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Aircraft Ownership: Saving Money by Controlling Your Costs

by David Wyndham 1. June 2008 00:00
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What if your total annual budget has no room for the rapidly increasing cost of fuel? What if you needed to cut your budget 20%? Been there before or are you there now?

How do you keep flying and not spend more?

One thing is to look at your current flying schedule. Can you combine multiple trips into one? Flying a lot of deadhead? Empty trips may be a necessity, but there are alternatives.

Can the tomorrow's trip to Austin be combined with the trip to Houston? The goal is to maintain productivity while combining trips. The users, whether you or your management, need to work together to make this work.

Choose your fuel stop wisely. All operators have a choice in where they purchase fuel. While choosing an FBO based solely on fuel price (or any other single requirement) isn't necessarily the best, work with the FBO's you frequent most often to negotiate the best prices.

Use the GlobalAir.com Fuel Locator to check out prices. A stop enroute solely for fuel may pay for itself if the price is right!

Get a couple of fuel cards - there are probably a dozen or more out there. A recent survey my company did found out many operators have three or four fuel cards. Do some research and find out what ones are accepted at the destinations you frequent most. Join the Corporate Aviation Association, even if only for their fuel discount card!

Fuel saving and speed mods for your aircraft. Winglets, speeds packages, and engine retrofits can offer improved performance, and enhanced aircraft value. Some can also provide reduced fuel consumption at equivalent airspeeds. Do the research and talk to other operators about what ones work, what they cost, and what the payback is in terms of performance. A 3% fuel savings at today's cost of fuel can be significant.

Inventory management. Have some spare parts for an aircraft you no longer own? Even at twenty cents on the dollar in liquidation, that is cash readily available. As a rule, inventory will cost 15% to 25% of its value in carrying costs - storage, insurance, loss, etc. How much inventory do you really need for your current aircraft? What are your most frequently replaced parts? How good is the manufacturer's AOG dispatch? Careful management of your inventory can save thousands.

Also speaking of spare parts, what about warranty? On a new aircraft, we all keep very careful track of warranty. Aircraft at any age have many new parts installed. Those parts typically carry some sort of warranty. Track their ages/hours/cycles. Should they need replacement during the warranty, you may get a pro-rated reduction in the cost.

What are you doing to fly more on the same or smaller budget? Click reply and share it with us.

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David Wyndham


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