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  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Learn top 5 benefits of this frequently misunderstood financing product for individuals and orgs. see more

    NAFA member Global Jet Capital discusses the top 5 benefits of this frequently misunderstood financing product for individuals and organizations.

    There is an unprecedented level of interest in business aviation. Thankfully, there are a range of options business aviation users can choose from to access an aircraft. Each conveys its own intrinsic benefits and drawbacks, and may be more or less attractive to the user based on their unique situation. Mindfully weighing these options – from charter, to fractional ownership, to operating leases, to traditional financing – is a crucially important process, especially since your choice can have far-reaching implications for your balance sheet.

    There are many strategic advantages to an operating lease that you should consider when making this choice. Here are the top 5 advantages that this frequently misunderstood financing product offers individuals and organizations:

    1. Built-in agility
    Yes, operating leases are contractual arrangements. The right lessor, however, can structure a lease that can adjust to changes in your mission.Depending on your needs, a lease can permit extensions, provide an early termination opportunity, or facilitate a move into a larger or smaller aircraft. In this framework, it’s easy to pivot to suit your unique situation.

    Read full article here

    This Global Jet Capital aricle was originally published by Business Jet Traveler in February 2022.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Avia Yacht Partners 360 Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2022

    Contact: Tracey Cheek

    tlc@nafa.aero

    405.850.1292

     

    Avia Yacht Partners 360 Joins National Aircraft Finance Association

    Edgewater, MD – National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Avia Yacht Partners 360 has recently joined its network of aviation professionals. Avia provides bespoke consulting and facilitation of acquisitions, sales and financing/leasing for preowned and new build business jets and superyachts worldwide.

    “NAFA members pride themselves on knowing their markets, and the luxury market is one of our most important verticals,” said Jim Blessing, president of NAFA. “As NAFA celebrates our 50th anniversary, we point to the many services our members offer to the public, including the work Avia Yacht Partners 360 does in the luxury aircraft world. Knowing the legal filings required is equally important as understanding the mechanics or routes for flight.”

    Founder and CEO Rolf Smith serves the luxury niche in both the aircraft and luxury watercraft markets. Because of his own insider insights as well as a network of trusted partners, Avia Yacht Partners 360 helps make the dream of custom aircraft ownership and charters a reality.

     

    Products & Services

    • Charter: planning and execution of for-hire air travel
    • Sales: for those acquiring or selling aircraft
    • Financing and leasing: facilitation of the purchase process
    • New builds: integration and management of new-build luxury aircraft

     

    About Avia Yacht Partners 360:

    Avia Yacht Partners 360 was founded by Rolf Smith and is based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with locations in North America and Europe. The company provides a customized and bespoke approach to all the advisory, commercial, financial, legal, technical, and project management aspects of luxury aircraft acquisition. Avia is able to tailor services and components according to the needs of the client.

      

    About NAFA: The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a professional association that has been promoting the general welfare of aircraft finance for 50 years. Our network of members is comprised of lenders and product service providers who work together to finance general and business aviation aircraft. NAFA sets the standard for best practices in aviation finance by educating its members with the most up-to-date industry trends and best practices. Government legislation, market influences and industry insights allow member companies to provide the highest quality services the industry has to offer. 

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Top 5 Myths About Business Aircraft Operating Leases see more

    NAFA member, Global Jet Capital, shares the top five myths about business aircraft leases.

    There are more options today for accessing a business aircraft than ever before: from charter, to fractional ownership, to operating leases, to traditional financing. When dealing with large, highly-regulated assets that could cost tens of millions—or more—to own, weighing the options to find what makes sense for your specific requirements can be difficult. To make navigating the sometimes-complex landscape of business aviation a little easier, we’re going to clear up five common myths around operating leases—and explain some of the advantages of this frequently misunderstood financing option.

    Read full article here

    This article was originally published by Global Jet Capital on December 16, 2021.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    NAFA member, Clay Lacy Aviation, discusses private jet membership vs. custom jet charter services. see more

    Demand for flying by private jet increased significantly in the final quarter of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and travelers looking for a more private way to travel. New entrants to the industry grew the customer base for both private jet membership and charter providers.

    These newcomers have three main private travel options to choose from, but which is best?

    The answer depends on these key factors:

    • Availability
    • Budget
    • Customer service

    Read full article here.

    This article was originally published by Clay Lacy Aviation on July 28, 2021.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    3 Ways to Finance your own Corporate or Personal Aircraft see more

    NAFA member Keith Hayes, with PNC Aviation Finance, shares ways to finance your own corporate or personal aircraft.

    Corporate and personal aviation has returned, after being grounded, or at least stalled, in the wake of the Great Recession. Rising financial markets, growing corporate earnings, a strong U.S. dollar, and increasing consumer and business confidence are driving demand for private aircraft. Faced with crowded airports, jammed-packed commercial aircraft, and ever-present delays, high-net worth individuals and corporate executives alike are increasingly turning to private aviation to relieve the time constraints and delays of commercial flying and to take advantage of the myriad of smaller airfields located closer to their final destinations.  Before ringing the airplane broker and kicking the tires, consider these financing options:

    Traditional Loans

    No different than your smaller purchases – like houses, cars and boats – your traditional aircraft loan can be fixed rate or floating rate. Some financial institutions offer a hybrid which features a floating rate loan with the option to buy a “swap.” In other words, you can lock in your rate and benefit from early payoff and interest rate increases. Not a bad idea in a rising rate environment. Traditional loans can be structured for as short as 30 months or as long as 120 months with amortizations as long as 240 months. Just keep in mind, the longer the terms, the higher the interest rate.

    Asset Based Loans

    Over the last fifteen years, this type of financing has become an increasingly popular option for individuals and businesses seeking aircraft ownership without making financial disclosures or guarantees. Only a select number of organizations offer this product, but it has a number of benefits, including:

    • No financial disclosure or covenants – Truly hassle-free asset based financing.  No need to forward years of tax returns and K-1’s or to disclose financials of a privately owned company.
    • No or limited personal guaranties – This may be very important for companies that have bonding requirements or covenants limiting the amount of debt or guaranties than a company may incur. There may be partners involved in the ownership and the owners may be unwilling to sign on the other partner’s debt.
    • Non-recourse – If the borrower defaults, the lender can seize the plane, but cannot seek out the borrower for any further compensation.

