business aviation

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Used Aircraft Maintenance Analysis – July 2020 see more

    NAFA member, Tony Kioussis, President of Asset Insight, shares Asset Insight’s July 2020 market analysis.

    Asset Insight's Juluy 31, 2020 market analysis revealed a 1.2% inventory decrease to the tracked business aircraft fleet – the first monthly reduction since January – along with an Ask Price decrease of 1.5%. Which models were impacted the most?

    As July ended, Asset Insight’s tracked fleet of 134 fixed-wing business aircraft, and 2,331 aircraft listed for sale equated to a 1.2% inventory fleet decrease compared to June, and a year-to-date (YTD) increase of 6.8%.

    The tracked fleet’s Quality Rating dipped a bit from June’s 12-month best figure, and the latest ‘for sale’ fleet mix increased the anticipated cost for upcoming maintenance events close to the 12-month high (worst) figure. However, July’s 5.293 Quality Rating kept the inventory within the ‘Excellent’ range on Asset Insight’s scale of -2.5 to 10.

    July’s Aircraft Value Trends

    Average Ask Price decreased 1.5% in July, leading to a 5.0% value decline since the start of 2020. By aircraft group, the figures were as follows:

    • Large Jets: This group fueled the loss with a reduction of 2.4%, and a total value loss during 2020 of 11.8%.
    • Medium Jets: Ask Prices increased 1.5% during July but were still down 3.7% YTD.
    • Small Jets: The group posted a 12-month high figure through a 0.3% gain in value and is now up 9.2% for the year.
    • Turboprops: Ask Prices gained 2.8% but are still off by 2.4% during 2020.

    July’s Fleet for Sale Trends

    The tracked fleet’s total number of aircraft listed for sale decreased 1.2% in July (29 units), reflecting a YTD inventory increase equating to 6.8% (149 units).

    • Large Jet Inventory: Decreased slightly by 0.4% (two units), but remains up 14.8% (64 units) YTD.
    • Medium Jet Inventory: Availability was down a substantial 2.7% (18 units) for July, bringing the YTD increase down to a single unit (0.2%).
    • Small Jet Inventory: Decreased 2.6% (18 units) in July but was still up 6.4% YTD (41 units).
    • Turboprop Inventory: The only group to post an increase, Turboprops were up 1.2% (nine units) for the month, and inventory has now grown 9.6% (43 units) YTD.

    July’s Maintenance Exposure Trends

    Maintenance Exposure (an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense) increased (deteriorated) 3.1% in July to $1.419m, signaling upcoming maintenance for the latest fleet mix would be close to the 12-month high (worst) figure. The last time our tracked fleet posted a higher (worse) Maintenance Exposure figure was in October 2019. Individual group results were as follows:

    • Large Jets: Worsened (increased) 1.0% for the month, but the figure was better than the group’s 12-month average.
    • Medium Jets: Worsened by 0.7%, but the figure was only slightly above (worse) than last month’s 12-month best number.
    • Small Jets: Suffered greatly from the reconstituted inventory, increasing 15.3% to set a 12-month worst (high) figure.
    • Turboprops: At the other end of the spectrum, Turboprops posted a 12-month low (best) figure through a 3.6% decrease.

    July’s ETP Ratio Trend

    The inventory’s ETP Ratio rose (worsened) to 71.2%, from June’s 69.9%, following three consecutive monthly improvements (decreases), bringing our tracked fleet to just below its worst (highest) 12-month figure.

    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) increases, in many cases by more than 30%.

    During Q2 2020, aircraft whose ETP Ratio was 40% or greater were listed for sale nearly 53% longer than assets with an ETP Ratio below 40% (251 days versus 384 days). How did each group fare during July?

    • Turboprops: For the eighth consecutive month, Turboprops registered the lowest ETP Ratio at 41.8%, a 12-month low (best) figure that continued earning them the top spot among the four groups.
    • Large Jets: Improved for the third straight month, this time to 61.4% from June’s 64.0%, thereby remaining in second place.
    • Medium Jets: Deteriorated (rose) slightly to 73.7% from June’s 73.4%, with the figure remaining better (lower) than the group’s 12-month average.
    • Small Jets: Made the environment for many sellers even more challenging through a Ratio increase to 96.5%, a 12-month high figure that was substantially worse than June’s 85.8%.

    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 July 2020.

    Most Improved Business Jets and Turboprops - Asset Insight July 2020

    Most Improved Models

    All six ‘Most Improved’ models posted a Maintenance Exposure decrease (improvement). Ask Price, on the other hand, was not as uniform, with the Beechcraft King Air C90, Bombardier Global Express, and Cessna Citation II, posting decreases of $5,976, $101,143, and $23,789, respectively. The remaining models experienced the following price increases:

    • Gulfstream GIV-SP (MSG3): +$2,102,500
    • Dassault Falcon 50: +$84,286
    • Beechcraft King Air B200 (pre-2001): +$9,247

    Gulfstream GIV-SP (MSG3)

    Eclipsing all models in July is the one that occupied the ‘Most Deteriorated’ spot during our June analysis. It earned the top position through a Maintenance Exposure decrease exceeding $852k, along with an Ask Price increase exceeded $2.1m. But that does not bring visibility to the full story.

    There were two aircraft listed ‘for sale’ in June carrying Ask Prices. When the asset carrying an Ask Price approximately one-third lower than the remaining one sold, the figure naturally shifted dramatically.

    Still, there’s no getting around the model’s substantial improvement in Maintenance Exposure, derived through the single July transaction and three additions to inventory. With an ETP Ratio of 55%, and with inventory at only five units (5.6% of the active fleet), sellers should have some realistic opportunities to trade their aircraft, assuming price expectations are sensible.

    Beechcraft King Air C90

    Our research uncovered two aircraft trades in July, and the 47 units comprising the latest inventory mix equated to 12.1% of the active King Air C90 fleet – hardly the stuff of legend.

    While the model’s Maintenance Exposure decrease of $71k far exceeded its Ask Price reduction, the resulting 116.6% ETP Ratio does not hold much promise for sellers. Buyers, on the other hand, have their pick of the litter.

    Dassault Falcon 50

    Two units found new owners in July. The remaining inventory of 23 aircraft equated to 12.3% of the active fleet. While the ‘for sale’ fleet saw Maintenance Exposure decrease over $33k and Ask Price increase more than $84k, the resulting ETP Ratio still exceeded 126%.

    Although statistically deserving of its spot on the ‘Most Improved’ list, it is doubtful that sellers will experience a dramatic change in fortune although, for some buyers, this may still be the perfect solution for their geographic operating environment.

    Beechcraft King Air B200 (Pre-2001 Models)

    The second King Air model to occupy a spot on this month’s ‘Most Improved’ list definitely belongs here. Four units traded in July, and the 55 aircraft listed for sale create good selection for buyers, while sellers can benefit from availability only equating to 7.1% of the active fleet.

    The model’s ETP Ratio, at 46.2%, is also a great deal more conducive to deal-making and resulted from a Maintenance Exposure drop exceeding $70k and a slight Ask Price increase.

    Bombardier Global Express

    By no means a stranger to this list, the Global Express gained its position in July following a Maintenance Exposure decrease approaching $393k that was overshadowed an Ask Price decrease exceeding $101k.

    We did not record a sale during July, and the model’s 21 listed units equate to 14.6% of the active fleet. However, with an ETP Ratio of 67%, and considering the aircraft’s capabilities and industry following, sellers should have more opportunities than sellers of many other models posting such figures.

    Cessna Citation II

    Occupying the final slot on July’s ‘Most Improved’ list is a model whose constituents range in age from 25 to 42 years, and whose 83 inventory units equate to 16.5% of the active fleet. For buyers not afraid to become the final owner of an asset within the Small Jet range, the Citation II might be worth considering, as Ask Price fell nearly $24k in July while Maintenance Exposure improved (decreased) over $55k.

