A fool and his money are soon parted, so the saying goes. It turns out at least some new private jet buyers are already having remorse. Some are even selling aircraft they just bought. It’s a counter to the innumerable stories about how charter operators are benefitting from first-time private flyers seeking to minimize COVID-19 exposure or who can no longer get where they need efficiently due to reduced airline schedules. In those cases, 96% say they plan to continue flying privately post-pandemic.
“I’ve already fielded two calls from people who bought in the first half of 2020 and are already looking to sell. I had a client who purchased a Phenom 300…and was gung-ho…and he is stung by the cost of managing and operating the aircraft because he isn’t flying it enough,” said Kerry Dowling, an aviation attorney who specializes in transactions.
Some first-time private jet buyers have already put their aircraft up for sale after finding out how … [+]
Speaking during a Corporate Jet Investor Town Hall, she echoed the comments of other participants and panelists. Rich people who don’t know what they are doing and anxious to own their own private jet are finding out what they didn’t know can be expensive. In some cases, the costs are unaffordable, hence the need to sell the aircraft they just bought. Older private jets with attractive price tags can require millions of dollars in upgrades and maintenance.
MySky, a spend-management platform, notes, “Each time an aircraft is flown, there will between 10 and 15 invoices to process…Due to invoicing complexities and inherent inefficiencies within the private aviation sector, there can be a lag of up to three months between a flight taking place and payment of invoices.”
It’s those bills that are producing headaches for first-time buyers who bypass typical entry points such as on-demand charters and jet cards to jump in at the deep end of the pool.
Panelists at Corporate Jet Investor’s Town Hall say first-time private jet buyers shouldn’t rush, … [+]
Part of the problem, executives at the Town Hall said, are new buyers don’t even know where to begin – or they just think they can do it on their own.
“First-time buyers don’t understand the concept of brokers and how brokers can help them…They reach out to everybody who’s out there, and they end up getting so much information they get confused…We always tell them to choose your broker and stick with your broker. Some take the advice, others don’t,” Rohit Kapur, Asia president of JetHQ, told attendees.
Par Avion’s Janine Iannarelli added, “As far as new buyers being misadvised, I would go as far as to say misled based on some people I’ve spoken to…knowing what it’s going to cost to continue to operate the aircraft. That is the biggest challenge in the educational process. People are coming into the marketplace that have an idea of what the purchase price is going to be, but never ever consider what their ongoing costs are going to be. When I start down that path of trying to educate them, they are absolutely shocked. In some cases, they’ve let me know they’ve spoken with a flight crew member, a management company, that has definitely downplayed what those costs will be.”
She advises new clients to slow down and warns buyers to pushback if they feel rushed. Finding the right aircraft and then getting the deal done can take up to a year. She says buyers should make sure family and significant others are onboard with the potential purchase.
Joseph Carfagna, Jr of Leading Edge Aviation Solutions added more reasons to take a cautious approach. He said a spike in deals for used aircraft late last year means the available inventory has been well picked over. He said much of it, particularly for large-cabin jets, lacks the right configuration, location, or pedigree.
Carfagna says first-time buyers are mainly UHNWs and owners of small businesses who “have to press the flesh to make things happen.”
While the flow of inquiries has slowed down, he expects as businesses look to get back out on the road and find airline schedules no longer meet their needs, this summer will see a new wave of newbies.
By the same token, corporate buyers, who are the driving force in new private jet sales, seemingly are taking their time. Delivery of new business jets dropped 20% last year, falling to its lowest unit level since 2004.
I’m Editor-in-Chief of DG Amazing Experiences, a weekly e-newsletter for private jet owners and Private Jet Card Comparisons, a buyer’s guide comparing over 250 jet card programs from major players like Flexjet, Jet Linx, NetJets, Sentient Jet, Wheels Up, VistaJet, and XO to newcomers like FlyExclusive and boutique brokers. You’ll also find performance profiles of popular private jets, from turboprops King Air 350, Pilatus PC-12 and HondaJet to the Phenom 300, Challenger 300 and 350, Gulfstream G450, G550, G650, G700, Bombardier’s popular Global Express family, the iconic Learjet and S-76 helicopter used by both Queen Elizabeth and Donald Trump. There’s a free guide explaining various options and even a guide for first-timers and specifically what you need to know before chartering. And before you fly, find out what’s an FBO. You’ll also find a Deal Book, cataloging M&A activity and launches by key players. I’ve spent my working career in travel and luxury media, for 14 years at Travel Agent magazine, where I began as a reporter, then covered the airline industry as Aviation Editor and ended up rising to Group Publisher. In 2000 I started Elite Traveler, a consumer lifestyle magazine distributed globally aboard private jets, where I was President and Editor-in-Chief until 2014. In 2007, I co-authored of “The Sky’s the Limit: Marketing to the New Jet Set.” In 2014 I wrote “23 Ways to Create More Sales Opportunities 25 Minutes,” and in 2016 I co-authored “Secrets of Selling to the Super Rich.” Verb named me as one of the Top 25 Digital Luxury Experts to follow. For more private aviation and news on jet cards, private aviation memberships, and fractional ownership, visit Private Jet Card Comparisons’ news updates.