MEBAA Convention News

Global Jet Capital: Mideast Bizav Fleet Ripe for Upgrade

 - December 7, 2016, 4:30 AM
About 10 percent of the Middle East’s corporate aircraft fleet of midsize and large-cabin business jets and private airliners, worth almost $1 billion, is currently for sale, according to new research from financing firm Global Jet Capital (GJC). (Photo: David McIntosh/AIN)

About 10 percent of the Middle East’s corporate aircraft fleet of midsize and large-cabin business jets, as well as bizliners—worth almost a combined $1 billion—is currently for sale, according to new research released here at MEBAA by financing firm Global Jet Capital (GJC). Based on an analysis of JetNet data, about 732 jets in total are registered in the region and around 73 are on the block, the research finds: Some 26 in the UAE, 23 in Saudi Arabia, 14 in Turkey, the remainder scattered around the region, with their value totaling an estimated $939 million. Many owners of the for-sale aircraft “are looking to upgrade to a more modern aircraft,” said Simon Davies, GJC Sales Director for the Middle East.

The research hints that a growing number of regional owners may be ripe for an upgrade. According to GJC’s research, between 2006 and 2015, some 293 midsize and large-cabin jets—about 40 percent of the fleet, with an estimated value of more than $14.65 billion—were delivered to the Middle East. The largest number of deliveries went to Turkey (77) followed by the UAE (63) and Saudi Arabia (58).

This suggests more than half of the fleet is in excess of 10 years old, considered long in the tooth by today’s standards, particularly at a time when a host of new jet models are coming to market.

Overall, midsize jets comprise the largest share of the 739 jets in the Middle East fleet (537), followed by large-cabin jets (112), executive airliners (83), light jets (4) and very light jets (3), according to GJC’s research.

U.S.-based GJC, established in 2014, hopes to play a role in financing upgrades for regional operators. Capitalized by a trio of global investment firms—GSO Capital Partners, the Carlyle Group, and AE Industrial Partners—GJC has more than $1 billion in financing available for buyers of business jets, both new and preowned less than 10 years olds.

The aircraft the company finances typically cost between $25 and $75 million, with external financing providing up to 80 percent of the funds. GJC currently finances more than 200 business jets with a value of around $2.5 billion, Davies said.

Members of GJC’s management team have, in total, completed more than 3,500 aircraft transactions. This past January, the firm completed its purchase of GE’s corporate aircraft lease and loan book in the Americas.

Looking ahead, some 350 business jets worth an estimated $10.5 billion are expected to be delivered to the Middle East over the next decade, and most experts see promise in the regional market. A survey of more than 200 business aviation professionals GJC also released here found more than 59 percent see the current market as “attractive for finance companies,” while only 15 percent called the environment “unattractive.” Moreover, 41 percent believe the market will become more attractive over the next three years, while only 13 percent see it becoming less so.

As for the availability of financing, more than half (51 percent) of these experts say funds will increase between now and 2019, with 8 percent saying the increase will be dramatic. Another 23 percent see available capital remaining at current levels, while 21 percent expect a decline.