David Wyndham

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    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:

    1. Salaries
    2. Training
    3. Hangar
    4. Insurance
    5. Refurbishment

    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.

     

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    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.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    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:

    1. The current aircraft can no longer perform the mission, or
    2. 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.

    In Summary…

    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.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    When to Plan the Sale of Your Aircraft see more

    NAFA member David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, shares tips on knowing when the time is right to sell your jet.

    Although it’s important for all owners to have a strategy on when to replace their aircraft, there are several important factors making an owner’s plan specific to their operation. David Wyndham offers insights on these.

    When you acquire an aircraft, whether it is your first or a replacement you may not be thinking about when you should sell. Though it may not be an immediate concern, a savvy owner should still have a strategy in place for when to sell.

    Unfortunately, there is no easy formula for this, nor is there a single tactic to follow. There are, however, two general reasons to dispose of your aircraft. The first is that it’s no longer capable of performing its mission. The second is that the aircraft is no longer economically feasible for the mission.

    Mission Situations

    One of the main reasons why people replace their aircraft is that their mission needs change and the aircraft no longer offers the capability required.

    A typical case is a requirement for greater range or passenger capacity. If you require additional range, your current aircraft could probably still perform the trip with a fuel stop. You should keep in mind that larger, longer range aircraft cost more to acquire and operate. Is avoiding that one-hour fuel stop worth spending $10m-$20m more for a larger aircraft?

    Another scenario might be the need to carry more passengers, more regularly. While adding more seats is not a viable option if you’re to preserve passenger comfort, some aircraft can add one or two more passenger seats with a simple reconfiguration. This may include using a belted lavatory as a passenger seat. (I had one client who used a typical eight-seat Hawker 800XP as a nine-seat shuttle by doing just that.)

    However, flying nine people 3,000 miles with an eight-seat aircraft is not a viable long-term solution, especially with baggage.

    High Utilization Operations

    I have worked with several clients who fly frequently. One has several Light Jets that average about 700 hours per year on 400–800nm legs.

    Maintaining a high utilization schedule such as this is easier with newer aircraft. Newer aircraft require less maintenance and spend less time in the shop for maintenance, which is a major reason why fractional companies have newer models in their fleets.

    Cost of Ownership

    If the cost of keeping your aircraft is outweighed by replacing it, then the best financial plan is to replace your aircraft.

    Operating Costs Increase with Age: As aircraft age, unscheduled maintenance tends to rise. Some components will wear out and other critical components may have a specific life limit.

    Engines are still going to be the biggest single cost item on most aircraft. Engine overhauls are infrequent but high cost, often exceeding $1m per engine on some large-cabin jets.

    At some point, the ability to support the aircraft will become difficult due to increased unscheduled maintenance and a growing scarcity of spare parts.

    Fleet size, the aircraft being out of production, and the average age of the fleet all factor into driving up the costs and availability of spares. This becomes a greater factor for aircraft in their mid-20s and older.

    Residual Values Decline with Age: Along with increased operating costs come declining values. The value of an aircraft is based partly on its age and partly on its maintenance status. For example, a 20-year-old business jet has much of its value associated with its maintenance status. That jet may be worth $2m with the engine in need of an overhaul but it will be worth $4m with freshly overhauled engines and a major inspection recently accomplished.

    Guaranteed hourly maintenance programs help to smooth the value curve by accruing for the maintenance and offering assurances that maintenance costs will remain predictable. But a 20-year-old aircraft on a guaranteed hourly maintenance program is still going to be worth more than a 22-year-old aircraft on a program.

    The Art of Life-Cycle Costing

    The financial planning for when to sell your jet is best done using life cycle costing. This analysis considers the total costs of acquisition, operation and disposition.

    Since you should be doing a maintenance and operating budget annually, the addition of resale value can also be done regularly and will ideally project values for the next three to five years at a minimum.

    While predicting future values is at best an educated guess, the life cycle cost of ‘keep versus replace’ over the next several years can give you a lead time to plan for the aircraft replacement as well as time to perform an analysis on future options.

    Planning for how long to own your aircraft is ultimately determined by your needs, your mission, and the life cycle costs. Consider all these at least annually and forward-plan.

    More information from www.conklindd.com.

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on April 22, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    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?

    Mission Changes

    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.

    Changing Costs

    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.

    In Summary

    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.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Three Myths About Business Aircraft Ownership see more

    NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses the myths about business aircraft ownership. 

    David Wyndham speaks to people who are new to Business Aviation on a regular basis, and also hears some recurrent myths about business aircraft ownership. Following he sets straight three of the more common misunderstandings…

    I tend to help clients select the appropriate aircraft for their flying needs and to cost out the various ways to achieve that. Along the way is the need and opportunity to educate and inform.

