Originally published as a blog for AINsight for Aviation International News on 11/4/22
Well, it is over. The event is behind us, but the memories and feelings continue. I spoke to several attendees and asked them for their takeaways, as I was unable to attend this year. What was it like to attend this event in person? It was as if all the people I asked had spoken as a group before we talked as the answers were so similar.
I think that since the comments were all so positive then I have to say it was a winning event. Bravo to NBAA and the staff for being able to put together an event that not only brings the industry together but also speaks volumes to the pent-up desire to be together in person.
All those I spoke with started off talking about the customer experience. Starting with their own and then speaking about those customers whom they were able to see during the event. Being able to finally get the Zoom call out from between themselves and their customers was even more impactful than anyone imagined. The hugs and the handshakes brought back a closeness between those attending that had slipped away a bit. Josh, Adam, and Andy reported great interactions with our customers and industry colleagues as well.
Of course, beyond the personal affinity of being together again came the reality of our industry today. The discussion of supply and demand was a very important topic. It became clear that those of us directly involved with our industry in the capacity of buying and selling aircraft were exhausted by the lack of supply. It has actually changed the methodology of how we all do this business. The word tricky came up often in my questioning. It is tricky to source, then value, and finally transact an aircraft. So often aircraft come to market today for the sole reason of a seller feeling like there is an opportunistic profit to be made by selling their aircraft in today’s demand rich market.
The words chaos and disarray were used by several of the people I spoke with. The days of clear, transparent listing and smart marketing have been replaced by constant racing in the process. Racing to get it to market as a seller, racing to get an offer in as a buyer, and racing to get to an inspection to finally get to a closing. Dizzying was another word used to describe the process today. No one I spoke to felt that there was any magical answer to the supply problem. No one I spoke to felt that the demand was going away, even with the headwinds of interest rate increases, talk of recession and the geopolitical unrest around the world. Everyone I spoke to felt that 100% bonus depreciation, or not, the demand would continue, albeit with a desire from many buyers to enter a market with a normal level of residual loss year over year.
The most interesting side of the equation will be supply. An increase in supply will no doubt move the pendulum more towards the center and a more balanced market, away from a strictly sellers’ market. This would be a good thing and should not necessarily disrupt pricing with any significance, but likely to a more traditional residual loss rate. So, the opportunity to be together in person allowed for so many constructive conversations to occur among the industry professionals. Without the NBAA BACE forum to have these very personal conversations we as a group would still be bumping along skirting so many real issues.
The last takeaway from most was that events big or small are what we must strive to continue to support. Be it BACE like events or smaller regional shows, we as an industry must do our part to attend and talk up among our peers. We must keep the events relevant and important. We as an industry must remain positive and shout the value for all of us.
I look forward to seeing you all in person soon.