    Aircraft Leases

    As with other types of large equipment, businesses as well as individuals may elect to lease an aircraft as an alternative to purchasing.  An individual or business may have multiple reasons to lease instead of purchase, including cash flow considerations, federal income tax considerations, sales tax considerations and accounting treatment. There are several types of leases with the choice often determined by how the aircraft will be used:

    • Non Tax Lease – The lessee (the bank or other entity granting the lease) owns the asset for tax purposes. Typically, this option is put in place for off-balance sheet treatment. The lessor will use the aircraft only for business and has an “appetite” for tax depreciation, therefore, can take advantage of the tax benefits.
    • Tax Lease – The lessor owns the asset for tax purposes, realizing the tax benefits such as the depreciation of the aircraft. Because the lessor takes the tax benefit, the lessee is typically offered a more favorable interest rate.

    Where do you start the journey to find a lender? Often, borrowers start their financing search where they have an existing banking relationship. However, that may not always be your best financial option.

    General aviation industry knowledge should be a critical criteria for your lender. For example, does your lender have expertise with the FAA requirements? Are they aware of new regulations on the horizon that could impact your purchase? Does your lender have an established specialty in aircraft financing or only do an aircraft loan every once in a while at the request of a marquee customer? Is the lender credentialed with key trade associations like the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA), or and National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA)? If you don’t know, aircraft brokers and dealers, aviation attorneys and aircraft managers are a good source for referrals and recommendations.

    This article was published by PNC Aviation Finance.

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    AINsight: Should You Finance or Lease a Bizjet? see more

    NAFA member, David G. Mayer, Partner with Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, discusses whether a customer should consider leasing or financing a business jet.

    Lenders and lessors often lament that cash is the main and most frustrating competitor for financing or leasing business jets. Lessees or borrowers often retort that these transactions cause too much “brain damage” to undertake, especially when they have cash available to buy the jet. What then should customers consider in deciding whether to lease or finance business jets—before, or even after, they close their cash purchase?

    It is true that, compared with cash purchases, financing and leasing private jets require extra time, effort, professional cost, and negotiations, not to mention patience while financiers conduct diligence and obtain credit approvals. Despite the additional hassle, potential customers should not be too quick to dismiss financing or leasing, including monetizing currently owned jets in sale-leaseback and post-closing financing transactions, as these financing structures might prove to have substantial value.

    Many customers have overcome any such misgivings about leasing or borrowing—and for good reason. Today’s customers range from large multinational companies to ultra-high-net-worth individuals usually represented by talented family office teams, accountants, or counsel.

    Correspondingly, financiers exist that can meet the needs of virtually every qualified customer with acceptable aircraft. Importantly, lenders and lessors realize the reduction in market inventory of quality preowned jets requires them to consider somewhat older (10 to 15 years old), higher-time jets as worthy collateral or leased assets if the customers can satisfy credit and other required regulatory criteria. Some lenders are able to finance even older jets and small ticket or light aircraft, including propeller or certain turboprops.

    While some clients are concerned about the costs associated with entering into an aircraft loan or lease, the transaction costs should, with exceptions, be immaterial compared to the value or cost of the jet. Further, in acquiring jets that could be eligible for 100 percent bonus depreciation, the all-in value for a customer, on an after-tax basis, might compete well against or even be superior to a cash purchase.

    With leases, customers eliminate the risk of ownership because the lessor actually buys the aircraft. The lessor’s funding of the cost then preserves customer cash for working capital, reinvestment in the customer’s business, and/or funding other capital equipment. Customers can arrange a lease where a lessor purchases the aircraft from the seller and leases it to the customer.

    A lessor can also monetize a jet when the customer sells the jet to the lessor and leases back. Such a sale-leaseback can occur immediately after the purchase or at such later time as meets the customer needs.

    Leases also enable lessees to customize when the lessee can, during the lease term, buy the jet from the lessor or terminate the lease. A lessee may be able to obtain some benefit of 100 percent bonus depreciation from the lessor under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that they might not otherwise be able to claim. The lessor can take the write-off in any direct purchase of the new aircraft from the manufacturer or, for the first time under the act, a preowned aircraft from the customer or third party seller. In addition, the customer can deduct the rent without the same limitation as interest deductions under the tax law.

    To illustrate the investment aspect, suppose a company enters into a five-year lease with an aircraft cost of $10 million. The customer typically earns 18 percent on its investments and can obtain a fixed rent payment that implies a 7 percent “run” rate. By deploying the $10 million into its investments, the customer earns the 18 percent return while paying the 7 percent rent over a five-year period instead of paying $10 million up front. In its simplest form, the customer would achieve a pre-tax, net return of approximately 11 percent under this example.

    Loans offer similar and other features. For the same $10 million jet, the customer would pay, depending on various factors, between 10 percent ($1 million) and 50 percent ($5 million) of the value or purchase price of the aircraft, with the lender financing the balance. The customer can take 100 percent bonus depreciation under the tax law if the aircraft is eligible for it and deduct the interest subject to limitations.

    Like the lease, the customer can use the remaining cash for other investments, working capital, and/or purchases of capital equipment. Lenders can make the loan concurrent with the purchase or, like a lease, fund the loan in a “back leverage” transaction after closing the purchase.

    In both loans and leases, customers with available cash to purchase an aircraft can, by executing an appropriate post-closing financing or leasing strategy, alleviate the tension of closing a loan or lease concurrently with completing a purchase.

    Although one may think that, when a lender or lessor delivers its “cookie cutter” loan and lease “forms” to its customer, the negotiated deals across all customers would fit within a narrow band of final terms. Such a conclusion is far from reality.

    Every negotiation differs as much as the unique personalities of the customers. Most customers ask about, if not conform to, “market” terms as a reference point in making judgments in negotiations. Lenders and lessors expect their customers to negotiate the documents, but, of course, prefer to close deals faster and easier whenever possible.

    Certain parallel legal terms arise in most financing and leasing deals, which deserve attention by customers. Broadly speaking, customers should consider negotiating provisions that include unreasonably broad representations, unrealistic time limits in which to perform obligations, and no or inadequate cure rights; allow lenders or lessors to transfer the customer’s lease or loan transaction to anyone they choose without notice to, or the consent of, the customer; call for burdensome or unnecessary financial reports or establish reporting based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) when the financier did not need GAAP financials for its credit approval; demand that lender or lessor consents to, or approves, business or corporate changes unrelated to the aircraft financing (taking a seat at the table for the larger business of the customer than merited by an aircraft financing); limit when, how much, and where the customers can operate their aircraft; trigger defaults for any customer acquisition, merger or corporate reorganization; grab for extra collateral unrelated to the aircraft, such as security in cash accounts or other tangible assets of the customer or guarantor; and require, solely with respect to leases, often complex and one-sided, though indispensable, federal income tax indemnification provisions in tax leases pertaining to a loss of depreciation by the lessor, including 100 percent bonus depreciation.

