Sometimes it pays!
Elliott Aviation Aircraft Sales Manager
In our previous articles we talked about the technical side of our deals; now it is time for a discussion about the power of relationships. Dealer/Brokers thrive on repeat business from our core customer base. We all need new customers to keep our database alive but we must nurture relations with customers who have already used our services. As our client’s needs change, we need to be willing to adjust, stay intelligent and supportive.
I spent my first 16 years in the Aircraft Sales business with a full-service dealership. Our sales team represented a full line of new piston through turboprop products and enjoyed a large protected territory. We had the backing of an MRO division that grew to several OEM Authorized Service Centers. We were stocking dealer and did our own demos, deliveries and often customer training . This offering was ideal for many owners as they had local and complete support as they moved up the product line.
In the late 90’s I met an owner of a cabin-class single who was ready to move up and purchased a new twin turboprop. He would base with us and be a perfect customer… buying airplanes, hangar, fuel and maintenance. My company was happy with the deal and also happy to tell me that I would personally be doing the 200 hrs of transition training that the insurance company had decided to require. It was immediately obvious he was excellent pilot, fun to fly with and the mission was complete in four months.
The next two years went smoothly with his ownership experience and he was ready for the next logical transition to a light jet. He was a new airplane buyer and the OEM we were representing did not have a single pilot jet to offer. I painfully sat on the sideline while he bought a new airplane from the competition. We still had a fuel customer but had lost the sales and MRO business.
Interestingly, it became evident that the new jet service center being 200 miles away was very inconvenient, especially compared to the on-field service that he had become accustomed to with our product. My company was supportive of my idea to provide shuttle service to and from the competition’s facility, as needed. Yes, it was usually a piston airplane but it was a ride and he was very appreciative. This offer of support proved key, since after two years, our OEM had a single-pilot jet to offer and the customer was ready for an upgrade. We participated in the new delivery, got our local facility MRO Factory Authorization for the new jet and sold the trade!
The decision to think outside the box and offer the extra support with this client proved to be very worthwhile. He has provided countless referrals and has personally owned eight airplanes, bought two for his company and had us involved in 13 transactions. Without the decision to offer the support when he went with the completion it would have most likely ended with just the one sale. We have remained loyal to each other and that’s a win-win.
Jim Odenwaldt has extensive flying and technical experience with all Beechcraft products and sales expertise with all models of Hawker/Beech, Citation and Gulfstream. After graduating from Embry-Riddle in 1989, Jim worked as a CFI and maintenance technician. While with American Beechcraft Company, he was responsible for aircraft sales in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to his ATP, Jim is an A&P and type rated in the Beechcraft Premier.
Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).
New business unit Jetcraft Asia to best serve clients by blending industry expertise with regional market knowledge
RALEIGH, NC, Feb. 28, 2012 – Jetcraft Corporation, a provider of business aircraft sales, acquisitions, trading and brokerage services, today announced the opening of a new office in Hong Kong, China, under the Jetcraft Asia banner.
“We believe that this is the right time to establish a permanent presence in Asia,” says Chad Anderson, President, Jetcraft Corporation. “While we have been active in the region for years, we have done so without a formal presence. Based on the projected growth of the Asian – and particularly the Chinese – market, we are now directly serving the region. By blending our proven approach to business aircraft sales with a team of Hong Kong-based industry professionals, we believe that Jetcraft Asia will offer buyers and sellers superior market intelligence and an in-depth understanding of regional business and regulatory issues. Speaking for the entire Jetcraft team, we are very excited about this latest step in our company’s growth and evolution,” adds Mr. Anderson.
“From our new office in Hong Kong, we will be able to best represent client interests in Asia,” continues Jahid Fazal-Karim, Co-Owner and Board Member, Jetcraft Corporation. “Traditionally, the Asian market has favored new business aircraft. However, we predict a growing market for pre-owned aircraft, particularly in China, within the next five years. Locally-registered aircraft are likely to remain in China since transferring registration in-country is generally simpler than importing and registering aircraft. Given Jetcraft’s commitment to offer comprehensive services in multiple markets with consistent quality, establishing a permanent presence in Asia was the next logical step for us. Jetcraft Asia will leverage regional market knowledge and our proven approach to remarketing aircraft in order to tailor solutions for our clients globally, both within the region and from elsewhere – whether selling into or buying from Asia,” concludes Mr. Fazal-Karim.
For more information or to contact the Jetcraft Asia team, please visit https://jetcraft.com/company/international-operations/
About Jetcraft Corporation
Jetcraft Corporation is an international leader in new and pre-owned business aircraft sales, acquisitions and trades. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Jetcraft has sales offices/representation in five US cities; Basel and Zurich, Switzerland; Dubai, UAE, Moscow, Russia and Hong Kong, China. The company’s 50-year-plus track record in aircraft transactions has earned it a world class customer base and one of the strongest global networks in the industry. Jetcraft Avionics LLC, a subsidiary of Jetcraft Corporation, provides distribution of Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) for aftermarket business and wide body aircraft using Elbit-Kollsman’s state-of-the-art EVS-II and AT-HUD. For more information, please visit www.jetcraft.com.
