Some might say we are flying blind with respect to preowned business aircraft values and activity today and in the near future. But I am not willing to go there—I absolutely do not believe we are flying blind and I firmly believe that values and activity can be pegged.
There is no doubt that we—both as a country and world at large—do not fully comprehend where the right-hand bracket on Covid-19 is yet in respect to aircraft values. However, I refuse to close my eyes and allow myself to just bump into unidentified circumstances while flying blind.
Along with many of my fellow aircraft professionals, I’m working hard to keep my eyes wide open and shape the future rather than being shaped by this crisis. I do not mean even for a moment to suggest that this is not a terrible pandemic that we are all working to survive. I do mean that there is something very powerful that we can all be doing. It has never been more important to speak factually, not perpetuate rumors, and be leaders.
For aircraft brokers, this translates into not focusing on being market-makers but instead putting all of our energy into building a vibrant and robust marketplace. The difference is huge.
The market-maker is often discussed when talking about stocks and other commodities that are purchased for resale and profit. I am much more excited to be a part of creating a marketplace. That is the environment that promotes, markets, and builds solid markets for the aircraft we all have for sale. This marketplace fosters right pricing, right representation, and right dialog around the offerings.
I believe the key to keeping values up and reducing large residual loss rates is embedded in the ability to compare and value different pieces of the aircraft. Setting the correct value adds for pedigree, operational history, location of the aircraft, and number of owners, as well as promoting the quality of the records and the maintenance performed on the aircraft.
We must not be dragged down into a discussion about how bad the virus is and therefore how low prices must go. We must certainly allow for that honest discussion, but we must be stewards of our marketplace and keep the high value of safe efficient travel first and foremost.
It might be that the mix of use may change during this pandemic, possibly less international travel, and a higher component of domestic flying, but flying is flying and whatever keeps these airplanes in the air is positive and strengthens our marketplace.
So while the idea of being a market-maker might seem more difficult today, the idea of working together as an industry to build, support, and strengthen our marketplace should be enough to have us all open our eyes and abandon the idea that any of us have to fly blindly through this period.