    Negotiating these provisions, among others, might look like a daunting task for customers, but the right integrated team of business people, lawyers, risk management, tax, and other professionals can negotiate through and close a mutually beneficial transaction with minimal involvement of the true customer. The best results normally occur when the team possesses market knowledge, negotiates the customer’s material issues, and understands where financiers have little wiggle room to negotiate provisions forced into documents by internal policies and regulatory mandates.

    BASIC RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL FINANCING EXPERIENCE

    Most customers enjoy good relationships with their financiers. As a customer, you can too, if you follow three basic rules:

    First, your relationship with the financier does not end at closing; it begins at closing. Financiers usually like to develop relationships that lead to other business with you and build mutual trust. Your transparency, fairness, and reasonable document compliance will go a long way toward building a strong and lasting relationship.

    Second, never surprise your financiers. Financiers tend to keep open minds about giving consents, which inevitably arise, work out problems, or amend documents, if you keep them informed early and often about your business or personal situations that might adversely affect the aircraft or your compliance with the transaction documents.

    Third, pay your debt or rent when due, without making excuses that worry the lenders or lessors. When financiers become nervous about a non-performing transaction, their cooperation and flexibility may dissipate quickly. They tend to focus on impediments to getting paid and reporting internally about a troubled lease or loan, which may bring unwanted scrutiny on the deal team.

    As easy as a cash purchase of a jet might be, the value proposition for financing or leasing it could ultimately make more sense than a cash deal. Many customers, large and small, have elected to finance or lease jets for good reasons based on their individual needs. Customers should at least consider financing or leasing a jet before they stroke a check to buy one.

    David G. Mayer is a partner in the global Aviation Practice Group at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP in Dallas, which handles worldwide private aircraft matters, including regulatory compliance, tax planning, purchases, sales, leasing and financing, risk management, insurance, aircraft operations, hangar leasing and aircraft renovations. Mayer frequently represents high-wealth individuals and other aircraft owners, flight departments, lessees, borrowers, operators, sellers, purchasers, and managers, as well as lessors and lenders. He can be contacted at dmayer@shackelfordlaw.net, via LinkedIn, or by telephone at (214) 780-1306.

    This article was originally published on AINonline on November 8, 2018.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Esventures LLC Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    EDGEWATER, Md. - Jan. 22, 2019 - National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Esventures LLC has recently joined its professional network of aviation lenders. “NAFA members proudly finance - support or enable the financing of - general and business aviation aircraft throughout the world, and we’re happy to add Esventures to our association,” said Ford von Weise, President of NAFA.

    Esventures LLC is a leading service-oriented company with 13 years of experience, providing a broad spectrum of services and expertise in the areas of aviation, engineering, energy, oil and gas and financing. Esventures’ expanding capabilities enable them to offer customers a full range of services, including aircraft leasing/air transportation/operational management, project financing, engineering designs, procurement, construction, installation and maintenance management.

    The company establishes strategic partnerships with specialized industry leaders to constantly improve the level of services they offer, striving to provide the highest quality project deliverables on time, within budget, and at the lowest blended rate in the industry.Esventures’ leasing services supply aircraft on a timely and affordable basis and ensure that clients reach their destination in safety and comfort.Their aircraft management services are meticulous in the care of all operations and maintenance so clients can focus on their business.  

    Much like NAFA, Esventures LLC is proud of their reputation for excellent service and promotes strict standards in the aviation industry. Esventures and NAFA consider safety to be of the utmost concern and are dedicated to fostering highly trained and experienced pilots, crews and aviation professionals.

    For more information about Esventures LLC, visit www.esventuresllc.com.  

    About NAFA: 

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

     

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    How to Simplify Aircraft Lease Return see more

    NAFA member, Essex Aviation Group, discusses how to simplify aircraft lease return.

    As the global finance industry evolves, more and more banks are turning to corporate aircraft leasing to create new financial opportunities and expand profit margins.

    The concept is simple enough: Similar to a leasing a car, a bank owns the aircraft and leases it for a predetermined period of time (typically anywhere from 5 to 15 years). During lease agreement negotiations, the parties define the various lease terms — specifically, the length of the lease and terms regarding the intended use and operation of the aircraft.  One of the most important matters that the lease should cover is within the return conditions expected of the aircraft and the definition of any maintenance activities or inspections that the lessee needs to complete prior to returning the aircraft. The lease should also define the aircraft specifications, loose equipment and any additional items that were with the aircraft at the time the lease began and must be returned to the lessor.

    Overseeing a Lease Return

    If you are a lender or the asset manager of an organization that is in the business of leasing aircraft, consider working with a qualified aviation advisor to manage the asset’s return requirements and ensure that the aircraft meets the terms and conditions as defined in the lease agreement.

    In doing so, your advisor will carefully review the lease agreement and evaluate the asset against the terms of the agreement. Evaluation is typically a four-part process, during which the advisor should do the following:

    • Re-review the aircraft records for continuity and completeness (gaps or missing records will affect the value of the asset).
    • Ensure that the aircraft conforms to how it was originally certified or has subsequently been modified.
    • Review any damage history, out of sequence maintenance activities or major repairs.
    • Assist the lessor in the lease return inspection discussions with the lessee.

    Even a minor issue with the asset — say, for example, a malfunctioning galley appliance — being necessary to function and as part of the aircraft’s certification can cost your organization thousands of dollars to repair or replace if this item is not identified during the lease return inspection. It is your advisor’s job to flag any of these types of items or other potential issues and work with the lessee concerning the necessary maintenance work and or repairs that need to be completed to meet the return requirements.

    An aviation advisor can be particularly helpful to small banks that do not have in-house staff with the available time and (potentially) expertise to conduct a thorough review.  Lessors that have older lease agreements will likely need additional guidance prior to the aircraft return to address potential issues that may not be covered. The language used in older lease agreements often tends to be vague compared to newer agreements, which leaves room for interpretation. Often, the two parties will need to negotiate the lease return requirements well in advance of the start of the lease return inspection process. Fortunately, an aviation advisor can work with your asset management team to identify and clarify these terms with the lessee and ensure that your organization maximizes the value of the aircraft upon its return.