    Quite often the decision-maker is informed, but others (perhaps a board member or a CFO) are not. My first task is to listen to, and understand the client’s concerns and then, after validating them, provide answers – or at least a different point of view – for their consideration.

    But what are some of the common myths I hear relating to business aircraft ownership? Let's dive in…

     

    Myth 1: You can Make Money Chartering Your Aircraft

    One client operates a transcontinental business jet. When it’s in for scheduled maintenance, he often uses charter. After seeing the charter bills, however, he wanted to buy a second transcontinental business jet for his backup and to charter it while he was not flying.

    I worked with his aviation manager to find the break-even utilization. When accounting for the acquisition cost as well as the operating costs, there would be a need to fly over 2,000 charter hours annually. Why? There are two parts to the answer:

    First: Charter rates are a relative bargain. While $8,000 per hour to charter a Long-Range Jet may seem like a lot, the operating expenses are significant: The variable expenses of fuel and maintenance alone average about $4,000 per hour. The annual fixed costs, including items such as crew, hangar, insurance, training and airborne internet run to $1.4m.

    A typical charter payback to the owner is 85% of the listed hourly rate, and the owner pays for the aircraft expenses. So on that basis, our $8,000-per-hour charter provides the owner $6,800 per hour. 

    Deducting the $4,000 variable hourly costs leaves $2,800 per hour. To accumulate the $1.4m fixed costs takes 500 charter hours.

    So, after that isn’t it all profit? In short, no. Our owner paid $60m for his global business jet. Current market depreciation is about 7% per year (or a loss in value of $4.2m per year). And that would require another 1,500 charter hours to make the deficit up. Hence our 2,000-hour break-even point.

    Second: Money is not free. Our owner has a cost of capital, or an opportunity cost. If he paid $60m in cash for the jet, he can’t invest that money in his company or other ventures. If you add in a 10% return on capital, there is $6m per year in the lost opportunity of having his money tied-up in the jet.

    He could opt to decrease that up front with an operating lease or a loan, but then his fixed expenses increase. To verify this, look at the financial reports of the airlines: An airline needs to fly between 2,500 to 3,000 hours per year per airplane in order to make a profit.

    There is almost no way an on-demand charter operator can book enough charter to cover the costs of owning their own business jet. When an aircraft owner utilizes a charter operator to charter their aircraft when not in use, both parties can win.

    The charter operator gets the use of a business aircraft without the cost to acquire it. The owner gets some revenues to offset their operating costs.

     

    Myth 2: You Should Focus on Only one Cost… ‘Acquisition’

    Every pilot report and airplane review article mentions three things:

    1. Cabin and amenities;
    2. How far the airplane flies;
    3. Acquisition cost.

    Whenever I do an analysis of costs, I look at the total life cycle cost. This includes not only the acquisition cost, but the operating costs, and disposition.

    While the acquisition cost – less the recovery at resale – is significant, the operating costs can amount to just as much over time.

     

    Myth 3: Operating Costs are Consistent

    At least a couple of times each year I have a client who is shocked when confronted with their maintenance costs. A recent situation involved the owner of a large-cabin business jet. The management company had told the owner to budget $3,500 per hour for fuel and maintenance, yet when they looked at their total expenses for 2018 those items averaged over $5,000 per hour.

    Working through the management company’s reports, while also running our own “should-cost” analysis, we found a cost listed under maintenance for international travel, for which the mechanic accompanied the jet on a multi-week trip overseas. 

    Though this was smart planning, it was not necessarily a ‘routine’ maintenance expense.

    The owner also had an inspection every 2,400 flight hours. They flew less than 300 hours in 2018 and averaged the cost of the 2,400-hour inspection over the 300 hours they flew, not the 2,400 hours it took to accrue the expense.

    In my should-cost analysis the accruals for the maintenance from Conklin & de Decker’s data, adjusting for the cost of fuel, came to approximately $3,600 per hour over time. In any given year, the average for that year varied from about $2,400 to over $7,000 per hour.

    The bottom line is that maintenance costs are cyclical. Unless you are on a guaranteed hourly maintenance program provided by the OEM or a third-party provider like Jet Support Services, Inc., the cost in any given year can fluctuate greatly.

     

    In Summary…

    All of the above misconceptions can be cleared up by listening, explaining and budgeting correctly. It also helps to have someone who understands both the costs and the operation to assist in the understanding.

    More information from www.conklindd.com.

    This article was originally published by AvBuyer on August 19, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Supplemental Lift for Your Business Jet: What's Best for You? (Pt 1) see more

    NAFA member David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, discusses whether Charter, Jet Card or Fractional Ownership is better option for your supplemental lift. 

    Are there some business travel needs your aircraft can’t fulfill? David Wyndham explores the option of supplemental lift. What is supplemental lift, and how can you use it as an appropriate add-on in your current aircraft operations?

    Supplemental lift may be a logical alternative to your current aircraft. As the term implies, supplemental lift is an add-on to your current operation – it is not a replacement for your current aircraft. What it does is to achieve a means of expanding your operation without adding another aircraft, extra crew, and support.

    It may be that you have a specific need for short-term lift if an aircraft in your operation is undergoing a major maintenance event. Or you may need extra flight hours beyond what your current aircraft can support.

    Alternatively, there may be several unique missions on the horizon for which your current aircraft is unsuitable. Perhaps you simply wish to bridge the gap before acquiring another aircraft as your flight operation grows.

    Thankfully, there is a range of supplemental lift options available that offer a modest number of additional flight hours without the costs associated with actually owning an extra aircraft.

    Within this article, we will consider the following questions:

    • What are aircraft charter, jet cards and fractional ownership?
    • When does supplemental lift make sense?

    What are Aircraft Charter, Jet Cards & Fractional Ownership?

    Aircraft charter enables you to rent an aircraft for a trip. With charter, you pay the entire time the aircraft is flying (including any unoccupied i.e. ‘deadhead’ legs without you aboard). Therefore, charter costs are minimized with round-trip travel. Aircraft charter tends to work particularly well if one or more well-qualified providers operate the aircraft type you need close to your location.

    Jet cards are a form of pre-purchased charter. Some jet card programs are aligned with a major fractional ownership company (such as NetJets). Other providers offer a broker arrangement where they sell you the time and find the qualified operator for you. Most jet card providers offer both one-way and round-trip pricing.

    Fractional ownership enables you to purchase or lease a share of an aircraft in proportion to the additional flying that you plan to do. This may be a good way to bridge the gap between insufficient current aircraft availability and developing sufficient need to justify buying an additional aircraft outright. Operators who purchase a fractional share can choose to sell it back to the provider at the end of the contract.

    When Does Supplemental Lift Make Sense?

    As highlighted through the different options, supplemental lift can be a short- or long-term solution. The hours can vary with your needs. To illustrate, and also highlight how and when supplemental lift makes sense, following are some real-life examples.

    Extended Downtime: One operator I work with has an aircraft that’s almost 12 years old. They fly regularly and the aircraft is fast approaching a major maintenance check and engine overhauls. The avionics suite is outdated and the principal wants to add in-flight cabin connectivity. Additionally, the paint and interior are in need of a refresh.

    Having conducted a financial analysis, the operator concluded that the aircraft value prior to the work being done is lower than they would sell it for. Moreover, the cost of a newer replacement aircraft is more than they wish to spend. The plan, therefore, is for them to complete the overhauls and upgrades at the same time, with an expected downtime of at least four months.

    This means a temporary solution is required that effectively replaces their aircraft for the time it will take to complete the maintenance and upgrades.

    An estimated 120 flight hours will be needed over those four months, and the operator has chosen aircraft charter as the right option to fulfil this demand.

    Fortunately, they’re located in a city with several large charter operators nearby and were able to negotiate a block of hours with a local provider with a top safety rating.

    Expanding Mission Need: A different corporate client recently expanded operations to a distant city and their current aircraft cannot make that trip non-stop. The client estimates flying one trip per month for approximately eight flight hours, representing a 20% increase in their flying activity. To upsize to a larger aircraft would increase the operating budget by almost 90%.

    The cost to buy the larger business jet is nearly three times what their current jet is worth. Over the course of a year, the client would need less than 100 hours flying a longer-range jet and their demand analysis indicates this utilization is likely to remain steady and long-term.

    In addition, avoiding a fuel stop on 20% of the trips wouldn’t be worth the added investment in a new, larger jet. But what if the client were to supplement their operations with added lift?

    The client was able to find a fractional ownership solution to meet their needs at a fraction of the cost of replacing their current aircraft. When they near the end of their current contract, they will reassess their need and budget, revisiting the question of acquiring a larger business jet.

    Growing Operation: One last example is of a flight operation growing at 15% per year. Corporate projections indicate that this rate of growth will continue and there are new departments asking for use of the aircraft.

    In their analysis, the client’s aviation department estimates that they can meet the additional demand for the next 18–24 months by hiring a new pilot and combining a few trips each month. Acquiring another aircraft may take between six and nine months.

    The company hired a consultant who performed an aircraft needs analysis. The report confirmed the aviation department’s internal findings and recommended that a second aircraft be purchased within the year. The report also recommended adding supplemental lift within the next six months to maintain the department’s ability to meet trip requests without any disruption.

    Accordingly, they purchased a jet card offering them the additional projected flight hours. The card program includes price guarantees for 12 months with the initial purchase.

    Simultaneous Travel Needs: One more consideration might be the scenario where you occasionally need simultaneous aircraft. If you anticipate multiple overlapping requests for the aircraft, a supplemental option, such as a charter, jet card or fractional ownership might make sense.

