Originally published as a blog for AINsight for Aviation International News on 9/4/20
Well, it is hard to believe we are turning the calendar to September. We have now been working in the shadow of COVID since March. Moving through Winter, Summer, and now into the Fall at the end of this month. In reporting on our industry during this period so many questions have been asked with only a few answered. Travel restrictions have plagued the world, greatly affecting the mobility of businesses and vacation travel. One theme has been consistent during this period. If we can travel again, when we can travel again, how will we travel? This conversation has had a huge impact on our methodology in doing business. Zoom became the interaction du jour. I have had so many people who I speak with say they spend hours each day on zoom calls and by day’s end they feel empty not energized. We as human beings crave the actual interaction with people.
So many other people I speak with have said, “I will never get on a commercial airplane again until there is a vaccine that we know everyone has taken and that will protect us.” The comments are real and heartfelt. The fear of contracting the virus has made us all rethink what used to be normal methods of travel and life itself.
The question so many of us in our industry have asked is how many of those people calling and talking about never traveling commercial again will actually translate into people acting on those feelings and fears, rather than just speaking in hyperbole, and buying a plane? It is time to report on these feelings and fears.
In the last two weeks at our company, we are seeing more buyers, and to better define the buyers, first time buyers coming to us and signing up to go out and buy! So, the talk and conversations are turning into real action. This surge in activity is across the board with respect to model. Smaller size all the way to large, long range planes are being scooped up in this wave.
Many of my sellers have read articles in the last few months that have predicted this surge of activity. Each one forwarding me the article with a, “Hold on look what’s coming note attached.” I do want to caution those sellers of a reality that is accompanying this buying activity. Buyers are not blind to the market conditions. They are not waving away good buying sense. There is enough inventory to not cause premiums to be discussed or paid.
The buyers are aware of the equipment they are buying and understand the nature of the depreciation that is normally found in equipment as well as the overall effect of this pandemic on pricing. No idea how prices will continue, however, I am sure they will not go up. As the feelings and fears translate into activity and transactions do not miss an opportunity to sell if confronted with a real offer from a real qualified buyer. This translation may not be a long-term phenomenon. Grab it while you can!