    The Importance of Continued Support

    For some aviation advisors, their work ends once the inspection and lease return process are complete. Other aviation advisors, however, will continue to provide quality support and service well after the asset is returned.

    Once the aircraft has been returned, banks and lenders will either re-lease the aircraft or choose to sell that aircraft out of their portfolio. If your organization intends to re-lease or sell an asset, consider working with an aviation advisor who can work with you and other industry service providers to re-market the aircraft. Certain aviation advisors go the extra mile and provide continued on-site support, such as securing a location to safely store the aircraft and manage the necessary maintenance support to keep the aircraft in flight ready condition.

    The key to finding the right aviation advisor is to look for one backed by a team with years of industry experience and proven dedication to its clients. If you would like to speak to an experienced aviation advisor who can provide unbiased advice and assist your organization with lease return management, contact the experts at Essex Aviation today.

    Essex Aviation Group, Inc. was founded in 2013 with the primary goal of providing clients with the most current industry knowledge and experience, a vital component in evaluating business and private aviation transportation needs.

    Representing clients in a wide range of services, Essex builds client relationships through dedication to trust, integrity and a level of responsiveness not found anywhere else. Services include new or pre-owned aircraft acquisitions, new aircraft completion management, pre-owned aircraft refurbishment and upgrade management, block and ad hoc charter service and much more.

    This article was originally posted on the Essex Aviation Group blog.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Operational Control And Aircraft Leasing: What’s The Big Deal? see more

    NAFA member, Greg Reigel, Partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP., discusses operational control and aircraft leasing.

    From the FAA’s perspective, operational control in aircraft leasing transactions is not just a “big deal”, it is “the” deal.

    What Is Operational Control?

    14 C.F.R §1.1 defines operational control as “the exercise of authority over initiating, conducting or terminating a flight.”  In a “wet” lease situation, since the lessor is providing both aircraft and crew, the lessor maintains operational control of all flights.  And in the absence of a specific exemption (such as under 14 C.F.R. § 91.501(c) the lessor who is operating an aircraft under a wet lease will need to have an air carrier certificate to legally operate the aircraft.

    In a “dry” lease situation, the lessee provides its own flight crew, and the lessee exercises operational control over its flights.  The lessee’s operations may be conducted legally under 14 C.F.R. Part 91 without an air carrier certificate.

    It is important to keep in mind that the FAA will look beyond the actual written agreements to determine who has operational control.  Although a lease may be written as a dry lease and says “Dry Lease” at the top of the agreement, for example, that does not mean the FAA cannot take the position that the arrangement is really being conducted as a wet lease.  And if the FAA takes that position when the lessor who is actually operating the aircraft for the lessee does not have an air carrier certificate, then that will be a problem for the lessor, and potentially for the lessee as well.

    Why Does It Matter?

    If the lessor is exercising operational control, then the flight must be conducted in compliance with regulations that are stricter than Part 91 (i.e. Parts 121 or 135). Those regulations limit the types of airports the lessor may utilize, crew qualifications, crew rest and duty times, maintenance requirements etc.  Additionally, the lessor under a wet lease arrangement is required to remit federal excise tax on the amount charged to the lessee.

    Alternatively, if the lessee has operational control under a dry lease the lessee is permitted to operate under the less restrictive and less costly requirements of Part 91.  And federal excise tax is not due on the amounts paid by the lessee to the lessor, although sales tax is often assessed on the lease rate.

    How Do You Determine Who Has Operational Control?

    The FAA has issued guidance for determining which party has operational control in a leasing arrangement.  Advisory Circular 91.37B Truth in Leasing provides FAA inspectors with an explanation of leasing structures and how they may or may not be compliant with the regulations.  Although AC 91.37B only applies to aircraft subject to the requirements of 14 C.F.R. § 91.23, and it is not regulatory in nature, FAA inspectors also use this guidance when reviewing leasing structures that are not subject to truth-in-leasing requirements.

    Here are the types of questions an FAA inspector will ask when the inspector is trying to determine which party has operational control in an aircraft leasing situation:

    • Who decides crewmember and aircraft assignments?
    • Who accept flight requests?
    • Who actually initiates, conducts, and terminates flights?
    • Are the pilots direct employees or agents for the lessor, the lessee, or someone else?
    • Who is responsible for aircraft maintenance and where is that maintenance performed?
    • Who decides when/where maintenance is accomplished, and who pays the maintenance provider for that service?
    • Prior to departure, who ensures the flight, aircraft, and crew comply with regulations?
    • Who determines weather/fuel requirements, and who pays for the fuel at the pump?
    • Who directly pays for the airport fees, parking/hangar costs, food service, and/or rental cars?

    If properly drafted, an aircraft dry lease agreement should answer these questions and, to the extent the answer for any item is “the lessor”, then the lease should explain that answer and how it does not negate lessee’s exercise of operational control.

    For example, if the aircraft is leased to more than one lessee, it may make more sense for the lessor to retain responsibility for maintenance to ensure that the aircraft is consistently maintained in an airworthy condition.  Similarly, lessor maintaining an insurance policy insuring the aircraft and the various lessees may be necessary to make certain the aircraft is insured appropriately.

    However, responsibility for maintenance or insurance are just two indicia of operational control.  And the lessor’s responsibility for maintenance or insurance does not negate the lessee’s responsibility for ensuring that the aircraft is in an airworthy condition and the lessee’s is properly insured prior to any operations conducted under a lease.  Appropriate language in the lease can explain these issues so an FAA inspector reviewing the lease does not misunderstand and draw the wrong conclusion.

    Also be aware that some FAA inspectors rely upon AC 91.37B but do not fully or properly understand its guidance.  For example, in one instance AC 91.37B states “[t]he FAA has taken the position that if a person leases an aircraft to another and also provides the flightcrew, fuel, and maintenance, the lessor of the aircraft is the operator.”

    This language is sometimes misunderstood by inspectors to mean that a lessee does not have operational control when the lessor is responsible for maintenance.  But that is incorrect.

    The key indicia in the language above is lessor’s providing the flightcrew.  However, lessor’s responsibility for maintenance by itself does not indicate that lessor is improperly exercising operational control over lessee flights.  Although it may indicate that lessor is exercising some operational control, without other indicia of operational control by the lessor, performance of maintenance alone is not conclusive.

    Conclusion

    Operational control in aircraft leasing arrangements is, and will continue to be, an area of special emphasis for the FAA.  Although the terms of the lease and other transaction documents are important, the FAA is not bound by those terms when it is making an operational control determination.  Rather, it will also look at the actual arrangements between the parties, as well as the responsibilities of each party, especially if they are inconsistent with the lease.