    Next month we will continue our discussion with consideration of how to choose the right aircraft, and then manage the supplemental lift as you grow into another aircraft.

    This article was originally published on AvBuyer on June 21, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Supplemental Lift - What's Best For You? see more

    NAFA member David Wyndham, Vice President with Conklin & de Decker, shares what supplemental lift is and how it can benefit you.

    Are there some business travel needs your aircraft can’t fulfill? David Wyndham explores the option of supplemental lift. What is supplemental lift, and how can you use it as an appropriate add-on in your current aircraft operations?

    Supplemental lift may be a logical alternative to your current aircraft. As the term implies, supplemental lift is an add-on to your current operation – it is not a replacement for your current aircraft. What it does is to achieve a means of expanding your operation without adding another aircraft, extra crew, and support.

    It may be that you have a specific need for short-term lift if an aircraft in your operation is undergoing a major maintenance event. Or you may need extra flight hours beyond what your current aircraft can support.

    Alternatively, there may be several unique missions on the horizon for which your current aircraft is unsuitable. Perhaps you simply wish to bridge the gap before acquiring another aircraft as your flight operation grows. Thankfully, there is a range of supplemental lift options available that offer a modest number of additional flight hours without the costs associated with actually owning an extra aircraft.

    Within this article, we will consider the following questions:

    • What are aircraft charter, jet cards and fractional ownership?
    • When does supplemental lift make sense?

    What are Aircraft Charter, Jet Cards and Fractional Ownership?

    Aircraft charter enables you to rent an aircraft for a trip. With charter, you pay the entire time the aircraft is flying (including any unoccupied i.e. ‘deadhead’ legs without you aboard). Therefore, charter costs are minimized with round-trip travel. Aircraft charter tends to work particularly well if one or more well-qualified providers operate the aircraft type you need close to your location.

    Jet cards are a form of pre-purchased charter. Some jet card programs are aligned with a major fractional ownership company (such as NetJets).

    Other providers offer a broker arrangement where they sell you the time and find the qualified operator for you. Most jet card providers offer both one-way and round-trip pricing.

    Fractional ownership enables you to purchase or lease a share of an aircraft in proportion to the additional flying that you plan to do. This may be a good way to bridge the gap between insufficient current aircraft availability and developing sufficient need to justify buying an additional aircraft outright. Operators who purchase a fractional share can choose to sell it back to the provider at the end of the contract.

    When Does Supplemental Lift Make Sense?

    As highlighted through the different options, supplemental lift can be a short- or long-term solution. The hours can vary with your needs. To illustrate, and also highlight how and when supplemental lift makes sense, following are some real-life examples.

    Extended Downtime: One operator I work with has an aircraft that’s almost 12 years old. They fly regularly and the aircraft is fast approaching a major maintenance check and engine overhauls. The avionics suite is outdated and the principal wants to add in-flight cabin connectivity. Additionally, the paint and interior are in need of a refresh.

    Having conducted a financial analysis, the operator concluded that the aircraft value prior to the work being done is lower than they would sell it for. Moreover, the cost of a newer replacement aircraft is more than they wish to spend. The plan, therefore, is for them to complete the overhauls and upgrades at the same time, with an expected downtime of at least four months. This means a temporary solution is required that effectively replaces their aircraft for the time it will take to complete the maintenance and upgrades.

    An estimated 120 flight hours will be needed over those four months, and the operator has chosen aircraft charter as the right option to fulfill this demand.

    Fortunately, they’re located in a city with several large charter operators nearby and were able to negotiate a block of hours with a local provider with a top safety rating.

    Expanding Mission Need: A different corporate client recently expanded operations to a distant city and their current aircraft cannot make that trip non-stop. The client estimates flying one trip per month for approximately eight flight hours, representing a 20% increase in their flying activity. To upsize to a larger aircraft would increase the operating budget by almost 90%.

    The cost to buy the larger business jet is nearly three times what their current jet is worth. Over the course of a year, the client would need less than 100 hours flying a longer-range jet and their demand analysis indicates this utilization is likely to remain steady and long-term. In addition, avoiding a fuel stop on 20% of the trips wouldn’t be worth the added investment in a new, larger jet.

    But what if the client were to supplement their operations with added lift?

    The client was able to find a fractional ownership solution to meet their needs at a fraction of the cost of replacing their current aircraft. When they near the end of their current contract, they will reassess their need and budget, revisiting the question of acquiring a larger business jet.

    Growing Operation: One last example is of a flight operation growing at 15% per year. Corporate projections indicate that this rate of growth will continue and there are new departments asking for use of the aircraft.

    In their analysis, the client’s aviation department estimates that they can meet the additional demand for the next 18–24 months by hiring a new pilot and combining a few trips each month. Acquiring another aircraft may take between six and nine months.

