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2016 has been an unusual year for aircraft transactions according to René Banglesdorf, CEO and founder of Austin, Texas-based jet broker Charlie Bravo Aviation.
Speaking from the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA) conference held in Montreal from Oct. 19 to 21, Banglesdorf talked to Skies ahead of this year’s NBAA tradeshow about 2016 business aviation trends, and what to look out for in 2017.
With a U.S. election just weeks away, Banglesdorf explained that the unpredictability inspired by the event has changed the pattern of sales this year. While the initial nominations were taking place during the first half of the year, sales were slow. “However, as both candidates were confirmed, and they both support business aviation, third quarter movements picked up across a lot of markets.”
Newer airframes between six to eight years old represented the majority of the sales, with mid-size aircraft, particularly the Bombardier Learjet 60 and Citation XL, performing well. At the heavy end of the market, significant price reductions of up to $2 million also stimulated activity.
North American transactions are being driven by a mix of factors, according to Banglesdorf.
“The strengthened dollar has encouraged movement, and a number of very innovative new models coming from the charter market have contributed to increased purchasing from within the charter sector,” she said. “Companies like Wheels Up, Surf Air, JetSmarter and Rise are all gaining traction.”
Banglesdorf also thinks these newer models are widening the potential market. “We owe Wheels Up founder Kenny Dichter a huge credit as he has opened more people’s eyes to private aviation. He’s placing ads in mainstream positions and is showcasing an affordable solution to a new set of business jet users.”
Since passengers often become buyers, she believes that long term this will stimulate sales in North America.
Alongside the increase in charter activity, Banglesdorf notes that fractional ownership programs are also proving popular, suggesting their flexibility can have great appeal. “We’re seeing an increase in corporate flight departments mixing up their use of executive aviation. Some will update their corporate fleet but combine flying with fractional programs such as NetJets, which also drives demand for aircraft purchases.”
As buyers come to market in 2017, Banglesdorf said the major factors in the aircraft selection process will continue to be range and speed.
“A good example of this is the G650 which has answered so many demands for extended range combined with speed, which is why it is such a popular aircraft.”
Banglesdorf is also optimistic about the pre-owned market in 2017. As manufacturers scale back production activity, buyers are looking at all options for jet ownership. Along with flight sharing models there is a strong argument to explore pre-owned options.
“With a refurbished interior, upgraded connectivity and new exterior paintwork a pre-owned aircraft offers excellent value, and this will continue to keep activity in this sector steady across the Americas,” she concluded.
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