    When the FAA determines that lessor is exercising operational control in what is supposed to be a Part 91 dry leasing transaction, you can expect that it will act.  Depending upon the circumstances, pilots and operators could be faced with certificate action and civil penalty action.  It is important to understand the indicia of operational control and to be able to determine which party is exercising operational control in an aircraft leasing transaction.  Only then will you be able to ensure that you are operating in compliance with the regulations.

    This article was originally published by Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP., on Feburary 5, 2021.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Top 5 Myths About Business Aircraft Operating Leases see more

    NAFA member, Global Jet Capital, explains myths commonly associated with business aircraft operating leases.

    There are more options today for accessing a business aircraft than ever before: from charter, to fractional ownership, to operating leases, to traditional financing. When dealing with large, highly-regulated assets that could cost tens of millions—or more—to own, weighing the options to find what makes sense for your specific requirements can be difficult. To make navigating the sometimes-complex landscape of business aviation a little easier, we’re going to clear up five common myths around operating leases—and explain some of the advantages of this frequently misunderstood financing option:

    1. OPERATING LEASES ARE TOO RESTRICTIVE—IT’S BETTER TO OWN.

    Operating leases let you keep your aircraft for the duration of the lease, which means consistently using your crew, being able to leave your personal effects on board, and enjoying the experience of ownership while putting your capital to better use. Some restrictions on customization that could potentially impact residual value and other usual lease terms apply, but limitations fall within normal patterns of ownership. With the right lessor, you can expect contract terms that are flexible and fit your unique needs, which make the experience of having an operating lease feel anything but restrictive.

    Additionally, an operating lease with a predictable term makes disposition as simple as turning the aircraft back over to the lessor at end of lease—no additional planning or contingencies needed. Compare that to attempting to sell an aircraft when it’s time to upgrade or make changes to your operations. From hiring a broker, to waiting for months (or even years, in extreme cases) to find a buyer, to paying the costs of maintenance, insurance, and storage in the meantime, you may be looking at millions lost in the process.

    2. YOU’RE STUCK IN A CONTRACT WITH AN OPERATING LEASE, WHICH MAKES IT INCONVENIENT WHEN YOUR BUSINESS CHANGES.

    It’s true that operating leases are contractual, while owning a business aircraft outright is not. But, contracts can be created that adjust easily to a changing mission—including allowing for moves to larger or smaller aircraft, the option to extend, or the option to prematurely end the lease altogether. With the right financing partner, you can expect a flexible, custom-tailored contract that feels right.

    In fact, ownership may have risks and limitations that exceed the limitations of a contractual obligation in an operating lease. If a major uptick in your international markets means that your newly purchased mid-range aircraft is no longer up to the task of supporting your business goals, you bear the risk of waiting a long time to sell with capital tied up in an asset that doesn’t suit your needs. When you’re finally able to sell and need to purchase a new business aircraft with a longer range, you’re looking at a potentially lengthy process to secure traditional financing from a lender, coupled with a much larger capital outlay than the refundable security deposit for a lease.

    3. OPERATING LEASES MAKE SENSE IN BAD RESALE MARKETS OR WHEN INTEREST RATES ARE HIGH, BUT NOT WHEN RESALE VALUE IS STRONG OR WHEN INTEREST RATES ARE LOW.

    Even if there is a strong resale market or low interest rates when you choose to purchase an aircraft, consider the risk that you’re taking on with the large outlay of an aircraft purchase. Traditional financing typically requires large down payments and due to volatile geo-political situations, emerging technology, and the natural realities of market fluctuation, there’s no guarantee that a strong resale market for your aircraft will be there when you choose to sell. That low interest rate environment may be gone, which won’t help entice buyers to purchase your pre-owned aircraft. In the meantime, you may have paid more for a depreciating asset.

    Operating leases eliminate residual value risk and provide predicable costs for the duration of the lease. Budgeting stays precise, liquidity stays high, and the future becomes clearer. The resale market doesn’t come with any guarantees—an operating lease contract does.

    4. OPERATING LEASES ARE ONLY FOR CERTAIN KINDS OF AIRCRAFT. YOU CAN’T JUST GET WHATEVER YOU WANT.

    Whether you have your eye on a new or pre-owned aircraft, or if the pre-owned aircraft you’re interested in is a little older than what you would typically expect for a leasing arrangement, there are very few limitations to what can be obtained with an operating lease today.

    Specialists in business aviation financing like Global Jet Capital look to spread risk across a large portfolio, encompassing aircraft from every major manufacturer, every global market, and a variety of age ranges.

    5. YOU CAN ONLY ACHIEVE PRIVACY BY PURCHASING AN AIRCRAFT, NOT LEASING.

    If privacy is important to you, a leased aircraft may actually provide an additional layer of anonymity. An operating lease reduces visibility to an aircraft’s end user, as the public records of the FAA identify the lessor as the owner of the aircraft, giving you greater privacy.

    This article originally appeared in Business Jet Traveler, February 2021.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Nine Things to Know When Leasing an Aircraft see more

    NAFA member, George Kleros, Sr. Vice President, Strategic Event Management & Fleet Support at JSSI, shares information on aircraft leasing.

    When leasing an aircraft, what are your maintenance obligations during and at the end of the lease term to ensure that the returned aircraft maintains its value? 

    Focused on that residual value, the lessor will designate a qualified inspector or auditor to perform periodic records reviews and/or asset inspections, throughout the lease period. The intent is to verify the aircraft’s general condition and ensure it remains in compliance with lease requirements.

    After each check, the inspector will send the lessor a report with the graded condition of the aircraft and any specific findings. If anything can or might affect the residual value, you’ll be required to take corrective action to bring the aircraft into compliance.

    At term end, the lessor will conduct an “off-lease” inspection (similar to a pre-purchase inspection) at a factory-owned or authorized service center. All components and systems must be in full working order; or repaired if not. If the major components are near their life limit, you’d be responsible for covering these costs: either a pro-rated percentage based on time consumed, or 100% of the cost to overhaul if it’s close to the event.

    If the aircraft requires repairs for damage or corrosion, you are responsible for the repair cost. Once any repairs required by the lease are completed, any diminution in value due to damage history will be the lessor’s responsibility.

    So what can you do to preserve the value of the aircraft?

    Do …

    • Review the lease document fully to understand the operation, maintenance and return of the aircraft requirements. A good lease-return scenario always starts with a well-defined and documented set of return conditions. Ask questions for clarification prior to signing, to be sure you fully comprehend the broad scope of your obligations.
       