    The company hired a consultant who performed an aircraft needs analysis. The report confirmed the aviation department’s internal findings and recommended that a second aircraft be purchased within the year. The report also recommended adding supplemental lift within the next six months to maintain the department’s ability to meet trip requests without any disruption.

    Accordingly, they purchased a jet card offering them the additional projected flight hours. The card program includes price guarantees for 12 months with the initial purchase.

    Simultaneous Travel Needs: One more consideration might be the scenario where you occasionally need simultaneous aircraft. If you anticipate multiple overlapping requests for the aircraft, a supplemental option, such as a charter, jet card or fractional ownership might make sense.

    Next month we will continue our discussion with consideration of how to choose the right aircraft, and then manage the supplemental lift as you grow into another aircraft.

    This article was originally published in AvBuyer Magazine, Volume 23, Issue 6, 2019, p. 76

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Avoid Overpaying for Your Jet Operation see more

    NAFA member David Wyndham with Conklin & de Decker considers ways for you to safeguard against being taken advantage of when it comes to aircraft bills and ways to manage operating costs efficiently.

    A recent Bloomberg article described how high net worth individuals are potentially being taken advantage of by aggressive overcharges on their aircraft bills. David Wyndham considers this, and highlights ways to understand and manage your operating costs.

    Few specific examples were cited in the Bloomberg article, and unsurprisingly no aircraft owner was willing to attribute their name to such a story, but what it highlighted is that there are many different costs associated with owning and operating an aircraft. These will vary significantly from trip to trip.

    While transparency is offered as one solution to the issue of overcharging, that approach misses one important area: understanding.

    Aviation, like medicine or law, has a complex language that seems designed to confuse the layperson. With medicine and law, you have a professional at your disposal to assist with questions such as, "What do you mean I have hypertension?" or, "Just what is a waiver of subjugation?"

    Many aircraft owners, when faced with complex aircraft bills, have accountants to review and authorize bills for payment. But the accountant often lacks the expertise to fully understand the aircraft costs they are responsible for paying.

    How Should Aircraft Costs be Presented?

    Each bill submitted to an aircraft owner should be itemized with taxes, fees, labor, services and parts. Even with that level of detail, however, many are still unsure as to what the bill means and whether it is too costly.

    I have assisted several owners recently with a detailed review of their costs. While I have yet to come across fraudulent bills or blatant overpricing, it is easy to see why a reasonable question may be, "Why are these bills so high?"

    The first place to start to understand these costs is with a budget. The management company or aviation department must provide a budget based on the expected utilization of the aircraft. At the financial management level there needs to be enough detail so that individual accounts have differentiation, but not so many details that the complexity outweighs the benefits of detail.

    Operating Cost Categories to Consider

    Fuel: A major cost driver for most aircraft, the cost of fuel per gallon will vary and, in many instances, cheap fuel will beget add-on fees away from home. For example, itemized bills will often contain ramp fees and other services.

    Other Trip Expenses: These need to be verified too, and include items such as the catering, hotel and meals for the crew. I had one owner who stayed at high-end hotels. Wanting the crew to be immediately available, he had them stay at the same hotels. As a result, crew travel costs were far greater than what many would consider ‘normal’.

    Maintenance Costs: More detail is required for this within the budget than just one item. Categories should specify whether the bill is for scheduled maintenance (i.e., an 800-hour inspection), or for unscheduled maintenance (i.e. changing a flat tire or replacing a burned-out landing light). 

    Component overhauls and life-limited part replacement should also be noted.

    The annual budget should note the scheduled inspections with the expected flat rate, or the cost to inspect and replace mandatory items, and allow for the on-condition or unscheduled items that may also require service.

    The management company or flight department should get quotes for major maintenance from at least two qualified sources, if possible. And when requesting quotes, you should account for what is included and excluded. If, for example, there are scheduled parts to be replaced, is labor included or only the cost of parts?

    You must also consider time. For example, a low-cost bid that takes 60 days to accomplish may be worse than the higher cost bid with a 30-day return to service.

    Maintenance costs vary from year-to-year and major inspections will cause a large increase in expenditures.

    These major scheduled inspections can occur every 6–10 years on the airframe; sometimes longer. Older airframes exceeding 20 years may see more age-related checks, and these should be accounted for.

    Engines are a separate consideration and require a major service very infrequently. For most private and corporate operations, an engine may have a 4,000-hour mid-life inspection and run 8,000 hours before it gets overhauled. At 400 annual hours, that overhaul is going to occur when the aircraft is 20 years old. Unscheduled events tend to be rare for turbine engines, but they do occur and can be extremely costly.

    How to Make Maintenance Costs Predictable

    Guaranteed hourly maintenance programs (GHMPs), as the name implies, set a fixed guaranteed rate for the maintenance. An engine GHMP is very common for jet engines. In fact, since the financial crisis many lenders and lessors now require them as a standard term of condition.

