My job at this month’s NBAA show in Las Vegas was to present our AINtv webcasts. I’ve been working on AINtv since its launch in 2006 and it really is great fun—in fact, don’t tell my boss, but it’s light relief from the daily grind of churning out articles for AIN’s print and online editions.
General aviation groups sent a joint letter to all members of Congress on Tuesday urging them to drop a proposal to charge a $25 “departure fee” on airline and GA flights. “Our community is deeply concerned about reports suggesting that current negotiations to raise the debt ceiling are giving rise to a resoundingly discredited approach to raising revenues from our industry–user fees,” the presidents of seven GA associations wrote.
Late last week, the parent company of Cedar City, Utah-based Metalcraft Technologies purchased the assets of the SJ30 light jet program from Emivest Aerospace for $3.5 million in cash. Emivest filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October.
Barely two years ago prospective business aircraft buyers in Europe were among the most sought-after clients for a banking industry attracted both to the high rates of growth in this market sector and to the exceptional strength of asset values, driven largely by soaring demand and long delivery backlogs.
Charter/management and FBO company Key Air completed an arrangement in December to recapitalize its debt.
For the business aviation industry, the past year has been a trying one, to say
the least. Aircraft sales and usage declined steeply as the economic downturn tightened its grip, forcing operators to cope with the new financial realities, and in some cases with disparaging views of the industry.
XOJet has secured $470 million in additional financing, including $100 million in equity and a “more flexible debt facility” of $370 million that allows for the purchase of either new or used aircraft. The financing was led by TPG, a Fort Worth-based private equity firm, and Aabar, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm. XOJet plans to use the additional capital to expand its charter aircraft operations.
Credit is tight, but money is available. That’s the message from Jim Pulie, director of business development for Center Capital’s general aviation division.
Last year when AIN took a close look at the aviation finance industry, the prevailing sentiment among industry insiders was that if you were looking for money to finance a business jet, the money would find you. At the time, many of the aircraft finance divisions still felt they were relatively insulated from their mortgage brethren, even within the same company.
Business aircraft buyers can expect loans to be harder to find and more costly, according to Adam Warner, president of Key Equipment Finance, Downers Grove, Ill. “There are fewer players in the finance market because some banks simply don’t have capital to lend,” he said. Those that have money are more selective and now less willing to finance 100 percent of an aircraft’s value.