    • Keep the aircraft clean and polished to protect from corrosion and paint deterioration. Unprotected aircraft deteriorate faster than you might expect. The aircraft interior will be inspected for wear, cleanliness, and damage. The exterior will be checked for oil leaks, paint condition, and structural damage.
       
    • Store the records in a secure, dry, fireproof storage cabinet or safe. Damaged or missing records devalue an aircraft and will change residual value. The lessor will come out either annually or bi-annually to see the aircraft and review the records for accuracy and airworthiness.
       
    • Keep up with routine and scheduled maintenance tasks, even if the aircraft is not flying for extended periods of time.
       
    • Address interior and exterior wear items immediately. Waiting can compound the problem and cost more to correct.

    Don’t …

    • Assume the lease document allows for the aircraft to operate under different regulations or use than originally defined.  If the aircraft flies only for you under FAR Part 91 regulations, don’t move your aircraft into a for-hire Part 135 air-taxi arrangement without consulting the lessor; it may not be allowed.
       
    • Leave the aircraft outside. Store it in a hangar when not in use. Sun, humidity, and high temperatures deteriorate interiors and paint exterior, diminishing the residual value.
       
    • Let the aircraft sit inactive for long periods of time. Your aircraft still needs to be flown and systems exercised to keep systems lubricated and reduce risk for damage.
       
    • Ignore missing paint and erosion strips. This leads to corrosion and will be expensive to correct.

    The lessor always requires hull insurance at a specific dollar amount, and generally seeks high liability insurance limits.  If you acquire an hourly cost maintenance program (HCMP), it can help ensure that the aircraft meets return conditions. The lease should state clearly that the maintenance program was current at lease inception and that the HCMP will be transferred to the lessor. An HCMP is very desirable in a lease transaction. It helps preserve the aircraft’s residual value, and helps you avoid penalties and extra costs. 

    This JSSI article was originally published in Business Aviation Advisor November/December 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    COVID-19 Opened the Door to Private Jet Ownership see more

    NAFA member, PNC Aviation Finance, discusses how business travelers and some individuals have bumped up against the limits of charter and fractional private aircraft services and are now pivoting to ownership.

    It's no secret that 2020 changed the landscape of the aviation industry. According to data from the Los Angeles Times[1], 2020 forecasts show that this will be the worst year in the history of commercial aviation with the industry poised to post a net loss of $84.3 billion. Consumer air travel revenue is expected to drop from $876 billion in 2019 to $434 billion in 2020. Initially many individuals considered charter services or fractional shares like JetLinx and NetJets but quickly ran up against usage limits and health concerns as the planes are still shared. As a result, more people are considering direct ownership. Airline brokers have noticed a significant uptick in business. "We're on pace to have one of our best years ever," says David G. Coleman, of Duncan Aviation a private aircraft sales, brokerage and consultancy.[2]

    Key Insights

    • Charter and fractional shares can lower risk compared to commercial airlines but they aren't risk free. Private ownership provides end-to-end control of cleaning, crew health and safety checks as well as limited use of the aircraft.

    • Aviation finance is a fragmented industry. It's important to engage veteran professionals who understand aircraft mechanics as well as financing options.

    • Individuals interested in owning an aircraft should have a clear understanding of the aircraft they are purchasing and be prepared to provide that information to lenders as well. Leasing is also an option, but individuals will want to make sure they've planned for any additional costs and are also well versed in the terms of their lease.

    Charter and Timeshare Services See a Short-term Boost

    While surging in popularity, many corporate travelers are realizing that chartered and shared services only offer limited flexibility in terms of schedule and personal safety standards. "What we're talking about is still a form of mass transit," says Jeff Wieand of Boston Jet Search, a private aircraft broker and consultancy.[3]"There are fewer people involved but the questions remain the same - are they cleaning the plane in between? When was the staff tested? Individuals in these kinds of arrangements don't have much control over the aircraft or the process. The lack of control was a driver toward ownership before the pandemic and more so now."

    Charter and timeshare services also require passengers to book in advance just like conventional travel, which may result in a bit of jostling if your travel schedule doesn't already line up with that of the service provider. While this may not matter much during a normal week, scheduling issues could become especially acute during high travel periods like around the holidays or ahead of virus lockdowns when many people are trying to get to more remote locations.

    Pivot to Ownership

    Historically, owning an aircraft was an all-cash process with a naturally limited audience. But as access to capital has improved, aircraft costs have come down and interest rates have remained low, aircraft ownership is possible for more people.

    "To my mind, what has happened with the pandemic really accelerated trends that were already happening in the private aircraft market. As major carriers continue to cut back on services, if you're someone who needs to be on the road a lot it's a problem," says Coleman. "What we're really in the business of is giving people their time back. And now, with growing health concerns we're helping them find an option that eliminates more of the risk."

    Navigating the Private Aircraft Marketplace

    There is a robust secondary sales market within aircraft that allows people to invest in pre-owned planes that are in working condition and on established maintenance programs that lenders are willing to underwrite. New planes are also available and financeable.

    For those that are new to ownership, both Coleman and Wieand suggest that it's important to work closely with veteran aviation professionals that can correctly assess the plane itself and the financing options.

    "This isn't like buying a car or a house where you can just compare across and get a sense for what things generally cost," explains Coleman. "You really need to understand the life of the aircraft in terms of where it is coming from, the state of the equipment, and maintenance schedules. And, you have to understand that not every bank is going to finance so you're going to want to engage with brokers and financing almost before you choose the plane so that people are on the same page early."

    Avoid Common Leasing and Owning Aircraft Pitfalls

    For those that want to invest in aircraft ownership, they can choose to lease their own planes or buy them outright. The financing considerations for both options differ.

    Leasing requires careful financing. With a lease, it's important for individuals to understand that they are going to be locked into an aircraft for a period of time even if problems with the aircraft arise. Wieand suggests that it's important to consider the potential for those additional costs when determining whether a lease makes the most sense. A close read of the lease terms is also a good way to ensure that there aren't any surprises if problems arise or if someone needs to break the lease for any reason.