    Of course, the aircraft’s actual Maintenance Exposure could make your acquisition a bit more expensive that planned, considering the ETP Ratio stood at nearly 128% when last calculated.

    Most Deteriorated Business Jets and Turboprops - Asset Insight July 2020

    Most Deteriorated Models

    All six models on July’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ list registered a Maintenance Exposure increase. The Bombardier Learjet 36A posted no Ask Price change, while the remaining models experienced the following decreases:

    • Cessna Citation ISP: -$58,192
    • Bombardier Learjet 55: -$26,071
    • Gulfstream GIV-SP: -$348,000
    • Hawker Beechjet 40: -$75,000
    • Gulfstream GIV: -$11,111

    Cessna Citation ISP

    The best aircraft among July’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ assets held the second-highest position on June’s ‘Most Improved’ list. Its dramatic change in stature came from a $7k Maintenance Exposure increase, along with a $58k drop in Ask Price.

    As if the model’s 128.5% ETP Ratio posed an insufficient challenge for sellers, inventory stood at 20% of the active fleet (55 units) as we closed out July. Three aircraft did trade last month, but this model’s fleet is aged between 35 and 43 years of age, so prospective buyers need to keep in mind that any future resale is unlikely to generate a price much above salvage value.

    Bombardier Learjet 55

    First the good news: One asset transacted last month and we did not record any additions to the Learjet 55 inventory.

    Now the bad news: The 14 units listed for sale equate to 14.6% of the active fleet for an asset whose ETP Ratio is 188% (by virtue of Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $55k and an Ask Price decrease of more than $26k).

    Ask Prices for this model range between just below $500k to just below $1.0m. For an aircraft aged 33 to 39 years, even the low end of the pricing spectrum will be challenging for sellers to achieve, unless they can effectively monetize their aircraft’s Maintenance Equity.

    Gulfstream GIV-SP

    Three transactions took place in July proving, yet again, this model’s strong following. However, with a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $487k, along with an Ask Price decrease of $348k, the GIV-SP, unlike those operated under MSG3 Maintenance rules (see above), found its way onto the ‘Most Deteriorated’ list.

    While the 19 aircraft listed for sale represent only 9.1% of the active fleet, the model’s 97% ETP Ratio will make selling against its MSG3 brethren challenging for most existing owners, especially if the aircraft’s engines are not enrolled on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Program.

    Hawker Beechjet 400

    This 31 to 34-year-old model joined the ‘Most Deteriorated’ list having completed no transactions during July. It did so on its Maintenance Exposure weakness which increased (worsened) over $25k, along with a $75k reduction in Ask Price.

    Only four units are listed for sale. Unfortunately for sellers, that equates to 12.1% of the active fleet, while the model’s average ETP Ratio, at over 131%, equates to a challenging selling environment.

    Gulfstream GIV

    The third Gulfstream model to make either list finds itself in the second worst position among July’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ group.

    Two aircraft transacted in July to lower the number available for sale to 21 units (12.4% of the active fleet). Unfortunately, at the ripe old age of 27 to 34 years, this superb aircraft is beginning to reach its financial obsolescence through an ETP Ratio approaching 185%, due to a Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $477k, along with another Ask Price reduction.

    Bombardier Learjet 36A

    With an ETP Ratio approaching 185%, and units that are as much as 44 years old, it is not difficult to understand why this model occupied the most deteriorated spot on July’s list. What might be surprising is that one aircraft did trade in July, and only four are listed for sale.

    Unfortunately, those listings equate to 10.8% of the active fleet whose Maintenance Exposure increased by more that $306k by virtue of the latest inventory mix.

    While air ambulance work has kept this model flying, it, too, is staring at financial obsolescence with some units probably already at that destination.

    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 HCMP 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.

    More information from www.assetinsight.com.

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on August 14, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Aircraft Share Options Explained: Fractional Jet Ownership vs. Charter vs. Jet Card see more

    NAFA member, H. Lee Rohde, III, President and CEO of Essex Aviation, discusses discusses private jet share options.  

    Flying private has long been a popular alternative to flying commercial due to the luxury, privacy, and convenience it affords — but now, in these uncertain times, flying private also provides a much-needed sense of security and peace of mind. As a result, a growing number of individuals are starting to explore private jet share options, particularly fractional ownership, charter programs, and jet card programs, each of which offer the same amenities as outright acquisition with less of a commitment.

    In this blog post, we’ll compare fractional jet ownership vs. charter program vs. jet card program to help you find the private jet share option that best meets your unique travel needs.

    Table of Contents

    • What is a Private Jet Share?
    • What is Fractional Jet Ownership?
    • When Does Fractional Jet Ownership Make Sense?
    • What is Private Jet Chartering?
    • When Does Private Jet Chartering Make Sense?
    • What Are Membership & Jet Card Programs?
    • When Do Membership & Jet Card Programs Make Sense?
    • At a Glance: Fractional Jet Ownership vs. Charter vs. Jet Card Programs
    • Fly Safer with Essex Aviation

    What is a Private Jet Share?

    As implied by its name, a private jet share refers to any private aviation program in which you own or lease a share of an aircraft rather than own it outright. There are multiple private jet share options to choose from, including fractional aircraft ownership, private jet membership or card programs and private jet chartering. How a private jet share is structured depends entirely on the program, aircraft model, and number of hours utilized.

    What is Fractional Jet Ownership?

    Those interested in fractional ownership purchase a share of a specific aircraft type and agree to an annual amount of allotted flight hours. Most fractional ownership programs require a minimum size share of 50 hours of flight time per year, though this can vary depending on the provider. The maximum share size is 800 hours of flight time per year, which is roughly equivalent to ownership of an entire aircraft.

    Fractional ownership shares are acquired from the company that operates the aircraft and that has a designed shared ownership program and services agreement in which all share owners participate. This company also employs pilots, cabin crew and flight operations coordinators, administers maintenance and covers airport and hangar fees and insurance, which can be attractive to individuals who want the benefits of aircraft ownership without the responsibility. Some fractional ownership programs even provide the option to upgrade or downgrade the size of the aircraft depending on your trip requirements.

    When Does Fractional Jet Ownership Make Sense?

    Although the total cost, including the share acquisition or lease, is more expensive than other alternatives, fractional ownership doesn’t require you to pay a “deadhead cost” — that is, any costs incurred from positioning the aircraft at your departure point. Additionally, it’s possible to sell fractional shares back to the program provider, though these shares tend to depreciate more due to their high level of annual utilization, resulting in lower residual values.

    Fractional ownership is a popular option among those who frequently travel for business-related reasons because it offers tax benefits. Frequent fliers also appreciate the consistency and continuity that fractional ownership offers. Most groups that operate fractional programs, such as NetJetsFlexJet and AirShare are highly reputable and have well-documented, standardized procedures for everything from how they vet operators to how they sanitize aircraft between one flight and the next.

    Fractional aircraft ownership is ideal for individuals who want the experience of flying with an organization with a dedicated fleet of aircraft, pilots, and crew, and who require the flexibility to avoid duty times and other restrictions.

    What is Private Jet Chartering?

    Private jet chartering is an on-demand service that enables you to compare pricing and amenities for various aircraft types and book the one that best meets your travel needs in much the same way as you’d book a seat on a commercial flight. Those interested in chartering have the option of working with either a charter operator or a charter broker, though it’s best practice to work with a private aviation consultant before considering either option.

    When Does Private Jet Chartering Make Sense?

    Of the three types of private jet share presented in article — fractional jet ownership vs. charter vs. jet card — private jet chartering requires the least commitment, both in terms of time and expense.

    In fact, chartering is the most popular private aviation option due to the fact that it doesn’t require a significant capital cost upfront or fixed costs associated with maintenance and staff salaries — all you have to pay for is the utilization of the aircraft on a trip-by-trip basis. This makes chartering ideal for anyone who wants the private aviation experience without any of the responsibility. It’s important to note, though, that what you save on chartering, you’ll make up for in terms of non-guaranteed availability in a specific aircraft type: It can sometimes be challenging to find an aircraft that meets both your specific needs and your schedule, so you may be forced to choose between one and the other.

