Data Is Not Intelligence
There is a lot of data in our industry. There are countless websites that list aircraft for sale, there are resources for operating cost information and there is the rumor mill about what aircraft sold for among many other data points. Unfortunately, none of that data on its own translates into intelligence or provides buyers and sellers what they really need to know to make smart informed decisions. This is another place where aviation professionals who are actively in the industry daily add considerable value. Turning data into intelligence is the only way to make smart informed decisions to complete a successful sale or acquisition and correctly protect your investment.
For example, when you look at today’s Challenger 604 market there are over 50 aircraft for sale and many of them with asking prices under $7,000,000. Many buyers will tell you that they have heard that their friend bought one in the $6Ms or better and they want the same deal. While those individual data points are accurate, they don’t tell the full story. When you actually look at each of the 50+ aircraft for sale, you will see that very few might make a specific buyer’s short list. Either the total time is higher than that buyer wants, or they have damage history or they have pedigree that makes them less desirable than others that are available. Once the short list is created based on an intelligent review of the available options, the buyer’s representative can use their industry relationships to gather real market intelligence to apply to their discussions to understand what each individual aircraft should really be worth and what they should offer on each. The same applies to aircraft sellers. Without really understanding the details of the competitive aircraft in their make and model category and the competitive categories, they will never be able to build an intelligent pricing strategy that most effectively and quickly sells their aircraft ahead of the competitive aircraft.
When looking at operating cost information, there are generic high level analysis on different makes and models in the industry which can provide a good overview, but building specific budgets takes a lot of intelligent thought to understand the different intricacies of any specific aircraft and the operator’s requirements. Unless someone takes the time to understand the maintenance history and future maintenance projections for a specific aircraft and how and where the owner will use it and intelligently think through those details, no amount of raw data will ever provide the right holistic understanding of the real costs of ownership.
There are those in our industry who wish that the amount of available data were more limited. I consider the data a positive addition to our industry and it helps provide general high level knowledge to buyers, sellers and operators. However, without smart people on your aviation team to help interpret that data and turn it into intelligence to apply to your sale, acquisition or operation, the data will not add any value and it will be distracting and misleading. Choose your aviation team members wisely and go forward with intelligence that can lead to success.