    Focus on alignment first and financing second when taking out a loan. Taking out a loan to cover the cost of an aircraft can remove some obstacles like being locked into a lease period, but individuals will make sure that they are working with well respected financing teams that are familiar with these kinds of transactions. Coleman notes that if you're financing before you buy, lenders will typically want to be clear on the results of a pre-buy inspection so that there aren't any discrepancies with aircraft components or functionality. Appraisals and inspections can vary widely provider to provider so potential owners can avoid problems by working with appraisers and inspection teams that the lender is already familiar with and trusts. Coleman adds that some lenders will not finance specific types of planes so it is important to make sure that individuals align their desires with a finance team that is willing to support them.

    "I have seen people get into situations where they find out that they can't get the financing they were counting on because they didn't do the pre-work," Coleman says. "A seasoned aviation finance team will work closely with you on finding solutions but it's best when they are included early on in the process."

    Ready to Help

    PNC Aviation Finance offers knowledgeable financing solutions to make private aircraft ownership possible and affordable.

    We offer custom-tailored financing packages based on business needs and circumstances. Our experienced aviation finance team understands and has extensive knowledge regarding private aircraft ownership requirements, FAA, insurance, operating leases, etc.

    We can help you look at the implications of each option and help you decide on the best option for you or your business.

    Learn how PNC Aviation Finance can help you fly higher by visiting pnc.com/aviation.


    Sources
    1. Los Angeles Times (July 10, 2020) The rich are flying again -- in the comfort of their private jets - https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-07-10/charter-private-jet-flight-covid-19-coronavirus
    2. CEO David G. Coleman, Duncan Aviation (November 2020) Interview
    3. CEO Jeff Wieand, Boston Jet Search (November 2020) Interview


    This article was originally published by PNC Aviation Finance on December 17, 2020.

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    AINsight: How Dry Leases Can Prevent Illegal Charter see more

    NAFA member, David G. Mayer, Partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, discusses how dry leases can prevent illegal charter.

    Is it possible that a subtle shift is occurring away from the pervasive and persistent menace of illegal charter operations? Anecdotally, and perhaps for me just hopefully, I am seeing more aircraft owners, operators, lessees, and lessors asking whether they need some type of leasing or other structure to avoid FAA scrutiny or personal liability.

    Leasing enables a lessee, which may be an individual or entity (person), to lawfully “operate” and thereby exercise “operational control” over an aircraft under the FARs. Only one person has operational control. Leasing offers a broad array of benefits and structures to direct cash flow from lessees to lessors and vendors, manage risk, minimize certain taxes, share aircraft use and cost among unrelated and affiliated parties, and facilitate commercial operations under FAR Part 135.

    But leasing is not an incidental subject, as explained in the General Aviation Dry Leasing Guide developed by NBAA and several other aviation alphabet groups. This 17-page publication informs aircraft buyers, owners, lessors, lessees, lenders, brokers, lawyers, and other advisors about the flexibility, utility, regulatory aspects, and complexity of leasing.

    Key FAA Leases: Dry and Wet

    It is essential first to understand that a “lease” under the Uniform Commercial Code in part means a transfer by a “lessor” to a “lessee” of the right to possession and use of an aircraft for a term in return for consideration—usually hourly, fixed, and/or variable rent payments.

    In contrast, a true lease might exist when the lessor retains residual value risk—the remaining value of the aircraft at the end of the lease term. Sellers do not take this risk. Finally, a charter is not a lease; it is a service, with no change of aircraft possession.

    Under FAR 91.23, “a lease means any agreement by a person to furnish an aircraft to another person for “compensation or hire, with or without flight crewmembers, that is not a contract of conditional sale.” In this context, the FAA identifies two extremely important categories of leases in Order 8900.1: dry leases and wet leases.

    Dry lease refers to an aircraft transaction in which the lessor provides the aircraft, the lessee independently supplies the crewmembers, and the lessee retains operational control of the flight. FAR 1.1 defines a core regulatory concept of operational control with respect to a flight as “the exercise of authority over initiating, conducting, or terminating a flight.”

    Illegal or unsafe operations may occur when leases or other contracts do not specify who is responsible for operational control of the aircraft and in other circumstances. As such, the FAA focuses on operational control in assessing whether a flight operation is an illegal charter or valid Part 91 operation.

    Operational control under Part 91 does not mean the traveler must fly the aircraft personally. An aircraft owner or lessee typically delegates that responsibility to pilots under Part 91 or charter operator under Part 135. I sometimes refer to the one person that exercises operational control as having the liability target on the person’s back.

    For example, in one of the most common uses of dry leases, an owner enters into a dry lease between a limited liability company (LLC), as the single-purpose aircraft owner entity, to put operational control of flight operations into the hands of one person as the lessee in compliance with Part 91.

    A major business enterprise for profit may be an appropriate dry lessee if the aircraft serves the business of the enterprise whose operations generate substantially more revenue than the operating costs of the aircraft. The LLC owner/member may also agree to an “exclusive dry lease,” with one lessee/operator or “non-exclusive leases” with multiple aircraft lessees/operators under their separate non-exclusive leases.

    The finance world routinely uses exclusive dry leases of various types to enable a lessor to buy an aircraft and lease it to a lessee without crew under a long-term lease. Here, the lessee similarly supplies the crew and assumes all obligations under the lease for the care, custody, and control of the aircraft during the term, including for its maintenance, crewing, operations, cost payments, insurance, and taxes.

    Despite the availability of leasing, new and current aircraft owners still frequently violate the FARs when their LLCs operate the aircraft but have no business other than to own and operate their aircraft, converting the LLCs into illegal “flight department companies.” Such a single-purpose LLC cannot lawfully conduct these operations, share the aircraft for any compensation (anything of value), or offer the aircraft for hire to others unless the LLC obtains an air carrier certificate under Part 119 and operates the aircraft under Part 135. It is quite feasible to use non-exclusive or exclusive dry leases to rectify or avoid these violations.

    In contrast to a dry lease, the FAA defines a wet lease in FAR 110.2 as an aircraft lease whereby the lessor provides both an entire aircraft and at least one crewmember to a lessee. The lessor retains operational control of the flight, unlike a dry lease where the dry lessee supplies its own crew, directs many aspects of flight operations, and retains operational control.

    Another significant distinction exists between Part 91 private operations and Part 135 commercial operations conducted by the air carrier that influences lease structuring. The air carrier (charterer) has the liability target on its back instead of the person that would otherwise exercise operational control under Part 91. This feature appeals to risk-averse Part 91 lessees or owners that want to mitigate the risk of liability for accidents involving their aircraft under their operational control of the aircraft.

    When the Rubber Hits the Runway

    When the conduct of flights blurs the line in determining whether one lessee/passenger has operational control or the lessor/aircraft provider has operational control under Part 91, illegal charter operations may be occurring. Lessees normally must understand and accept operational control and related obligations.