    What Are Membership & Jet Card Programs?

    Membership and jet card programs, though often referred to interchangeably, are structurally unique. With a membership program, you agree to a fixed cost per hour at the start of the contract and are billed after each flight. You’re also typically subjected to either monthly management or annual membership fees.

    There are two types of jet card programs: a dedicated service with a predetermined number of hours on a specific aircraft type or size category, and a debit card service that enables you to fund an established travel account and select the aircraft category on a trip-by-trip basis with agreed-to hourly rates. Depending on the program, the provider will either quote you for a certain number of hours during booking and bill actual time upon completion of the trip or deduct the final total cost of the trip from your balance after it is completed.

    When Do Membership & Jet Card Programs Make Sense?

    Much like chartering, membership and jet card programs are best suited for individuals who want a short-term commitment and require a much lower investment than fractional ownership. Jet card programs, in particular, are appealing because they come at a fixed rate. There’s no need to negotiate the price for each flight — just add money to your jet card account and go. In some cases, you can even cancel your membership and get a refund for unused hours if you’re dissatisfied with your service, which makes jet card programs one of the most accessible points of entry to the private aviation market.

    Another compelling reason to consider a membership or jet card program is because most major private aviation companies offer them, making them a reliable option. When evaluating either membership or jet card programs, be sure to work with an experienced private aviation consultant who can steer you toward a reputable company and help you understand the relationship between the program provider and the aircraft you intend to utilize.

    If you’re interested in joining a membership or jet card program, keep in mind that they often come with a longer advance notice requirement to schedule an aircraft. This is less of an issue if you’re the type of traveler who books their trips well in advance but can be challenging if you frequently make last-minute travel arrangements, especially during peak periods such as holidays.

    At a Glance: Fractional Jet Ownership vs. Charter vs. Jet Card Programs

    Fly Safer with Essex Aviation

    If you’re in need of private aviation assistance, Essex Aviation Group is here for you. From private jet charter consulting to new aircraft acquisition to aircraft completion management, we offer a wide variety of services tailored to support the travel needs of each and every customer. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you find the private jet share option that’s right for you.

    This article was originally published by Essex Aviation.  

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, discusses the hidden or unexpected costs of aircraft ownership. see more

    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, discusses the hidden or unexpected costs of aircraft ownership. 

    Major hidden costs, for example, can result when a previous owner has deferred maintenance. You’re better off buying an airplane that’s been regularly used because the owner will typically address issues as they arise in order to continue using the plane regularly.

    It’s a myth that it’s smart to look for an aircraft that’s had low flying time. Less wear and tear on the engine and the airframe? While those are important considerations, they should not be the only ones. After all, these are machines and machines are made to be run. When an aircraft sits, its problems remain hidden.

    Low flying time could mean high maintenance when it’s your time to own the airplane. That’s one reason the first annual inspection can be unusually expensive — another hidden cost. So be prepared.

    Here is a list of other hidden costs associated with aircraft ownership:

    • Expenses incurred when an airplane is tied down outside (as opposed to protected in a hangar), including repainting and reskinning the exterior and replacing or repairing instrument panels, aircraft seats, interiors or even sun-crazed windows.
    • Contaminated fuel, or more likely, a lineman who accidentally fills your gas tanks with the wrong fuel.
    • Unforeseen mechanical failures or mishaps, such as a blown tire, a gear door jamming, a baggage door opening in flight and ejecting an object that damages an elevator or tail surface, etc.
    • Compliance with unforeseen airworthiness directives (ADs).
    • Animal strikes, bird strikes, lightning strikes, prop strikes, strikes by another aircraft taxiing into you.
    • Mud daubers corrupting your pitot-static system or rodents chewing through electrical cables or nesting in your push-pull tubes.
    • Sudden failure of one or more instruments, navigation radios or engine monitors.
    • Even a pandemic.

    The list is extensive but not exhaustive. Hence our advice to add 10% to 15% on top of your projected operations budget, so when those hidden costs reveal themselves, you aren’t surprised.

    This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on June 10, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    NAFA member, David Norton, partner at Shackelford Law, shares presentation on Part 91 Dry Leasing. see more

    NAFA member, David Norton, partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, gave a presentation on Part 91 Dry Leasing, which was immediately followed up with a panel discussion on illegal charters, the two topics going hand-in-hand.

    According to Norton, a wet lease is defined as the "aircraft plus crewmember," and a "dry" lease as a mere equipment lease of the aircraft.  Some aircraft owners, shying away from key legal, logistical and cost differences between Part 91 and Part 135 operations, enter into dry leasing agreements seeking to raise revenue with their aircraft while letting others operate the aircraft.  If not done properly, Part 91 dry leasing can result in penalties from the FAA and refusal of insurance coverage when incident occurs.

    The key question is whether operational control is transferred or if an air transportation service is actually being provided.  Norton says that "operational control" continues to be a confusing term among owners and pilots, but essentially boils down to who gets to stay where an airplane is going on a given day. 

    "Pilots will say they have operational control, but unless they are the aircraft owner or the aircraft is leased to them personally, pilots are generally not in operational control of the airplane," said Norton.  "The operator is generally a company or person who has the right to say where [the aircraft] is going on a given day, and for [business jets] that means you're usually hiring a professional pilot.  So it's not necessarily the person whose hands are on the yoke acting as the operator."

    Read more

    This article was originally published by Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton in The Binder, Vol. 45 No. 2 - Summer 2020 - on August 4, 2020.

     

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Used Aircraft Maintenance Analysis – July 2020 see more

    NAFA member, Tony Kioussis, President of Asset Insight, shares the latest used aircraft maintenance report.

    As July ended, Asset Insight’s tracked fleet of 134 fixed-wing business aircraft, and 2,331 aircraft listed for sale equated to a 1.2% inventory fleet decrease compared to June, and a year-to-date (YTD) increase of 6.8%.

    The tracked fleet’s Quality Rating dipped a bit from June’s 12-month best figure, and the latest ‘for sale’ fleet mix increased the anticipated cost for upcoming maintenance events close to the 12-month high (worst) figure. However, July’s 5.293 Quality Rating kept the inventory within the ‘Excellent’ range on Asset Insight’s scale of -2.5 to 10.

    July’s Aircraft Value Trends

    Average Ask Price decreased 1.5% in July, leading to a 5.0% value decline since the start of 2020. By aircraft group, the figures were as follows:

    • Large Jets: This group fueled the loss with a reduction of 2.4%, and a total value loss during 2020 of 11.8%.
    • Medium Jets: Ask Prices increased 1.5% during July but were still down 3.7% YTD.
    • Small Jets: The group posted a 12-month high figure through a 0.3% gain in value and is now up 9.2% for the year.
    • Turboprops: Ask Prices gained 2.8% but are still off by 2.4% during 2020.

    July’s Fleet for Sale Trends

    The tracked fleet’s total number of aircraft listed for sale decreased 1.2% in July (29 units), reflecting a YTD inventory increase equating to 6.8% (149 units).

    • Large Jet Inventory: Decreased slightly by 0.4% (two units), but remains up 14.8% (64 units) YTD.
    • Medium Jet Inventory: Availability was down a substantial 2.7% (18 units) for July, bringing the YTD increase down to a single unit (0.2%).
    • Small Jet Inventory: Decreased 2.6% (18 units) in July but was still up 6.4% YTD (41 units).
    • Turboprop Inventory: The only group to post an increase, Turboprops were up 1.2% (nine units) for the month, and inventory has now grown 9.6% (43 units) YTD.