    There are also airframe and parts-only programs available for many turbine aircraft.

    A GHMP will usually have a contracted price based on utilization and aircraft age and may incur a calendar and hourly fee, or just an hourly fee. A GHMP provides budget stability and peace of mind, as well as added resale value for the aircraft.

    In Summary…

    There needs to be good communication and clear expectations between the owner and management company or aviation department. Cost overruns need to be communicated as soon as they are known, and not after submitting the bill.

    Someone should spend a little time with the owner or accountant to review the major bills and, importantly, ensure there are no surprises. When in doubt, seek the opinion of a professional. Aircraft are complex machines that, when well-maintained, will provide safe and comfortable service for many years.

    More information from www.conklindd.com

    This article was originally published in AvBuyer on May 24, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    What to Consider When Chartering Your Jet see more

    NAFA member, David Wyndham, Co-Owner and President of Conklin & de Decker, discusses potential issues and concerns for operators to consider before choosing to hire a management company to charter your business jet when you're not using it.

    Putting an aircraft on a charter operator's certificate may incur expenses for the initial inspections that are required to demonstrate its compliance with FAA standards for commercial service. Both the aircraft and crew must conform to the charter operator's approved operating limitations.

    The aircraft must also be enrolled on the charter operator's approved maintenance program, which could require more frequent inspections, while commercial operations may necessitate the installation of additional safety equipment and the crews must train to the approved operating standards fo the charter operator.

    The above costs, which are typically borne by the aircraft owner, can range from several thousand to tends of thousands of dollars.

    Given the added costs of approving your aircraft for on-demand commercial service, there must be sufficient charter revenue to make the arrangement work financially. The more you fly for your own purposes, however, the less time the charter operator has available to monetize your aircraft. This can be a delicate balance to find, since scheduling charter flights will impact the aircraft's ability for company travel.

    Moreover, peak demand for charter may overlap with your own intended travel schedule, especially in the summer and around the holidays. So, you will either forgo the charter revenue or be forced to adjust your own itinerary to accommodate.

    Some charter operators may claim that they can charter your aircraft for 700 hours per year - but that won't be possible unless you fly infrequently and avoid peak travel periods. If you fly more than 100-150 hours annually, you may not be able to generate enough charter revenues to make the extra work worthwhile.

    To read the complete article, click here.

    This article was originally published in AvBuyer, Vol. 23, Issue 2, 2019, p. 62.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Tips for Comparing Aircraft Operating Costs see more

    NAFA member, David Wyndham, Vice President and Director of Business Strategy at Conklin & de Decker, details the process of a Life Cycle Cost analysis and underlines its importance to any aircraft buyer. 

    What is a Life Cycle Cost analysis and why does it matter when buying a new business aircraft? David Wyndham explains the process…

    A consulting client I worked with was evaluating Large Cabin business jets. Initially the client was more concerned with minimizing the operating expenses and less concerned with the capital costs. As long as the acquisition price fitted within their $25m budget, they would be satisfied.

    Yet those evaluating business jet ownership should be concerned with more than just the acquisition costs. They should also factor operating costs (variable and fixed), amortization, interest, depreciation, taxes and the cost of capital. Items like depreciation, interest and taxes – for example - can add as much as 60% to the Aviation Department’s costs depending on the value of the aircraft.

    Furthermore, you should also consider when the costs occur.

    General Methodology for Life Cycle Costing

    When analyzing the potential acquisition of a whole aircraft or a share of one, Life Cycle Costing ensures that all appropriate costs should be considered.

    The Life Cycle Costing includes acquisition, operating costs, depreciation and the cost of capital. Amortization, interest, depreciation, and taxes also play a part in what it costs to own and operate an aircraft and can be included in the Life Cycle Costing as appropriate.

    The first step is to know what aircraft to evaluate. This is achieved with an understanding of the key missions and the technical analysis of all potential aircraft. You need to be sure you are not buying more (or less) aircraft than you need.

    There should be no room for assumption in the process. The costs should cover a specific period and take into account the aircraft’s expected value at the end of the term of ownership.

    Comparisons of two or more aircraft should cover the same period of time and utilization, ensuring an apples-to-apples comparison is provided.

    On the subject of utilization, you are advised to use miles if the aircraft is flying point-to-point and convert each aircraft to hours based on their speed. To have an accurate comparison, you will need to measure performance using the same criteria. Different aircraft fly at different speeds. Using a mile-based measurement accounts for the speed differences between aircraft.

    I also recommend that you have a baseline. If an existing aircraft is to be replaced, that aircraft becomes the baseline. If you charter or own a fractional share in an aircraft, then continuation of that charter or fractional share would be the baseline.

    The baseline essentially forms a basis for the comparison, establishing whether the new option under consideration costs less than the current baseline or more. If the cost will be more, what is the value of the increased cost?