    Although the FAA has no specific criteria to determine when Part 91 dry leases morph into illegal wet leases, lessees should be wary of lessors that offer leases to multiple unrelated parties, induce the parties to hire the lessor’s pilots, and usurp the lessee’s independence in exercising operational control.

    Importantly, the lease parties of large civil aircraft (over 12,500 pounds mtow) must comply with FAR 91.23, the Truth-in-Leasing rules. These rules, which protect and inform lessees, require the filing with the FAA of a copy of the lease within 24 hours of signing and notice to the local FAA Flight Standards office at least 48 hours before the first flight under the lease.

    Conclusion

    There is no excuse for operating an aircraft as an illegal charter, especially when leasing aircraft provides a reasonable way to transfer rights to lessees to possess and use an aircraft under the lessee’s operational control. With the guidance of knowledgeable aviation counsel, individuals and entities can operate safely, lawfully, and knowledgeably under the FARs using leases and other related documentation that will survive FAA scrutiny.

    This article was originally published on AINonline on January 15, 2021.

     

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Return to Lender see more

    NAFA member, George Kleros, Senior VP, Strategic Fleet Management and Fleet Support for Jet Support Services, shares nine things you need to know when leasing an aircraft.

    When leasing an aircraft, what are your maintenance obligations during and at the end of the lease term to ensure that the returned aircraft maintains its value? 

    Focused on that residual value, the lessor will designate a qualified inspector or auditor to perform periodic records reviews and/or asset inspections, throughout the lease period. The intent is to verify the aircraft’s general condition and ensure it remains in compliance with lease requirements.

    After each check, the inspector will send the lessor a report with the graded condition of the aircraft and any specific findings. If anything can or might affect the residual value, you’ll be required to take corrective action to bring the aircraft into compliance.

    At term end, the lessor will conduct an “off-lease” inspection (similar to a pre-purchase inspection) at a factory-owned or authorized service center. All components and systems must be in full working order; or repaired if not. If the major components are near their life limit, you’d be responsible for covering these costs: either a pro-rated percentage based on time consumed, or 100% of the cost to overhaul if it’s close to the event.

    If the aircraft requires repairs for damage or corrosion, you are responsible for the repair cost. Once any repairs required by the lease are completed, any diminution in value due to damage history will be the lessor’s responsibility.

    So what can you do to preserve the value of the aircraft?

    Do …

    • Review the lease document fully to understand the operation, maintenance and return of the aircraft requirements. A good lease-return scenario always starts with a well-defined and documented set of return conditions. Ask questions for clarification prior to signing, to be sure you fully comprehend the broad scope of your obligations.
    • Keep the aircraft clean and polished to protect from corrosion and paint deterioration. Unprotected aircraft deteriorate faster than you might expect. The aircraft interior will be inspected for wear, cleanliness, and damage. The exterior will be checked for oil leaks, paint condition, and structural damage.
    • Store the records in a secure, dry, fireproof storage cabinet or safe. Damaged or missing records devalue an aircraft and will change residual value. The lessor will come out either annually or bi-annually to see the aircraft and review the records for accuracy and airworthiness.
    • Keep up with routine and scheduled maintenance tasks, even if the aircraft is not flying for extended periods of time.
    • Address interior and exterior wear items immediately. Waiting can compound the problem and cost more to correct.

    Don’t …

    • Assume the lease document allows for the aircraft to operate under different regulations or use than originally defined.  If the aircraft flies only for you under FAR Part 91 regulations, don’t move your aircraft into a for-hire Part 135 air-taxi arrangement without consulting the lessor; it may not be allowed.
    • Leave the aircraft outside. Store it in a hangar when not in use. Sun, humidity, and high temperatures deteriorate interiors and paint exterior, diminishing the residual value.
    • Let the aircraft sit inactive for long periods of time. Your aircraft still needs to be flown and systems exercised to keep systems lubricated and reduce risk for damage.
    • Ignore missing paint and erosion strips. This leads to corrosion and will be expensive to correct.

    The lessor always requires hull insurance at a specific dollar amount, and generally seeks high liability insurance limits.  If you acquire an hourly cost maintenance program (HCMP), it can help ensure that the aircraft meets return conditions. The lease should state clearly that the maintenance program was current at lease inception and that the HCMP will be transferred to the lessor. An HCMP is very desirable in a lease transaction. It helps preserve the aircraft’s residual value, and helps you avoid penalties and extra costs. 

    This article originally appeared in Business Aviation Advisor on November 3, 2020.


     

  • NAFA Administrator posted an article
    Lease Agreements! But Wait, There's More! see more

    NAFA member, Air Law Office, P.A., shares two more steps you should consider regarding your aircraft lease agreement.

    You’ve set up your operational structure for your “large civil aircraft” and you have your Part 91 lease in place, what now?  Whether you have purchased a new-to-you aircraft, or you are changing up your operational structure, you’ve found a new lessee to use your aircraft on a Part 91 basis, there are 2 more steps that you have to take.  Many owners and lessees think that the work is finished once the lease agreement is signed, but they are wrong.  The FAA requires that 2 separate copies of the lease agreement must be sent to 2 separate offices of the FAA before the aircraft flies under the new lease agreement.

    First, under FAR §91.23 within 24 hours of execution, a signed copy of the lease agreement shall be mailed to the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch (AFS-750), Attn: Technical Section, P.O. Box 25724, Oklahoma City, OK 73125.  Note: filing the lease agreement with Registry to satisfy this truth-in-leasing requirement does not constitute filing under 14 CFR part 47 or 49 to register the aircraft, or to record for public notice.

    Second, again under FAR §91.23, the lessee must notify the FSDO closest to the aircraft’s departure airport at least 48 hours prior to the first flight under the lease agreement.  This notice can be in-person, via telephone, via fax or via email, depending on the requirements of that FSDO.  The notice must include the identity of the departure airport and the proposed time of the departure of said first flight.

    The Bottom Line:  Be sure to send a copy of the executed lease to Oklahoma City, send a copy to the appropriate FSDO and be sure to carry a copy on-board the aircraft during all applicable operations!  Check in with your legal team ASAP to be sure you are in compliance!  Remember, this article is intended to inform you about issues that you should discuss with your financial and/or legal team and is not intended as legal advice or opinion, you should not act on any information contained in this (or any other) article without directly consulting legal counsel.

    This article was originally published by Air Law Office, P.A. on August 14, 2020.