NARA Meeting Sounds Upbeat Note for Bizjet Sales

 - April 14, 2011, 10:30 AM

Reports from last week’s National Aircraft Resale Association’s spring meeting in Naples, Fla., inspire continued optimism about the business aviation industry’s recovery. “There’s certainly more movement, and it’s much more positive than what we saw a year ago,” said Allen Qualey, president of the specialty finance group at 1st Source Bank. He said the mood at the well attended meeting was upbeat, though many aircraft dealers are still showing some reluctance to purchase pre-owned inventory and instead prefer to act in a brokering capacity. On the finance side, Qualey has noted additional positive indicators. “What we’re seeing is our new business is vibrant, but what wasn’t as vibrant was the [loan] payoffs; now we see both happening,” he told AIN. “When you’re getting payoffs, that means somebody has sold his airplane, which means he got the price he wanted or close enough to let it go.” Qualey believes many operators are now taking the opportunity to upgrade their aircraft. “When you are at the bottom, it’s the best time to upgrade. Just because your airplane might not be worth as much as you would like, if you are getting a bigger, faster, newer one for less than it was worth before, it’s the net difference that counts and the net difference is probably at an all-time low right now.”