AINsight: Reactive Pricing

 - April 2, 2020, 11:49 PM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

It seems we have found ourselves today as an industry in a position that can only be considered reactive with respect to pricing of preowned business aircraft. We must be very careful not to consider it a new norm for valuations of aircraft, but rather a symptom of the current Covid-19 crisis.

I am referring to the type of offers being bandied around and the unfortunate misinformation being discussed regarding pricing of aircraft. We will likely not see a significant rise in value after this crisis, so doing our best to preserve the market at this time is crucial to the future value of aircraft.

It would not be productive to regurgitate residual loss rates that have followed global and national tragedies over the past decades except to say that, unlike 2008, we are not starting from a place of significant premiums on airplanes, which will be helpful overall.

After 46 years in this industry, I have seen and lived through many down markets. Today, as we as a country and the world at large grapple with the reality of Covid-19, we must first and foremost work together to get to the other side of this.

I have had a fair share of brokers calling me to say, “I hear you will take X for the plane you have for sale.” In many or most cases the numbers they are saying are absolutely not correct. They are almost giddy when reciting these false low numbers.

When I talk to my clients, both buyers and sellers, I instruct them to not react to the pandemic as a guide to the value of aircraft. As is always the case in a rapidly changing environment, we must let the reality of the situation evolve before we start moving in any direction with respect to pricing of aircraft.

When I speak of reactive pricing I mean offers or conversation that are just opportunistic darts at the wall. Some as low as 25 or 50 cents on the dollar for what the price would have been just a few weeks ago. These are not responsible conversations and only further strain what is a very difficult time for us all.

Only when we as a country and world can best understand the depth and breadth of this pandemic can we begin to then map out what might be the remaining short- and long-term demand. Then we can really begin to discuss the value of our aircraft. This value proposition will be based on the same metrics that we have always used; they will not be based on what one person thinks they can cheaply pay and take advantage of a need to liquidate an airplane quickly.

Those of us who have been serving our clients and owners for years know that good and responsible guidance is needed most today. Those who believe they have found a panacea in this unfortunate time we are in will hopefully have short-lived careers. They will find that strong leadership and smart compassionate guidance are what will stand the test of time as we as an industry come out of this on the other side.

Might our industry look different or at the very least a bit streamlined? Perhaps. Might the value of the asset take a short-term hit with respect to value? Maybe. There are too many variables today to begin to provide what will be a new demand for aircraft as we come out of this. But we will come out and clarity will be critical.

I implore everyone involved in our precious industry to use your ability today to add strength and honesty to all of those who are asking the questions and seeking help with respect to the value of their asset. I wish you all good health and stay safe.

Jay Mesinger is the CEO and Founder of Mesinger Jet Sales, an international aircraft brokerage firm. With 46 years of successfully buying and selling aircraft, Mesinger Jet Sales has a global reputation for personalized, transparent service.