    Net Present Value Analysis

    A complete Life Cycle Cost accounts for the time-value of money in a Net Present Value (NPV) analysis. Using NPV enables the differing cash flows from two or more options to be compared and analyzed from a fair and complete perspective.

    An NPV analysis takes into account the time value of money, as well as income and expense cash flows, type of depreciation, tax consequences and residual value of the various options under consideration.

    When an expense (or revenue) occurs can be as important as the amount of that item. This is useful in the comparison of Cash Buy vs Lease vs Finance options for the same aircraft.

    Business aircraft do not directly generate revenue except for the sale of the aircraft. Thus, the NPV results are typically negative.

    When comparing negative NPVs, the "least negative NPV" is the more favorable. In other words, if Option A has an NPV of $5m and the NPV of Option B is $6m, Option A has a better NPV.

    You may want to run several scenarios. For example, what if you owned the aircraft for five years? How about ten? What if utilization was increased? What is the break-even point to move from fractional ownership to whole ownership? There may be many possible best alternatives when you adjust the important criteria.

    In Summary

    Regarding the client mentioned above, we evaluated new and used business aircraft and found several options that were at the top of the acquisition budget had lower total life cycle costs than aircraft with lower acquisition prices.

    A Life Cycle Cost analysis is an important decision-making tool, but it is not the answer all by itself. I like to use the term "Best Value" in combining both the capabilities and the costs of the various options analyzed.

    Run the numbers and use them in your decision - but remember: Never let a spreadsheet make the decision for you

    This article was originally published in AvBuyer on June 25, 2018.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Whole Aircraft Ownership: Is It Right For You? see more

    NAFA member, David Wyndham with Conklin & de Decker, highlights the benefits of sole ownership of a business aircraft.

    If control over your company’s transportation is paramount, sole ownership of a business aircraft is particularly attractive. With high enough utilization, it is also very cost effective. 

    As a generalization, when your flying needs come close to (or exceed 200 annual hours), whole aircraft ownership can be more cost effective than fractional, charter or membership programs. Whole aircraft ownership offers the following benefits.

    Freedom: With whole aircraft ownership a company has the freedom to select the best aircraft to satisfy its needs. Within safety and operating regulations, that aircraft can be operated as the owner requires.

    Customization: When a company acquires its own aircraft, the outfitting of the aircraft can be done to suit its operational and travel requirements.

    Options for colors, seating, carpeting materials (and more) are able to be matched to your needs and preferences. The larger the cabin size, the more flexibility there is in how the interior can be configured.

    Service Levels: The aviation department personnel are the owning company’s employees. Not only is that company able to shape their training and manage their competence, it can affect how they interface personally with passengers.

    The ability to hire the employees that fit the organization can be invaluable, and this service level generates a rapport that is effortless and comforting.

    Control: In the US, Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) allow the most flexibility and opportunity for control to not-for-hire operations flown on behalf of the aircraft owner. A company-owned aircraft that is used in support of the business of the company falls under these rules.

    While all aircraft must be operated safely, the sole owner of a business aircraft has greater influence over operations than either a charter customer or a fractional owner. Factors influencing safety and security are within the operator’s control.

    A whole-aircraft owner has the highest levels of privacy. You can discuss sensitive business, or leave important corporate documents and personal items on board the aircraft.

    Responsibility: With this high degree of control comes an equally high level of responsibility. While the FARs state that the pilot in command is the ultimate person responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft, the owner is responsible for the hiring and training of that pilot. The owner has liability for the actions of its employees, and this extends to the aircraft operation.

    The owner can manage this risk via high-quality training and insurance. The crew should be trained to the highest appropriate levels of competence. Maintenance engineers (if applicable) also require regular training.

    An individual or company owning or leasing their own hangar is also responsible for ground safety. The owner shares the risk by properly insuring the aircraft and crew.

    Managing and directing the detailed operation of aviation activities requires individuals versed in management and Business Aviation - a skillset commonly accomplished either by having an in-house aviation manager/director, or by contracting the management of the aviation operation to a management company.

    The Role of Management Companies

    A management company can offer a turn-key approach of contracting the function and oversight of the aviation operation. These companies specialize in flight operations.

    For a first-time owner of a business aircraft, we usually recommend contracted management for starting the aviation operation. In additional to providing flight crews and functional oversight, the management company can provide economic benefits as well:

    • Fuel can be purchased in bulk on behalf of multiple aircraft owners;
    • Discounts can extend to maintenance (the management company with multiple aircraft should be able to negotiate discounts for spare parts);
    • The management company can purchase insurance for its group of owners at rates that can be lower than for a single aircraft.

