As international businesses grow, airspace regulations loosen, and diplomats and celebrities take a bigger world stage, demand for private aviation around the globe builds. And while many people see the need to charter, lease or purchase aircraft, the selection of an inappropriate aircraft can become a safety and financial nightmare. In my line of business, I hear all sorts of stories of aircraft owners getting burned by undisclosed damage history, inaccurate market valuations and unscrupulous advice. Since I’m a huge advocate of using business aircraft as a competitive advantage, these tales turn my stomach.
Truthfully, there are few standards to protect the consumers of these large ticket assets. Therefore, I believe it is very important for buyers to obtain sound counsel about the type of aircraft they purchase, the conditions under which it is bought, and how much it is truly worth—in today’s market and when they want to resell it. Obtaining this kind of counsel before purchasing an aircraft helps eliminate costly mistakes and keeps the market from becoming inflated with a plethora of brokers vying for the same buyer’s business. When a broker makes inquiries on behalf of a buyer, the buyer is insulated from sharks smelling blood in the water.
Because of his or her relationships with other professionals in the industry, a broker can often find out information about price expectations, the seller’s level of motivation, and any skeletons in the pedigree of an aircraft. A good broker or consultant also can help with negotiations, pre-purchase inspections, import or export complications, and referrals for legal or tax matters, management, training or financing. In short, the good ones usually pay for themselves in spades. A final word to the wise: aviation consultants and aircraft brokers are not required to have any formal training or licensing and are not held to any code of ethics. A reputable broker or consultant will provide references and be well respected among his or her competitors. Double check.
René Banglesdorf is the CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation.