A webinar hosted last month by AIN and sponsored by Duncan Aviation and Mesinger Jet Sales gave participants a road map for a successful business aircraft transaction. The hour-long event featured three industry-expert panelists—Keith Swirsky of GKG Law went over timelines, milestones, and pitfalls of transactions; Keith Hayes of PNC Finance covered financing options, critical pathways to get to the finish line with the right financing product to meet the buyer’s tax and operational needs; and Jad Donaldson, aviation director for Harley Davidson Aviation, spoke about what it is like as an operator to source and trust an aviation professional to guide the sales and marketing process with transparency, integrity, and certainty of completing a transaction.
As a listener to the webinar and proponent of good planning and execution, based on gathering the right team and having smart timelines and milestones, I'd say the content rang clear and I am sure provided many good takeaways for attendees. The view of the panelists was anywhere from 10,000 feet to 30,000 feet.
What should come next for any of the attendees is to consider the scope and nature of a proposed transaction or transition and then assemble a team of strong professionals to begin to build your own game plan with specific timelines and milestones.
When I write articles and blogs, I am always doing so with an eye toward a successful aircraft transaction. I do not think anyone could argue with that being the desired outcome.
If we think of the transaction broken into its constituent parts, we would say a transaction is made up of the aircraft and its market value; the contract between buyer and seller; and the people. If I were going to weigh each of these parts, I would put the greatest reliance on the people, then the contract, and lastly the aircraft.
That might seem backward to many, given the number of balls in the air on any transaction. But I strongly believe if the people involved are not professional, transparent, and savvy, there will be no way to keep those balls in the air.
The contract should be next and reflect the usual and customary negotiated understanding of all parties involved in the transaction. Even if there are known issues with the aircraft, if they are disclosed and agreed upon by the buyer and the seller, a sale can still be contemplated and completed as long as within the four corners of the document, the issues are drafted.
Next comes the aircraft. Of course, without an aircraft, there's no need for the people or the contract, but once the people have guided the negotiations and signed a contract, the best part can start: the aircraft inspection. This is where the people stand back, the contract guides the discussion, and the aircraft gets to steal the show.
Either it can be made to meet the delivery conditions articulated in the contract that has been negotiated and approved by both buyer and seller; or it cannot. This is the natural go-forward/get out part of the transaction. Or as said during the webinar, this is where the rubber meets the road.
This webinar is still available via recorded playback, and I urge anyone who plans to buy or sell a business aircraft in 2020 to view it.