Last month I talked about a methodology to compare costs. I suggested that Life Cycle Costing is the preferred method in order to fully understand the total costs of owning and operating an aircraft. Even if Life Cycle Costing, I want to bring another point of caution to you.
What is covered?
We've done many benchmark reports and analyzed the costs of hundreds of aircraft. It is vital to understand exactly what went into the number is that you have. If you have used Life Cycle Costing yourself, then you will have put forth the effort into your costs. But what about costs from other sources?
If your analysis suggests that an aircraft costs $1,200 per hour and your friend, who operates the same type, tells you $900 per hour, who is correct? Well, you both can be. Just what was covered in each number and what were the underlying assumptions?
Fuel cost is an easy example. For each hour that you fly, your aircraft consumes so much fuel. The $1,200 per hour assumed fuel at $5.25 per gallon while your friend used $4.50 per gallon. At 85 gallons per hour, you are different by $63.75 per hour.
Next up in variable costs is maintenance. But what maintenance is included? Scheduled, unscheduled, retirement items, engines? Are major cost items such as engine overhauls accrued as a cost per hour, or just shown as an average or an interval not equal to the time accrued?
Say you spent $252,000 on an engine overhaul due at 3,600 hours. The accrual cost is $70 per hour. If you have had the aircraft for only two years and flew 600 hours during that time, the “cost per hour” to you is $420 per hour. Quite a difference! While that cost jumps out as obvious, add up a lot of $1,000 and $500 items. Taken individually, they seem insignificant. In total the effect can be substantial.
Maintenance costs can vary considerably and their cyclical nature adds to the fog surrounding using a single number. While Life Cycle Costing helps, you need to be consistent in the methods and length of time used. Even so, a five year cost period for a new aircraft will differ than a five year cost for a 10-year old aircraft. What maintenance happens when is important.
Training costs, new avionics, upgrading paint and interior, how much insurance coverage you have, whether you have three full time crew or two full time crew and one part time contract pilot, and so on all can add up to significant differences in the cost.
When you are analyzing and comparing costs from different sources, you need to know what methodology is used and what the numbers include (or exclude). The more detail the better as you can easily be lulled into a false sense of security when two big numbers are close together. Ideally you should run all the numbers yourself using as close to the same assumptions and sources as possible.
Lastly, please keep in mind that every serial number of a single model does not cost the same to operate. In the real world some folks will see higher costs than others, especially in the area of maintenance. Ask questions and understand that "your actual results may vary."
When comparing aircraft costs, it is important to understand what costs are included and what aren't. Otherwise, you can end up comparing "apples and oranges." This can lead to making a decision with wrong or incomplete information. What we often see if that the "number" is smaller than the total cost. The big items are usually included, but adding up a lot of smaller numbers can alter the total cost considerably.
What is a good methodology to use when analyzing the cost of an aircraft? I’m glad you asked. Life Cycle Costing can ensure that all appropriate costs are considered.
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. As the term Life Cycle implies, it looks at a length of time versus a snapshot in time.
How long of a cycle depends on how long you plan on operating the aircraft.
If you plan on keeping the aircraft 10 years, then that is the length of the Life Cycle to use.
The costs should cover the period of ownership and take into account an expected aircraft value at the end of the term. Comparisons of two or more options should also cover the same period of time and utilization. Taxes should be included. Depending on where and how the aircraft is operated will determine the tax impact.
Leases, loans and cash purchases also change the cash flow and total cost.
If you are looking at those options, then you should account for the time-value of money. A Life Cycle Cost can also account for this in a Net Present Value (NPV) analysis. This way, the differing cash flows form two or more options that can be compared and analyzed from a fair and complete perspective.
As an aside, what is NPV? 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 total amount of that item. Paying cash is cheaper in total dollars, except that you have all that cash tied up in the aircraft. A lease or loan allows the cash to flow out over time. NPV runs on the assumption that a dollar today can be worth more than a dollar a year from now. Thus, implicit in the NPV is a time cost of money, called an internal rate of return (IRR) or return on investment (ROI).
Life Cycle Costing allows you to compare different aircraft, or different types of acquiring and operating an aircraft. Using the same period and general assumptions with the analysis of different options gives you a balanced comparison of those options. Regardless of the complexity of the aircraft deal, the Life Cycle Cost method should yield a useful result provided you populate it with as accurate a data as you can.
What sort of tool(s) do you use to compare aircraft costs?