Tips When Working with an Aircraft Management Company

There are various things a business aircraft owner can do to ensure they get the maximum benefit from the services provided by an aircraft management company overseeing the operation and care of their aircraft, as Chris Kjelgaard reports...

Chris Kjelgaard  |  23rd May 2024
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    Chris Kjelgaard
    Chris Kjelgaard

    Chris Kjelgaard has been an aviation journalist for more than 40 years and has written on multiple topics...

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    How to pick an aircraft management company

    For many aircraft owners, an important role their chosen management companies fulfil is to make the arrangements needed for travel to be as hassle-free as possible.

    Those arrangements can – and frequently do – include making accommodation and ground vehicle transportation bookings for owners, and expediting issuance of visas and passports when needed.

    Additionally, when an owner’s aircraft experiences an aircraft on ground (AOG) emergency, the management company must swing into action immediately to get it flying again as soon as possible.

    If that can’t happen almost immediately, then the aircraft management company will use its extensive global network of contacts – many of them similarly sized aircraft management companies, or business aircraft charter or fractional operators, to hire a suitable alternative aircraft for their client’s use for as long as is necessary.

    But none of this can happen efficiently without the aircraft owner and the management company knowing a great deal about each other, communicating clearly and frequently, and – vitally – trusting each other operationally, financially, and personally.

    Hard Questions to Ask Aircraft Management Companies

    The process of generating the necessary level of trust between owner and aircraft management company must start before the owner has even chosen the company they wish to manage their aircraft.

    The owner must ask several basic but vital questions of any management companies they are considering, says Brian Counsil, President and CEO of Camarillo, California- based Sun Air Jets, which manages a fleet of approximately 20 business jets.

    As an owner, “One of the first primary questions you should ask [the management company] is, do you have direct experience in what I want you to do for me? Can you do what I’m asking you to do?”

    To be a good fit with the owner’s needs, the management company’s responses to these questions should satisfy the owner that it has experience of asset-managing, operating, and maintaining the aircraft type the owner has, or type(s) very similar in size, performance and range, according to Counsil.

    A prospective owner of a business aircraft need not necessarily have bought the aircraft before they start the process of selecting a management company. One good question any would-be owner can ask a management company is, ‘can you recommend a suitable aircraft type to me?’.

    “It would be very prudent for the client to ask the operator, what type of aircraft would suit the owner’s needs and for the operator to answer accordingly with the most suitable proposal,” says Edward Queffelec, CEO of Geneva-headquartered private aviation company SPARFELL.

    Before doing so, any responsible aircraft management company will find out from the owner where they intend to base and operate the aircraft, and what constraints they might have in doing so, says Queffelec.

    Counsil adds another extremely important question an aircraft owner should ask aircraft management companies during the selection process is, “How and why can I trust you?”, since a great degree of trust will be needed, and safety is of the highest priority.

    How to Build Trust with an Aircraft Management Company

    Not only does the owner need to trust the aircraft management company as regards its safety standards and processes, but they need to trust that the management company’s overall management of the aircraft is well-considered, responsible and is aimed entirely at preserving – even increasing – the owner’s interests in the aircraft and its asset value, Counsil says.

    To continue reading this article free of charge in the AvBuyer May digital edition, click the button below…

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