement in 2000-2001, the events of 9/11 had a significant impact on rates, especially on war-risk pricing and availability. One business jet operator watched premiums rise from $59,000 in December 2000 to more than $113,000 in December 2002.
By early 2003, rates began to plateau and then trend downward. For much of the aviation industry, the ensuing “soft market” – rate reductions and broadening of coverages – continued uninterrupted for almost 16 years.
From 2005 through 2010, the number of insurers providing aviation insurance in the U.S. grew from 9 to more than 20. These new entrants were not new to the insurance business – most were sizeable companies electing to enter the aviation segment. As new and longer-standing aviation insurers scrambled to gain and maintain market-share, rates fell, limits increased, contract language broadened, and underwriting disciplines relaxed.
Why the excess capacity in the aviation insurance market during the last decade? Is it the faltering economy and stock market that caused investors seeking a safe haven to infuse capital in the market? Is it that better technology and improved safety systems have resulted in safer operations and reduced claims?
Whatever the reasons, rates were reduced to artificially low levels, unsustainable over time. In 2018, six reinsurance companies and a number of underwriting companies pulled out of the market. Those remaining are consistently seeking rate increases, limit reductions, and tightening of underwriting standards.
And it’s not only the rates that are changing. Underwriters also are becoming more judicious with limits offered and other policy provisions. Since it’s now harder to hire and retain pilots, underwriters are giving more scrutiny to pilot experience and training. There’s a move back toward the “12 month motion based simulator” training requirements that were non-negotiable in the 80s and 90s.
What Can You Expect in 2019?
The hard market will remain and rates will continue to increase for most operators, at the rate of 15% or more. The potential loss of market share will begin to test the resolve of the insurance companies and determine whether these increases will continue throughout the year.
Back to that operator whose premium nearly doubled from 2000 to 2002. While he’d benefited from the “soft market,” by December 2018, he was paying less than $44,000 in premium for the same coverage limits. If this aircraft operator’s rate increases by the expected 15%, he still will be at only $50,600, approximately 15% below the rate level he paid in 2000.
What Can You Do?
Even top flight departments with no claims should expect some upward movement in rates, so budget accordingly. Particularly if your operation has a loss history, start the renewal process early – about 120 days before policy expiration – providing updated information on the aircraft, pilot hours and training, and evidence of the safety and professionalism of your operation. This gives your broker time to approach new markets on your behalf, or to suggest you stay long-term with one underwriter, as there are costs other than the premium to consider.
As Colin Powell once said, “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t get better with age.” An experienced and trusted broker with good underwriter relationships will help you navigate the process.
Finally, keep the increases in perspective. While no buyer likes to see prices going up, it’s remarkable that aircraft insurance in 2019 may cost less than it did in 2000!
This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on March 1, 2019.
Taxing Relationships - The New Tax Traffic Controller for Partnership/LLC Aircraft Owners see more
NAFA member David N. Corkern, J.D., LL.M., aviation attorney with Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, shares information about the recent IRS changes made regarding partnerships and LLCs for aircraft owners.
Do you own an airplane through a limited liability company that is treated as a partnership to preserve privacy, or to minimize tax or other liability exposure? Or in which the airplane is held in a partnership of all “natural persons” (i.e. human beings)? Regardless of the reason, you’ll want to be aware of the recent changes made to the way those partnerships/limited liability companies (LLCs) are treated by the IRS during an audit.
In 2015, with the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act, the U.S. Congress significantly revised the manner in which partnerships/LLCs are audited. (While LLCs differ from partnerships under state law, they are treated and taxed as partnerships by the IRS, unless they have elected to be taxed as corporations. All references to “partnerships” in this article refer to such LLCs as well.)
The IRS has issued regulations known as the Centralized Partnership Audit Regime (“CPAR”), effective for audits of partnership tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. The CPAR requires that all partnerships designate a “partnership representative.”
This designation must be made for each tax year of the partnership and replaces the “tax matters partner” under the old rules. Unlike the tax matters partner, the partnership representative may be someone other than a partner. Do exercise caution when choosing your new partnership representative, since the IRS will not deal with any other person or entity in case of a tax audit. In addition, the CPAR gives the partnership representative greater powers than the former tax matters partner – to bind the partnership and all of its partners in negotiations with the IRS, notwithstanding any contrary provision in the partnership agreement.
CPAR also changes the way in which tax adjustments are made. Prior to CPAR, if an audit resulted in additional taxes, penalties, and interest due for the audited tax year, those adjustments would have been made at the partnership level and each partner’s return also was adjusted. The net result of the pre-CPAR audit was that taxes, penalties, and interest were collected from those who were partners in the audited tax years.
Now under CPAR, the IRS will assess all taxes, penalties, and interest against the partnership, which shifts the burden to current partners, and not to those who were partners for the years under review.
For example, assume that “High-Flying, LLC” owns an aircraft. From 2012 through 2016, individuals A, B, and C were equal partners in High-Flying, LLC. When C sold his interest to D in January, 2017, D became an equal partner with A and B in High-Flying, LLC. If, after audit, the IRS determines that additional taxes are owed by High-Flying, LLC for tax year 2016, High-Flying, LLC will bear that cost, and D must pick up the tax tab for the former partner, C, absent an “opt-out” or “push-out election” discussed below.
How can a new partner be protected from bearing someone else’s tax liability under CPAR? There are two ways to do so:
First, a partnership with fewer than 100 partners and no ineligible partners (e.g., partnerships, trusts, and LLCs taxed as partnerships) may elect out of CPAR. This “opt-out” election is made yearly on the partnership’s tax return.
Second, a partnership may use a “push-out” election to shift the tax audit adjustments to former partners. The “push-out” election also must be made yearly on the partnership’s tax return.
If you are thinking of buying or selling an interest in a partnership or limited liability company that owns an aircraft, pay close attention to the shifting tax liability created by CPAR. These rules are somewhat complicated and it’s always a good idea to consult an expert before amending any partnership agreement to comply with CPAR.
This article was originally published in Business Aviation Advisor on July 1, 2019.