Inventory levels of preowned business aircraft have diminished and great airplanes are harder to find. The days of going to the market to find an airplane and being successful in the search in a matter of days, based on a high level of supply against demand, are at least for the moment all but gone. Transactional activity is way up. I keep saying it is not yet a pure seller’s market, but for sure it is no longer a buyer’s market. It is a market with a high degree of balance.
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, balance in a market is a much safer place to be. No free falls in values and no thought that you have to pay premiums for a great airplane. It is with this distinction that we at Mesinger Jet Sales are now being sensibly bullish on the market. This means we are more willing to put an airplane on the market that we know checks all or most of the boxes from buyers at a higher price than we might have been willing to do just a few short months ago.
The best way to quantify this bullishness would be to use the two reporting books as the best example. These books, Vref and Aircraft Bluebook, have two numbers—wholesale and retail—that they use to report the quarterly value of each aircraft. For the past 10 years, the market has really relied on the wholesale side of the reporting.
Today, for the exceptional aircraft with no damage, great pedigree, NextGen compliance, and good cosmetics, the market is shifting its perspective and aircraft that meet these criteria are trading much more closely to the retail numbers. Supply and demand are shifting. This shift is not creating an environment that is pushing aircraft, even great ones, into a place where prices are going up past the retail side of the reporting books, but it is moving to a place where real distinctions are occurring to allow for the recognition and actual remuneration for the boxes checked that separates the great airplanes from mediocre ones.
It is very important as a seller to not think that unrealistic asking prices will be acceptable. If we were asked to represent your aircraft for sale and after we worked very diligently to capture what we believe is the right price that will attract a buyer, sell quickly, and not leave anything on the table for our seller, we would hope that the seller would put real reliance on that effort and intel.
I call this next idea the dart on the wall approach. If, after all of this work we do, the prospective seller just throws a dart at the wall and says, “Yes, I see what you mean, but ask for 'x,'” and and the “x” is a ridiculous opportunistic amount, that will slow down a sale and ultimately have the price reduced to the real market level. Thus, we would respectfully reject the opportunity to represent the aircraft for sale. Remember we are using sensible bullishness, not opportunistic bullishness. Don't just hire an aircraft sales professional (and I highly recommend you do when selling or buying aircraft), but trust them and allow for sensible bullishness.
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.