Yesterday we closed on two different aircraft. One was an acquisition for a first time buyer and it was one of two first time buyers we have been working with (the other project is still in process). We have a successful history of working with a lot of first time buyers and they are always fun projects. They are a lot of work and absolutely require a lot of attention. The end result, however, is worth it. And, in the end, our whole industry wins. During the acquisition a maintenance facility gets a prebuy, a lender gets a client, an attorney gets work, a broker earns a commission, an insurer writes a new policy, refurbishment shops potentially start new projects and that buyer hopefully becomes a long-term contributing member of our industry for years to come. It is truly exciting to see first time buyers start to come back into the market again!
There is a lot involved when working with a first time buyer including: setting the right expectations, helping them secure financing (if necessary), mission profiling, aircraft selection, buying insurance, tax and ownership strategy, hiring a crew, finding a hangar and navigating the aircraft acquisition process of which is full of unique intricacies. When we work with first time buyers we start with a thorough mission profiling process considering common trips and airports used, passenger loads and other operational requirements. Once we have narrowed in on a few aircraft types we work to make sure that they client has the correct budget expectations. Nothing makes the ownership experience sour faster than when a buyer has the wrong expectations about true ownership and operational costs. If the client is comfortable with the operational and budgetary details then we start a global aircraft search. With first time buyers we often help them source and interview crew and/or management companies and find hangar facilities. Additionally, we can and regularly do assist with sourcing financing and insurance and work with legal and tax strategists to build the right ownership and tax plans. These are all steps that are often in addition to the typical aircraft acquisition process which includes finding the best aircraft, conducting an initial visual inspection and records review, contracting the transaction, building a pre-purchase inspection program specific to the aircraft and its proximity to any major inspections and overseeing it on-site at the inspection facility, managing the paperwork required and preparing for and overseeing the closing process. In the end, the first time buyer is always shocked at how much work and how many different moving parts are involved to complete the transaction and start an operation.
I was on site for the closing at the maintenance facility where we did the prebuy and yesterday I met my clients at the hangar where they will keep the airplane. The new owners and their new pilot were beaming with excitement. Seeing them standing there smiling proudly knowing that we helped them through every step in the process and that we will be their trusted source for years to come in aviation made it all worthwhile. I was and am proud to have been a part of their process. Today, they are already on their second trip with the airplane. The owner told me yesterday after the first trip that having this aircraft has already made all the difference and he couldn’t be any happier with his decision to buy.