With one quarter of the year in the rear-view mirror, the pre-owned market enters one of its historically busier quarters, and with some key economic indicators showing improvement, this year may be setting up to be busier than many recent ones. So many aircraft values have done nothing but fall for nearly five years. Now some are showing signs of resisting that perennial trend. A number of segments continue to edge ever closer toward right pricing, but others have fallen so far that they are beginning to move quickly.
Newly formatted data from online charter portal Avinode gives a clearer impression of the fluctuations in charter aircraft demand and pricing.
Charter booking portal Stratajet is signing an initial group of aircraft operators for system tests that it hopes will lead to a full launch in this year’s second quarter. The company has dropped earlier plans to charge operators to list aircraft in its Stratafleet database and is guaranteeing fixed, all-inclusive charter rates to passengers.
How well do you know the market? When the market goes up, everyone knows it and accepts it, and prices rise; when it falls, everyone recognizes the need to adjust. But if you’re a buyer or a seller, how good is your information? Right now the market is in what could be a transitional phase, making it a challenge to decipher its signals, no matter what side of the fence you’re on. We recently heard of one buyer shelling out seven figures more than he could have paid, had he known virtually anything about the market.
As the cost of jet-A creeps ever upwards, the price last month at several Washington, D.C.-area airport FBOs hovered near $9 per gallon. Signature Flight Support, the lone provider at Reagan National Airport, posted a pump price of $9.18 a gallon, which was still less than the $9.24 per gallon it listed in early March 2011.
Bombardier Aerospace’s Dubai parts depot has moved to a new facility to enhance its aftermarket support for operators flying to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). It allows greater inventory capacity and, as part of a continuing priority to improve competitiveness, and Bombardier says it has reduced prices on many rotable exchanges and a large number of proprietary and non-proprietary new parts.
Avfuel has bolstered its network of more than 600 branded FBOs with the addition of four new dealers: London City Airport Centre at London City Airport; Minot Aero Center in Minot, N.D.; Million Air Burbank in California; and CYHU H-18 in Montreal will now all offer the full range of Avfuel products, including contract fuel, the Avtrip rewards program and Avfuel’s Avplan flight support and trip planning services.
Online charter portal Avinode (Booth No. 2120) has introduced an improved search engine to allow operators to generate price quotes more accurately and quickly. With new pricing and aircraft performance profiles built into the company’s Marketplace software, operators can run multiple pricing profiles for each aircraft by selecting variable factors specific to a charter request.
In looking for something to validate my feeling about what a lackluster year it has been in the preowned segment, I compared the year-ago inventory level with this year’s numbers at this time, and even though my gut feeling told me so, the results were still a bit surprising.
Last year’s inventory was 2,572, and this year’s number was exactly the same. In between there have been slight upticks and one small downtick that unexpectedly came this past summer, when inventory more often builds than diminishes.
Finding a pricing floor for many models has been as elusive as the search for Atlantis, but recent market action is giving hope to underwater sellers. The typical summer plumping of inventory never occurred this year, setting the stage for what could be an active wave of buying in the final quarter.