    While management companies tailor their services to meet an owner’s unique requirements, they typically offer the following oversight:

    • Hangaring the aircraft
    • Managing the aircraft records
    • Hiring and training the flight crews
    • Managing the maintenance of the aircraft
    • Handling the billing and verification of all variable operating expenses (including fuel, maintenance, etc.)
    • Ensuring that all regulatory requirements are met by the aircraft and crew
    • Refueling the aircraft
    • Cleaning and cosmetic upkeep of the managed aircraft.

    Offsetting the Costs of Whole Ownership 

    If you, as the owner, desire to further reduce your total costs, a management company can charter the aircraft when you’re not using it, provided the firm has authorization under FAA Part 135 (or its equivalent in non US countries).

    This relationship is complicated as there are regulatory restrictions governing operational control of any aircraft used for commercial service. The general terms are as follows: 

    • The aircraft owner pays all the operating costs (fuel, maintenance and other aircraft operating expenses).
    • The crew may be billed as salaries or as an hourly fee.
    • The aircraft owner gets a set percentage of the charter revenue. 

    The charter revenue the owner receives should be more than enough to cover the operating costs, but will not be enough to cover all of the fixed expenses, debt service and depreciation. The charter revenue is shared between the charter operator and aircraft owner. Rarely, however, does a chartering arrangement with a management company produce a profit for the aircraft owner.

    The relationship with the management company is as much a personal relationship as a business relationship. Communication and shared goals are important. If you want control, fly enough hours and accept the responsibility, whole aircraft ownership can be very rewarding.

    This article was originally published in AvBuyer on May 14, 2018.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Avoid Misconceptions About Aircraft Costing see more

    NAFA member, David Wyndham with Conklin & de Decker, discusses the costs to owning an aircraft after the initial purchase.

    What are some common misconceptions about aircraft costs? David Wyndham details some that he comes across on a regular basis, providing advice on how to avoid them…

    Most misconceptions about aircraft cost result from connecting something that we’re familiar with (such as the cost of running an automobile or building a house) and using those as an analogy for the unfamiliar cost of owning and operating an aircraft.

    The biggest misconception is focusing too heavily on the acquisition cost, to the detriment of operating costs and asset value over time. Let’s illustrate with an example…

    I have a client who has a maximum acquisition budget of $20m. This is a real limit and not one to exceed. There is, however, a possible misconception that can arise if we were to look at Aircraft A (with a selling price of $20m) and Aircraft B ($17m) and conclude that Aircraft B is the less costly option.

    The only way to know which aircraft costs “less” would be to evaluate the total costs to acquire, operate and dispose of the aircraft. Two of the major costs that must be factored are the operating costs (including maintenance) and the estimated residual value after a set timeframe.

    Hourly Variable Costs

    Looking at our current scenario (represented in Table A), Aircraft A has a lower fuel consumption than Aircraft B while the engine maintenance costs are similar. Aircraft B has lower airframe maintenance costs, meanwhile.

    Aircraft Hourly Variable Costs

    Yet even in factoring variable costs, there’s more to consider. For example, Aircraft A flies 8% faster than Aircraft B. The faster aircraft will use fewer hours to fly the same trips form point of origin to destination. Therefore, if Aircraft A flies 400 hours annually, Aircraft B will require 432 hours to cover the same missions.

    Annual Variable Costs

    Table B sets out the annual variable cost for each aircraft, factoring the required annual hours. As depicted, Aircraft A costs almost 10% less in variable cost per year than Aircraft B.

    With both aircraft having about $650k per year in fixed costs, the annual operating budget favors Aircraft A slightly. While not enough to make up the $3m price difference, it does account for about $1m over 10 years. But before we can draw any conclusions, there is more…

    Aircraft Annual Variable Costs

    Life Cycle Costing

    Let’s assume Aircraft A is a popular model and is currently selling better than Aircraft B. Current market values for Aircraft A are being maintained better than for Aircraft B – therefore, after 10 years the estimated value (in dollars and percent) is higher for Aircraft A. Table C represents our ten-year Life Cycle Cost for each aircraft.

    Aircraft Lifecycle Costing

    In Summary…

    Aircraft A costs about the same to own and operate as Aircraft B. Our analysis has shown that making the purchase decision based on acquisition price alone doesn’t tell the entire story.

    In the above example, we needed to evaluate parameters beyond the costs alone to determine which aircraft would provide the better value. And once you’ve achieved a solid cost analysis, there are additional factors to consider. Does Aircraft A have better support and a longer range than Aircraft B, for example?

    Never let a spreadsheet make a purchase decision for you. And, never just look at a single cost item when evaluating the aircraft that best fits your budget. Aircraft are not commodities sharing essentially the same characteristics, which is why I stress to my clients to look for a best value when making the aircraft buying decision.

    Costs are a very important part, but even the total costs do not tell the entire story. For the record, my client has yet to make the final decision on which aircraft to purchase…

    This article was originally published on AvBuyer.com on July 16, 2018.