    July’s Maintenance Exposure Trends

    Maintenance Exposure (an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense) increased (deteriorated) 3.1% in July to $1.419m, signaling upcoming maintenance for the latest fleet mix would be close to the 12-month high (worst) figure. The last time our tracked fleet posted a higher (worse) Maintenance Exposure figure was in October 2019. Individual group results were as follows:

    • Large Jets: Worsened (increased) 1.0% for the month, but the figure was better than the group’s 12-month average.
    • Medium Jets: Worsened by 0.7%, but the figure was only slightly above (worse) than last month’s 12-month best number.
    • Small Jets: Suffered greatly from the reconstituted inventory, increasing 15.3% to set a 12-month worst (high) figure.
    • Turboprops: At the other end of the spectrum, Turboprops posted a 12-month low (best) figure through a 3.6% decrease.

    July’s ETP Ratio Trend

    The inventory’s ETP Ratio rose (worsened) to 71.2%, from June’s 69.9%, following three consecutive monthly improvements (decreases), bringing our tracked fleet to just below its worst (highest) 12-month figure.

    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) increases, in many cases by more than 30%.

    During Q2 2020, aircraft whose ETP Ratio was 40% or greater were listed for sale nearly 53% longer than assets with an ETP Ratio below 40% (251 days versus 384 days). How did each group fare during July?

    • Turboprops: For the eighth consecutive month, Turboprops registered the lowest ETP Ratio at 41.8%, a 12-month low (best) figure that continued earning them the top spot among the four groups.
    • Large Jets: Improved for the third straight month, this time to 61.4% from June’s 64.0%, thereby remaining in second place.
    • Medium Jets: Deteriorated (rose) slightly to 73.7% from June’s 73.4%, with the figure remaining better (lower) than the group’s 12-month average.
    • Small Jets: Made the environment for many sellers even more challenging through a Ratio increase to 96.5%, a 12-month high figure that was substantially worse than June’s 85.8%.

    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 July 2020.

    Most Improved Business Jets and Turboprops - Asset Insight July 2020

    Most Improved Models

    All six ‘Most Improved’ models posted a Maintenance Exposure decrease (improvement). Ask Price, on the other hand, was not as uniform, with the Beechcraft King Air C90, Bombardier Global Express, and Cessna Citation II, posting decreases of $5,976, $101,143, and $23,789, respectively. The remaining models experienced the following price increases:

    • Gulfstream GIV-SP (MSG3): +$2,102,500
    • Dassault Falcon 50: +$84,286
    • Beechcraft King Air B200 (pre-2001): +$9,247

    Gulfstream GIV-SP (MSG3)

    Eclipsing all models in July is the one that occupied the ‘Most Deteriorated’ spot during our June analysis. It earned the top position through a Maintenance Exposure decrease exceeding $852k, along with an Ask Price increase exceeded $2.1m. But that does not bring visibility to the full story.

    There were two aircraft listed ‘for sale’ in June carrying Ask Prices. When the asset carrying an Ask Price approximately one-third lower than the remaining one sold, the figure naturally shifted dramatically.

    Still, there’s no getting around the model’s substantial improvement in Maintenance Exposure, derived through the single July transaction and three additions to inventory. With an ETP Ratio of 55%, and with inventory at only five units (5.6% of the active fleet), sellers should have some realistic opportunities to trade their aircraft, assuming price expectations are sensible.

    Beechcraft King Air C90

    Our research uncovered two aircraft trades in July, and the 47 units comprising the latest inventory mix equated to 12.1% of the active King Air C90 fleet – hardly the stuff of legend.

    While the model’s Maintenance Exposure decrease of $71k far exceeded its Ask Price reduction, the resulting 116.6% ETP Ratio does not hold much promise for sellers. Buyers, on the other hand, have their pick of the litter.

    Dassault Falcon 50

    Two units found new owners in July. The remaining inventory of 23 aircraft equated to 12.3% of the active fleet. While the ‘for sale’ fleet saw Maintenance Exposure decrease over $33k and Ask Price increase more than $84k, the resulting ETP Ratio still exceeded 126%.

    Although statistically deserving of its spot on the ‘Most Improved’ list, it is doubtful that sellers will experience a dramatic change in fortune although, for some buyers, this may still be the perfect solution for their geographic operating environment.

    Beechcraft King Air B200 (Pre-2001 Models)

    The second King Air model to occupy a spot on this month’s ‘Most Improved’ list definitely belongs here. Four units traded in July, and the 55 aircraft listed for sale create good selection for buyers, while sellers can benefit from availability only equating to 7.1% of the active fleet.

    The model’s ETP Ratio, at 46.2%, is also a great deal more conducive to deal-making and resulted from a Maintenance Exposure drop exceeding $70k and a slight Ask Price increase.

    Bombardier Global Express

    By no means a stranger to this list, the Global Express gained its position in July following a Maintenance Exposure decrease approaching $393k that was overshadowed an Ask Price decrease exceeding $101k.

    We did not record a sale during July, and the model’s 21 listed units equate to 14.6% of the active fleet. However, with an ETP Ratio of 67%, and considering the aircraft’s capabilities and industry following, sellers should have more opportunities than sellers of many other models posting such figures.

    Cessna Citation II

    Occupying the final slot on July’s ‘Most Improved’ list is a model whose constituents range in age from 25 to 42 years, and whose 83 inventory units equate to 16.5% of the active fleet. For buyers not afraid to become the final owner of an asset within the Small Jet range, the Citation II might be worth considering, as Ask Price fell nearly $24k in July while Maintenance Exposure improved (decreased) over $55k.

    Of course, the aircraft’s actual Maintenance Exposure could make your acquisition a bit more expensive that planned, considering the ETP Ratio stood at nearly 128% when last calculated.

    Most Deteriorated Business Jets and Turboprops - Asset Insight July 2020

    Most Deteriorated Models

    All six models on July’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ list registered a Maintenance Exposure increase. The Bombardier Learjet 36A posted no Ask Price change, while the remaining models experienced the following decreases:

    • Cessna Citation ISP: -$58,192
    • Bombardier Learjet 55: -$26,071
    • Gulfstream GIV-SP: -$348,000
    • Hawker Beechjet 40: -$75,000
    • Gulfstream GIV: -$11,111

    Cessna Citation ISP

    The best aircraft among July’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ assets held the second-highest position on June’s ‘Most Improved’ list. Its dramatic change in stature came from a $7k Maintenance Exposure increase, along with a $58k drop in Ask Price.

    As if the model’s 128.5% ETP Ratio posed an insufficient challenge for sellers, inventory stood at 20% of the active fleet (55 units) as we closed out July. Three aircraft did trade last month, but this model’s fleet is aged between 35 and 43 years of age, so prospective buyers need to keep in mind that any future resale is unlikely to generate a price much above salvage value.

    Bombardier Learjet 55

    First the good news: One asset transacted last month and we did not record any additions to the Learjet 55 inventory.

    Now the bad news: The 14 units listed for sale equate to 14.6% of the active fleet for an asset whose ETP Ratio is 188% (by virtue of Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $55k and an Ask Price decrease of more than $26k).

    Ask Prices for this model range between just below $500k to just below $1.0m. For an aircraft aged 33 to 39 years, even the low end of the pricing spectrum will be challenging for sellers to achieve, unless they can effectively monetize their aircraft’s Maintenance Equity.

    Gulfstream GIV-SP

    Three transactions took place in July proving, yet again, this model’s strong following. However, with a Maintenance Exposure increase approaching $487k, along with an Ask Price decrease of $348k, the GIV-SP, unlike those operated under MSG3 Maintenance rules (see above), found its way onto the ‘Most Deteriorated’ list.

    While the 19 aircraft listed for sale represent only 9.1% of the active fleet, the model’s 97% ETP Ratio will make selling against its MSG3 brethren challenging for most existing owners, especially if the aircraft’s engines are not enrolled on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Program.

