The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA, Stand SD08), formerly known as the National Aircraft Resale Association, is arriving at NBAA-BACE with a new brand, the largest combined number of aircraft on display, and an ambitious agenda to raise its visibility, improve standardization, and provide a means for accreditation.
Launched as NARA more than 25 years ago, the newly named IADA believed the timing was right to reshape its brand and step up to take a leadership role in the industry, said Brian Proctor, chairman of IADA and president and CEO of aircraft brokerage Mente Group.
The organization was laying out plans to roll out a new website and embark on a brand initiative, but realized through a survey that it had a “brand recognition problem.” The survey, of people involved in aircraft sales, showed only 36 percent of the respondents knew of the organization. “We felt we had some ground to make up,” he said. IADA fit because, he said, “Our marketplace has grown internationally and is heavily influenced by things going on around the world. The name of the organization should reflect the change in the market.”
But importantly, the change comes as IADA begins a significant push to transform what is sometimes a battered image of the brokerage field, he said. “For a long time I don’t know that the aircraft brokerage space had necessarily the best reputation,” Proctor said. “There are a lot of great people that are aircraft brokers. But there are practices of a small group that tarnished the reputation for everyone else.”
The association last spring unveiled a multi-pronged effort to raise the profile of the profession. “We want to try to elevate the profession as much as we can,” he said, and “effect change in the way this segment operates.”
IADA already has a strict 14-point Code of Standards and Certified Aircraft Brokers program for members but is undertaking new initiatives that involve standardization, accreditation, and data integrity.
A standards committee has drafted a standardized letter of intent for brokers. That LOI is undergoing review, and Proctor said the association hopes to unveil the draft during this year’s NBAA-BACE.
Along with a standardized LOI, the association has reached out to maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities on how to provide a more standardized approach to pre-purchase checks before sales are finalized.
On the accreditation front, the association is developing a dealer-level program for its member companies to undergo a formal accreditation. Details are still being finalized, but the program will be administered by a third party and may involve certain basic thresholds such as number of transactions and minimum level of insurance. IADA’s membership accounted for just 3 percent of total brokers yet was involved in roughly 60 percent of the international used market.
In all, Proctor said from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, 1,962 business jets were sold with a broker on record and those transactions involved fewer than 500 brokers. However, concerning to Proctor, nearly one-third of the sales involved brokers that closed fewer than four transactions per year. “I don’t know how someone who does one or two transactions a year can do that,” he said, noting people are putting trust in people with $20 million transactions.
Plans call for the accreditation program to kick off by the end of the year with it fully running by early spring 2019. Proctor anticipates the program will provide companies with a period of time to meet all new requirements, such as insurance minimums.
IADA plans to take that one step further though, with a certification program for individuals in the broker field. This would run similarly to NBAA’s Certified Aviation Manager program and involve training to provide a level of consistency, he said. IADA is retaining a third party to help develop and administer this program as well, with the hopes to have it in place by next year’s NBAA-BACE.
The intent is to provide a certain level of expertise. “In Texas, you have to have 1,500 hours of training to become a barber or beautician. But with aircraft brokers, you can have someone who is not trained at all. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
As far as data integrity, IADA is planning to create a database for members and their customers that will provide detailed information on the pre-owned market. The platform would enable members to share information and provide better information for its customer base. “Currently data is not transparent at all,” Proctor said.
The database is just one of several member benefits that the association is hoping to develop as it looks to transform. Proctor cited a health care program as another example. Many of the brokers are small entities, making affordable health care difficult to find. IADA has reached out to the insurance market to craft a more affordable option for members.
These efforts are designed to bring in new members, but also get existing members further involved in the association. It also is planning advocacy and increasing public outreach. “It’s been awesome to see the membership pull together and get behind the strategic plan of the board and really embrace the initiatives. It’s been awesome to see people step up and try to really make our segment better.”
As it extends its reach, IADA is expanding its presence at NBAA-BACE, with members combining for the largest exhibit on static display. IADA will encompass 160,000 sq ft of static space with more than 20 preowned jets available through 11 of its certified aircraft dealers.
"We expect a wide range of aircraft, including large-cabin, midsize, and smaller business jets," added Sabrina Prewitt, senior v-p of Jack Prewitt and Associates, an IADA member, adding it will provide customers the opportunity to see a variety of aircraft and meet with certified dealer professionals.