AINsight: Playing the Hand You're Dealt

 - August 2, 2018, 5:32 PM

A friend who is also an aircraft sales professional was lamenting about the current preowned business jet market and how different and difficult it is to buy aircraft based on the high demand and short supply. I quickly reminded him of the pre-downturn days of 2008. Those were heady days of even shorter supply with premiums paid for new and like-new aircraft of as much as 20 percent.

To jog your memory, 2003 to 2008 were the days of the explosion of the emerging markets. I am by no means advocating or even wishing for that type of recovery. Paying inflated premiums for aircraft is just plain false economics.

What I am now seeing so far, and hoping for a continuation of, is a healthy balance. This balance would not reward the aircraft with a premium over what is considered retail, nor would it set us up for a collective fall if things ebbed back to a buyer’s market.

Until just recently, the conversation with sellers was how fast can we sell your airplane and not leave anything on the table. For buyers, they had to be reminded that it was maybe not the most balanced time to buy. However, good airplanes could be found and, yes, they might have been on the market for a while, but using a sharp eye with good due diligence would yield a fine plane at a good price.

Today I have to reshape the conversation to account for the new dynamics. While the market has improved, sellers still have to be very careful and thoughtful with their pricing strategy and not just throw a dart at the wall to define the higher pricing they feel they should get. There can be too much of a good thing.

But if a seller has a great airplane that checks all or most of the boxes of the typical buyer, selling fast for more should be the expectation. To the buyer, the conversation centers around the idea that they will be paying more than before, but the residual loss rates have slowed dramatically. That should reward buyers with much more future value certainty than literally just months before.

As long as neither side takes the aggressive nature of this market to unrealistic levels, both sides can feel rewarded in the balance.

My aforementioned aircraft sales professional friend, like others in the industry, is working harder than ever since 2008 to find that needle in the haystack—the airplane that checks all or most of the boxes. It is true that supply of great aircraft has dwindled, but the truth is that one is just not working hard enough if they can’t find such an aircraft.

If aircraft brokering was easy, everybody would be doing it. And if an airplane was the last great one to sell, I would be out of business. Dedicated industry professionals know that it is never easy—sometimes it is harder to sell and sometimes it is harder to buy. One just has to play the hand that was dealt. Let’s enjoy the balance!

Jay Mesinger is the CEO and founder of Mesinger Jet Sales, an international aircraft brokerage firm with 44 years of experience in the industry. Mesinger Jet Sales has a purchasing strategy and pricing formula that is constantly being adapted to an ever-fluid marketplace providing their clients with the best market intelligence for acquisition expectations and sales pricing.