    Hawker Beechjet 400

    This 31 to 34-year-old model joined the ‘Most Deteriorated’ list having completed no transactions during July. It did so on its Maintenance Exposure weakness which increased (worsened) over $25k, along with a $75k reduction in Ask Price.

    Only four units are listed for sale. Unfortunately for sellers, that equates to 12.1% of the active fleet, while the model’s average ETP Ratio, at over 131%, equates to a challenging selling environment.

    Gulfstream GIV

    The third Gulfstream model to make either list finds itself in the second worst position among July’s ‘Most Deteriorated’ group.

    Two aircraft transacted in July to lower the number available for sale to 21 units (12.4% of the active fleet). Unfortunately, at the ripe old age of 27 to 34 years, this superb aircraft is beginning to reach its financial obsolescence through an ETP Ratio approaching 185%, due to a Maintenance Exposure increase exceeding $477k, along with another Ask Price reduction.

    Bombardier Learjet 36A

    With an ETP Ratio approaching 185%, and units that are as much as 44 years old, it is not difficult to understand why this model occupied the most deteriorated spot on July’s list. What might be surprising is that one aircraft did trade in July, and only four are listed for sale.

    Unfortunately, those listings equate to 10.8% of the active fleet whose Maintenance Exposure increased by more that $306k by virtue of the latest inventory mix.

    While air ambulance work has kept this model flying, it, too, is staring at financial obsolescence with some units probably already at that destination.

    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 HCMP 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.

    More information from www.assetinsight.com.

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on August 14, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Your Private Air Transportation Options – Making An Informed Decision and Executing It Correctly see more

    NAFA member, Anthony Kioussis with Asset Insight, hosts their latest podcast "Aircraft Ownership Lifecycle Podcast" featuring NAFA member, Lee Rohde President and CEO of Essex Aviation Group.  

    Lee Rohde discusses how the consulting company he founded advises aviation-related entities on a wide range of aircraft acquisition, strategic planning, financial, operational and management matters. Specifically, Lee covers:

    • Private Air Transportation options – what should prospective users consider in reviewing their options for meeting their travel requirements?
    • In the event an entity determines they want to acquire an aircraft, how should they go about identifying the best model to meet their travel requirements?
    • What factors have the greatest influence on the decision to acquire a new vs. a pre-owned aircraft?
    • The issues and complexities associated with refurbishing or upgrading a pre-owned aircraft.
    • The expertise an entity should secure if they are planning an aircraft acquisition.
    • The factors to be considered when determining an Offer Price for an aircraft.
    • What a pre-purchase inspection entails and why it is such an important part of acquisition process.

    Listen to the podcast here.  

    This podcast was originally published by Asset Insight.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Business Jets: Not Just for Business see more

    NAFA member, Peter Antonenko, Chief Operating Officer at Jetcraft, discusses the business of business aviation.

    I’ll come right out and say it: I love airplanes, I love flying, and I love the business of business aviation. The combination of short-field landing capabilities, range and speed make private aircraft a perfect corporate tool. But something that’s often overlooked is how business aviation has an exceptionally broad range of utilizations, particularly in times of crisis, supporting air ambulance, cargo, and governmental missions.

    Many industries have done an excellent job pivoting to meet the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic – distilleries making hand sanitizer, fashion brands stitching surgical masks and car manufacturers producing ventilators.  At Jetcraft, we are proud and privileged to be part of a sector that was ready to act when needed.

    For example, aircraft cabins configured to carry the same life support equipment found in trauma centers have been used widely to transport patients, especially during this crisis. The variety of these specially equipped business jets gives people access to larger hospitals regardless of how small their local runway is, or how far they need to travel. This medical capability was true before Covid-19 and it will remain true long after.

    Medevac operations are not the only use for business aircraft during a pandemic. Throughout this crisis we have seen private jets previously used for corporate missions being offered for cargo – in particular, transporting personal protective equipment, ventilators and medications. Efficiency is a must at times like this, as outbreaks spike at different rates around the world and needs are constantly shifting.

    Statistically, 40% of air cargo is transported in the belly hold of passenger aircraft. With a significant portion of the world’s airline fleet grounded, a pinch point to move supplies occurred. Business aviation stepped up with owners and operators taking on some of the critical capacity needs.

    A focal point of air transport, business or commercial, has been putting people in front of one another with great speed. Video conferencing is helping fulfill the role of in-person meetings in the short term, but the need hasn’t been replaced. In this regard, business aviation has been instrumental in the fight against Covid-19, as governments and agencies use private aircraft to fly scientists on fact-finding missions and reposition medical staff to areas with a shortage.

    As for corporate owners, these jets have proven more useful than they may have ever imagined. Business aircraft are making it possible to move employees during a time when airline flight options are minimal, and allowing key individuals to be where they are needed to keep supply lines running smoothly.

    Business aviation has long been a tool designed to fit around people’s needs, and it is also worth mentioning the select group of people who make these missions possible. It is thanks to the pilots, mechanics, ground crews, line technicians, and staff at the manufacturers, FBOs and MROs across the globe, that staffed, flew and maintained these aircraft so they might complete their missions. To them, we share our greatest thanks for their hard work in enabling our sector to support Covid-19 relief efforts, and for their continued dedication to our industry now, before, and in the future.

    This article was originally published by Jetcraft on May 27, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Finance, answers your aircraft purchase questions. see more

    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, answers your aircraft purchasing questions.

    Question:  I am a healthy 60 year old, retired student pilot with aspirations to purchase a used Cessna 182 for recreational travel after successfully passing my private pilot check ride. My intention at this point is to pay cash /not finance, but that decision is not based on considerations other than a personal aversion to debt. My expected budget for the purchase is $100-$175K, including any ancillary expenses associated with the purchase (inspections, taxes, fees, etc.) I am ignorant of the various considerations involved in choosing / buying an airplane and am curious about any services AOPA may offer to assist new pilots in purchasing their first airplane.

    Are there benefits to financing? Is there a “playbook” on buying an airplane that AOPA provides for its members? Is there a financial advantage to waiting, i.e., is the current market in used GA aircraft likely to soften into a “buyers market?” Is it typically more cost effective to acquire a low tech platform and update avionics or look for a plane with glass panel already installed? Other considerations not mentioned?

    Answer: The biggest benefit to financing is for folks with cash flow that want to preserve liquidity. Right now, especially, we are seeing people preserve capital either for investing in the market or for a safety margin if things start to get tight, cash flow-wise, down the road. In terms of a “play book”, we have a great resource page on our website for members trying to navigate the purchasing and financing process: https://finance.aopa.org/aviation-finance/first-time-buyers

    At this point, it seems unlikely for the used GA aircraft market to soften. Inventory levels of good 182s was limited prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. What we’ve seen since the COVID-19 outbreak is very few new listings of aircraft for sale, making it just as hard to find deals. Could it change down the road?  Possibly, but at the rate things are going it won’t likely be for a while longer. In terms of acquiring a low tech platform and updating the avionics vs. looking for an airplane with glass panel already installed, you are almost always better off (economically) buying an airplane someone else has done upgrades on. They put the money in but won’t get it back out. We always recommend that members get pre-approved so that when you find the airplane you like you’re not going to lose out to a cash buyer. Please reach out to us by calling 800.627.5263 so we can answer any other questions you may have.

    This article was originally published by AOPA Finance on May 29, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Podcast: Business & Legal Issues to Consider When Acquiring An Aircraft see more

    David Mayer, a Partner with the law firm of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, discusses some of the business and legal issues one should consider when acquiring a new or pre-owned aircraft.  Topics covered include:

    • The kinds of business professionals a buyer should engage for an aircraft purchase.
    • The terms a Letter of Intent (LOI) should include when it comes to the acquisition process.
    • Why use an LOI rather than enter into an Aircraft Purchase Agreement immediately?
    • Should the LOI state the purchase be contingent on securing financing?
    • Drafting the Aircraft Purchase Agreement.
    • Issues that are important to address in the Aircraft Purchase Agreement.
    • How Federal Aviation Regulations can affect aircraft purchases and structuring.
    • The benefit of establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Trust to own an aircraft.
    • Tax planning and bonus depreciation.
    • The “fly-away” sales tax exemption.
    • How aviation insurance protects an owner or lessee.
    • The importance of Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), FAA and International Registry filings.

     

     

    This podcast was originally published by Asset Insight on July 21, 2020.

     

    About David G. Mayer

    David Mayer has decades of experience in guiding clients through domestic and international transactions, disputes, and other matters. Currently, most of his work relates to business aviation and aircraft finance.

    He likes to describe when he can first help clients: “When they say airplane, I’m in.” In this regard, David advises his clients at all stages of their experiences in buying, selling, structuring, leasing, financing, maintaining, and upgrading private aircraft. His tasks range from simple to complex.

    David helps clients evaluate and, when feasible, minimize local, state, and federal taxes, particularly bonus depreciation, associated with purchases and sales of business aircraft, turboprops, and other private aircraft, comply with federal aviation regulations, and manage liability risk that they worry an aircraft may cause.

    He represents, among others, high wealth individuals, large private and public companies, private jet owners and lessees, Part 135 and Part 91 operators, flight departments, charter operators, brokers, consultants, and management companies. By representing various lessors, lessees, lenders, and borrowers, David knows both sides of the transaction, enabling him to expedite and achieve favorable results for his clients in a wide array of legal matters.

    David has experience as a corporate counsel in addition to his longer experience as a partner in law firms. Adapting to the client’s interest, David provides insightful, thoughtful, and common-sense advice honed in part by calling on his extensive industry contacts in business aviation to enhance the quality and value of the client experience.

    He writes blogs for Aviation International Network, in the industry’s AINsight series, which, in part, positions David at the leading edge of legal and business developments in business aviation.

    Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP

    Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP represents clients in matters involving business, commercial and entertainment law based on years of experience in courtroom trials and negotiations across the U.S. We assist large corporations as well as individuals in a variety of industries, including aviation, energy, entertainment, financial institutions, health care, hospitality, real estate, and retail automobile sales.

     

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Asset Insight Launches Podcast Series Focusing on the Aircraft Ownership Lifecycle see more

    July 7, 2020 – Asset Insight today announced the launch of a new podcast series, available through the company’s website (www.assetinsight.com) and across all podcast platforms, free of charge. The library of episodes is stocked with 15 to 30-minute sessions focused on all segments of the Business & General Aviation aircraft ownership lifecycle – Acquiring, Financing, Operating, Maintaining and Selling. Host Anthony Kioussis visits with expert guests from numerous industry organizations and sectors who offer best practices, timely advice, proven principles, and explore specific aspects of the business aviation industry.

    The Asset Insight Podcast library presently features 8 episodes, including sessions with Jay Mesinger at Mesinger Jets; Jim Blessing at Air Fleet Capital; Shelly Svoren at First Republic Bank; Lee Rohde at Essex Aviation; Jim Simpson at First Republic Bank; René Bangelsdorf at Charlie Bravo Aviation; Janine Iannarelli at Par Avion Ltd; and Ryan Waguespack with NATA. More podcasts will be made available each week.

    “Asset Insight is in a unique position to bring aviation professionals together to hold timely discussions in short, interesting, educational and entertaining on-demand podcasts.” said Tony Kioussis, president of Asset Insight, LLC and host of the series. “This new aviation podcast series offers our community the opportunity to select episodes and topics on their schedule, and according to their interest and business segment. As many of us work from home to maintain safe social distancing, our podcasts allow people to remain connected. The podcasts can also assist new personnel entering the industry; people that would otherwise find it challenging to secure such information.”

    Asset Insight Podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, www.assetinsight.com http://www.assetinsightpodcast.com, and wherever you get your podcasts.

    This release was originally published by Asset Insight on July 7, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    AMSTAT and VANGAS publish charts demonstrating the impact of COVID-19. see more

    Tinton Falls, NJ – July 22, 2020: AMSTAT and partner VANGAS Aviation Services, the leading provider of business aviation analytics have published charts showing monthly trends in business aircraft values in 2020 by market group. This data has been generated using the AMSTAT Aircraft Valuation Tool.

    In the Heavy Business Jet market group, 2020 stated with a 4% increase in the average estimated value for this group. This trend was reversed in the second half of March and start of April offsetting the initial gains and more with a 7% decline. Values plateaued in late April and early May and then proceeded to fall 16% for a net year-to-date decline of 18%. Early data suggests a recent slowdown in this decline.

    In the Super-Mid Business Jet market group estimated values rose for the first 2 months of 2020, gaining 6%. There then followed a period of values oscillated between March and April. Between the second half of May through June the average estimated value for Super-Mid Business Jets fell 15%. Year-to-date values in this group fell 14%.

    As with the Heavy Jet and Super-Mid Business Jet groups, the Medium Business Jet average estimated value rose at the start of 2020. For Medium Jets this increase was 3%. Between February and May average estimated values in this market group fell 22%. This downward trend slowed in June and may have started to level off recently.

    In the Business Turboprop market group, the average estimated value rose 4% between January and February 2020. The trend between March and May was generally downward, falling a net 14%. As with the Light Jet group, the average estimated value of Business Turboprops has lately started to regain some of the loses from earlier months. Since the start of June, the average estimated value has risen 5%.

    Andrew Young, AMSTAT General Manager said: “The AMSTAT Aircraft Valuation Tool is constantly incorporating the latest market data and is able to quickly generate serial number specific aircraft values that reflect current market conditions. The data generated by this tool has enabled VANGAS to create the charts we see here showing the impact of COVID-19 on aircraft values in 2020 and how some market segments might be starting to show some recovery in values.”

    Don Spieth at VANGAS added, “The Aircraft Valuation Tool allows users to access information about current market conditions including event driven impact like COVID 19. We are also able to leverage decades of AMSTAT research to determine probabilistic outcomes by comparing previous market disruptions in business aviation. These tools empower our industry with the ability to react to trends and adverse market conditions to better serve their clients.”

    Read full report here

    This release was originally published by AMSTAT on July 22, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    AINsight: Best Five Options To Fly Privately see more

    NAFA member, David G. Mayer, Partner with Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, shares the best options to fly privately. 

    As commercial airlines attempt to fill seats amid the Covid-19 pandemic, some families, businesses, and individuals have made a flight to safety by traveling again or for the first time on private aircraft.

    These travelers set their schedules and itineraries for on-demand business or personal flights. They can travel to about 5,300 public-use airports in the U.S., roughly 10 times the number of airports available to commercial aircraft. International airport access expands the flexibility to travel globally. Travelers greatly value saving travel time, the healthy and safe environment, productivity, and convenience of private aircraft while enjoying a comfortable, interconnected, and protected flight experience.

    Although the reasons to fly privately may be obvious, especially in the age of Covid-19, deciding on the right providers and approaches to flying are more complex. Three modes of aircraft travel involve no capital investment: chartering, jet or fraction cards, and membership programs. Each of these options holds strong attributes for new and some repeat flyers. Two other options require capital outlays for frequent flyers: purchasing a whole aircraft or a fractional share of an aircraft.

    Before All Else

    Before making choices from the five types of private aircraft travel described below, each person should complete the following diligence and processes to select the best possible flight experience:

    • Aircraft supports the mission. Identify the right aircraft for your “mission”—industry lingo that refers to identifying the details of a trip. In general, a mission profile covers logistics, operating hours, amenities, connectivity, catering, luggage/storage capacity, number of passengers, and travel distance. One size aircraft might not fit all travel needs, especially for owners or lessees that have access to only one aircraft.

    • Stellar manager, operator, and pilot safety records. Insist that the commercial operator, aircraft manager, and pilots have stellar safety records. The commercial operator should supply a top-flight team, including experienced pilots approved by the operator’s insurer. Managers, operators, and pilots should be free of enforcement actions by, or violation notices from, the FAA. Ask them.

    • Aircraft in good condition. Confirm whether the aircraft complies with its manufacturer’s maintenance and regulatory requirements. The aircraft should also present a well-maintained physical appearance.

    • Robust Covid-19 protocols. Verify that the aircraft manager, commercial operator, and FBO have designed and implemented a robust Covid-19 safety protocol for ground personnel, passengers, and crew, including health screening, social distancing, and personal protective equipment.

    • Adequate insurance coverage. Require that the aircraft manager or commercial operator provide written evidence of comprehensive liability insurance to protect you despite the tightening insurance markets.

    • Aviation experts. Use business aviation experts, including various brokers, technical consultants, and aviation lawyers, to assist in evaluating, documenting, and closing the best option or options for you.

    Chartering Aircraft

    charter is simply an ad hoc transportation service by private aircraft by the seat or whole aircraft. Charter makes the most sense for occasional and new flyers including those seeking a healthy and safe aircraft travel environment during the pandemic. Although more complicated, a charter is like taking a taxi. In legal terms, charter operators engage in air commerce by carrying persons or property for compensation or hire. You can hire a charter service in most cities with a private or public-use airport.

    Perhaps the simplest question about a charter and other options is what kind of aircraft does the traveler need to satisfy his or her top travel priorities? And how much will she or he spend to travel on a private aircraft? Charter rates can easily climb from approximately $1,200 to $12,000 per hour or more, depending on the aircraft selected from light jet or turboprop to an ultra-long-range jet.

    Though charter rates are not inexpensive, charters are somewhat more affordable because charter rates have dropped since 2019. Also, Congress approved, among other tax benefits, an excise tax holiday in the CARES Act, which suspends the 7.5 percent flight excise tax on amounts paid to charter operators from March 28, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020.

    Cost transparency is sometimes challenging in the charter world. Travelers should ask for receipts detailing charges on their accounts, watch for overlapping charges, and tie the charges to final invoices. It is advisable to compare operator fleet sizes and business models.

    One persistent legal and safety concern arises from illegal charter operations. Broadly speaking, illegal charters occur when the aircraft operator or pilot conducts charter operations without proper certification or fails to comply with strict safety requirements in applicable regulations. Illegal charters have ensnared frequent and occasional charter travelers.

    Customers should look for red flags such as an operator asking customers to sign short-term leases or timesharing agreements. As a result of these regulatory violations, the FAA has, in coordination with the business aviation industry, stepped up its enforcement actions against operators and warned pilots to shun illegal charter operations.

    Membership Programs

    Fee-paying members typically have access to private aircraft for a set number of hours that may range from 25 to 100 hours per year. Program terms, aircraft fleets, and quality vary widely as does pricing for membership and flights. Before joining, travelers should compare programs of operators that have developed creative ways to travel at a predictable cost.

    Jet and Fraction Cards

    Jet and fraction cards cost more than most other aircraft travel options and work like a pre-paid credit card that a traveler uses to pay for 25 to 100 or more flight hours. The cards enable travelers to dip a toe into private aviation. Card amounts vary, starting as low as $25,000 and perhaps lower in this changing segment. These cards and other options can provide supplemental lift to enhance travel flexibility.

    Whole Aircraft Ownership or Leasing

    Buying or leasing a “whole” aircraft often makes sense once a traveler anticipates using at least 200 flight hours per year and wants to control the use, customization, operational control, repair facilities, crewing, base location, and availability of the aircraft. However, many of my clients acquire aircraft knowing they will need fewer hours but also expecting to charter the aircraft to others to offset fixed costs.

    At the outset of deciding whether to buy a whole aircraft, businesses should determine whether bonus depreciation and other tax benefits may be available and structured to reduce their after-tax cost of ownership and operations. Financing is widely available for whole aircraft at historically low rates. It is important to use aviation experts here as purchase, sale, financing, or leasing transactions are often complex.

    Fractional Share Ownership

    Simpler than owning or leasing a whole aircraft, an owner or lessee of an aircraft fractional share typically commits to a five-year program. A fraction typically corresponds to a certain number of annual flight hours, often ranging from 25 to 300 hours, though some programs instead use number of travel days instead of flight hours. Fractional programs charge monthly management and per-hour flight fees, differ in quality, and provide highly personalized service. Bonus depreciation and/or other federal tax benefits might be available like whole aircraft. A few banks will lease or finance a fractional share.

    Conclusion

    To mitigate Covid-19 infection risk, some families, businesses, and individuals have abandoned commercial aircraft travel for on-demand travel in private aircraft. The five best options for such private aircraft flights consist of charter services, membership programs, and jet or fraction cards, along with purchasing or leasing whole or fractional shares of these aircraft.

    Covid-19 has boosted demand to fly by private aircraft, especially charter services. Perhaps this demand foretells a new era of sustainable growth in private aircraft travel as people realize that these flights not only save time but might also save lives.

    Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to convey, and does not convey, legal or other advice. Each person should consult his or her advisors to make decisions about flying privately, as well as any legal or economic implications, risks, or terms in connection with any such decision.

    This article was originally published by AINonline on July 17, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Everything You Need to Know About Aircraft Pre-Purchase Inspections see more

    NAFA member, Thomas W. Mitchell, Executive Vice President of Essex Aviation, discusses aircraft pre-purchase inspections and what you need to know.

    An aircraft pre-buy inspection refers to the process by which a qualified entity or inspector examines an aircraft during a potential sale or transaction. During this process, the inspector aims to identify any preexisting damage, potential maintenance issues, Airworthiness Directives, and so on in order to protect the buyer’s interests.

    The Importance of an Aircraft Pre-Buy Inspection

    Purchasing private aircraft is an expensive investment, even when the asset in question is in perfect working order. Minor issues with an aircraft can incur major expenses, so it’s in a buyer’s best interest to conduct a pre-purchase inspection as part of your acquisition process.

    The fact of the matter is that it’s not unusual for the current owner to believe that their aircraft is in pristine condition, especially if they’ve recently invested in upgrades to the aircraft or have files of expensive maintenance receipts to show for it. Even with all the effort and support provided by the current owner, certain items or areas of the aircraft can only be sufficiently reviewed during an aircraft pre-buy inspection.

    Therefore, it’s wise for a buyer to request an aircraft pre-purchase inspection, rather than find out after the fact that there’s an issue with the aircraft. Depending on the severity of the issue (or issues) identified during the inspection, the buyer may elect to negotiate with the current owner to lower the purchase price or to cover the cost of repairs and or the implications to the aircraft value. Depending upon the structure of the transaction, the buyer could also have the option to reject the aircraft and terminate the transaction.

    Even if money is of no object, an aircraft pre-purchase inspection is a pragmatic move because it often saves the buyer valuable time — time that the aircraft could spend flying rather than sitting in a repair facility. Identifying and addressing potential issues prior to purchase is an excellent way for a buyer to help ensure that they’re able to fly the aircraft worry-free for some time after the purchase is complete.

    A Note on COVID-19

    In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in sellers pushing for quick sales, often at an attractive discount, on the condition that the buyer limit or bypass entirely the aircraft pre-purchase inspection process. Although, in this scenario, a discounted sale price can be appealing, it often comes with risk of unexpected costs after closing — costs that would have otherwise been identified during an aircraft pre-buy inspection. To that end, COVID-19 should have no influence on buyers when weighing the benefits of and protection afforded by a pre-purchase inspection, even if it increases the overall timeline of the transaction.

    Potential Issues an Aircraft Pre-Purchase Inspection Can Reveal

    To illustrate the importance of an aircraft pre-purchase inspection, let’s look at some of the possible issues that could come to light during the inspection process:

    • Although inoperative cabin systems — such as cabin entertainment, window shade controls, and galley equipment — might appear to be minor, they are actually certified as systems that need to function properly in order to meet delivery conditions. Costs can increase exponentially if replacement parts or components for that system are obsolete or difficult to source. If discovered during the aircraft pre-buy inspection, this issue would fall upon the seller to correct.
    • Aircraft are designed under strict certification. During the aircraft pre-buy inspection process, it’s not unusual to discover that certain refurbishments or upgrades made to the aircraft were not properly certified or approved — an issue that can take a long and costly process to rectify. If identified, this issue would fall under the seller’s purview.
    • Any aircraft that has been repaired or modified has an extensive list of required documents, including instructions for continued airworthiness. During the inspection process, it is not uncommon for an inspector to find that these key regulatory documents have either been ignored or are missing completely.
    • An aircraft that was subject to damage and subsequently repaired might now require ongoing inspections that are out-of-phase with its normal scheduled inspections. This issue could cause a new owner to experience unexpected downtime and costs.
    • The type of inspection program for aircraft can vary based on its current operator and utilization. In cases of very high or very low utilization, there is a necessary process to transition the aircraft back to the normal manufacturer’s inspection program — a process that is costly, and that should come at the seller’s expense.

    Why You Really Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection

    Some buyers make the mistake of assuming that, since the aircraft recently underwent a major inspection, there’s no need for an aircraft pre-buy inspection. Although it’s true that a major inspection might turn up some useful information about the aircraft, that inspection is only a snapshot of the aircraft’s current condition based on a predetermined checklist. Aircraft pre-purchase inspections are uniquely designed to specifically examine and target the areas of greatest concern and have been proven to reveal trouble spots within an aircraft model that are most at risk for a buyer.

    Another common misconception is that an aircraft pre-buy inspection report is unnecessary for an aircraft that’s only a few years old. Newer aircraft models naturally command a higher selling price than older models, which means any issues discovered with a newer model could have a greater monetary impact on the presumed and assigned value of the aircraft than with an older one. The fact is that even after just a few years of operation, an aircraft’s environment and operating history can be detrimental to its presumed condition and market value. Furthermore, if the aircraft is still under warranty, any issues discovered during the aircraft pre-purchase inspection may still be covered under warranty programs.

    Finally, buyers often assume that an aircraft pre-buy inspection is unnecessary when the aircraft in question has a strong maintenance pedigree — for example, if the aircraft were previously owned and operated by a Fortune 100 company. Although a corporation’s assumed reputation for high standards would suggest that the aircraft was kept in mint condition, this isn’t always the case. Some corporations may have limited their aviation department budgets, which could result in the deferral of planned upgrades, refurbishments, and, in some cases, even improvements by way of recommended service bulletins.

    For all of the reasons outlined here and in the previous section, the importance of aircraft pre-purchase inspection services really can’t be overstated.

    Aircraft Pre-Purchase Inspection Tips

    • Set realistic expectations. When purchasing a pre-owned aircraft, there are bound to be some slight imperfections, many of which the buyer can easily fix on their own. For example, cosmetic issues could be the result of normal wear and tear and have no bearing on safety or airworthiness, therefore, the seller might not be required to repair these issues in order to meet the defined delivery conditions. In this instance, it would make more sense for the buyer to make those minor improvements on their own.

    In any case, it’s important that buyers not go into the process fixated on the idea of the “perfect plane,” and that they decide well in advance which imperfections they’re willing to accept and handle on their own. That said, it would be wise for a buyer to look for an advisor who can provide guidance on whether a minor issue is truly minor, whether it affects how the aircraft is certified, and whether that inoperative item might actually affect the value or safety of the aircraft.

    • Work with a qualified source. Buyers should always insist on using their own, third-party resource inspector rather than allow the maintenance provider who currently services the aircraft to perform the aircraft pre-purchase inspection. This is because, having history with the aircraft, the current maintenance provider might be biased, and therefore possibly less apt or inclined to catch things during their evaluation. Buyers should look for an inspector who specializes in the particular aircraft model that they intend to buy — for example, small or especially vintage aircraft would require a different skillset and experience than a newer corporate jet or helicopter.

    It’s recommended that any prospective buyer partner with a private aviation consultant to exclusively represent them, as opposed to someone who represents both the buyer and the seller. The latter might be inclined to recommend a pre-buy geared to incur the least friction for completing the transaction. A private aviation consultant can help the buyer steer clear of such risks by leveraging their knowledge of industry options to identify which resources are most appropriate and why.

    • Look closely at the history of the aircraft. An aircraft’s maintenance logbook or other permanent records can reveal unseen issues. This is another instance in which it’s beneficial for a buyer to work with a private aviation consultant because an experienced consultant will know exactly which red flags to look for. At Essex Aviation, any time we work with a client to review an aircraft’s logbooks, some flags we look for are:
      1. Gaps in time that indicate that the aircraft sat unused for a period of time and was perhaps not properly preserved.
      2. Periods of time in which the aircraft recorded significant flight time, but with no corresponding maintenance records.
      3. Records that support the traceability of replacement parts or components; these certifications should be readily available and complete.
    • Review all applicable Airworthiness Directives. Airworthiness Directives (AD) are “legally enforceable regulations issued by the FAA in accordance with 14 CFR Part 39 to correct an unsafe condition in a product.” Similar to a recall notice for an automobile, an AD denotes a safety matter with the aircraft that, if the seller fails to comply with, would be cause within the Purchase Agreement for the buyer to reject the aircraft.
    • Perform a test flight. Certain issues will only come to light when the aircraft is in use, so it’s best to request test flights at the beginning of the aircraft pre-buy inspection, when the aircraft is returned to service, and prior to the final closing.
    • Ask the right questions. Buyers should be actively involved in the inspection process and should ask the following questions:

    – Where has the aircraft been maintained?

    – In what geographical environment has the aircraft been based?

    – Has the aircraft been hangared consistently?

    – Has the aircraft sustained any damage?

    – If the aircraft was out of use for a period of time, was it properly preserved?

    These questions not only enable buyers to stay informed throughout the process, but also to avoid any potential financial implications.

    • Don’t rush the process. Depending on the size of the aircraft, a pre-buy inspection can range from 1–2 days for a small piston aircraft to 2–3 weeks for a mid-size corporate jet. Note that these timeline estimates are only for the completion of the inspection and delivery of the final aircraft pre-buy inspection report; additional time will be required in order to rectify approved discrepancies. Therefore, it’s recommended that buyers budget enough time in their schedule prior to completing the transaction for a thorough pre-buy evaluation — after all, the more comprehensive the inspection, the better the outcome for the buyer.

    This article was originally published by Essex Aviation on May 28, 2020.

     

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    With Rates Still Falling, Am I Better Off With a Floating Rate? see more

    NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, discusses adjustable rates and your aircraft purchase. 

    The classic answer is, "It depends." The answer lies in what your time horizon is for holding onto the aircraft you are buying.

    Most lenders offering adjustable rates will have an interest rate floor. And for most of them, that floor is only slight lower than where rates are currently. Remember, lenders have floors because they incur real costs in lending money and also seen rates go negative. Interest rate floors allow them to cover their costs and remain solvent. Therefore, while anyone with an adjustable rate could benefit if rates drop slightly and/or stay flat, borrowers with longer-term hold time horizon risk paying more when interest rates start eventually going back up.

    That said, the latest economic projections indicate the current economic situation we find ourselves in is likely to last between 18 months and two years. Given that the average hold time is somewhere around four years, that means there are a number of people who are holding their aircraft for only a couple of years or less. So, if your time horizon to own an aircraft is less than a couple of years, then yes, absolutely, this is a great time to look at floating rates.

    If your hold time is greater than two to three years, you risk becoming exposed to interest rates floating higher when the economy starts picking up steam. It's not unlikely that the Fed may increase rates in order to stave off inflation. That'll increase the cost of your loan.

    This article was originally published by AOPA Finance on April 30, 2020.