Buying a Jet ? How to get Added Value

How to get the most from your company jet purchase longer term.

Andre Fodor  |  16th March 2016
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Andre Fodor
Andre Fodor

With a focused approach on global excellence and creativity, Andre Fodor has managed flight operations...

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Value Added

With the variety of aircraft available in the Business Aviation market, it’s safe to say there are almost always at least two options meeting a buyer’s needs, notes Andre Fodor, VP of Aviation, Johnsonville Sausage. How do you differentiate the added value?

Business Aviation’s OEMs have contributed to a fine array of jets for sale on today’s market. Competing jets can appear to offer similar operational capabilities, technology and pricing. The factor swaying the decision in favor of one aircraft over another often comes down to the ‘Added Value’.

Added Value is fairly subjective, so feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section at the end of this article. Personally speaking, the key factor boils down to who I’ll build a long-term aircraft ownership and management experience with. Let me illustrate…

During the recent procurement of a large jet for my flight department, the final decision was made after establishing the longevity of the sales and support team working for the chosen OEM. I did some research to check how regularly the OEM changed its field service representatives and sales staff. I needed certainty that I’d receive consistent support before jumping head-long into a multi-million dollar deal!

Professional aviation managers know that there’s a maturing process for every new aircraft. The first year of ownership may be challenging, and many potential problems might need to be overcome to maintain the high dispatch reliability required to meet a demanding flight schedule. Support, expertise and action are essential.

Committed and supportive relationships ensure you'll know who to call late in the evening for a part approved for immediate shipment, or for a technician to come before the OEM handles its internal red tape for managing warranty and post-sale support. There’s much that can happen on your behalf by taking the time to make lasting connections as a part of the aircraft purchase process.

Location, Location, Location

Value Added includes considering how far you are from a service center and a mobile service team. In the case of our aircraft, we’re 30 minutes flying from an authorized service center that can handle any maintenance in our airplane and cover all our warranties.

In the case of one of our aircraft, I approached a known service center and suggested that they were missing an opportunity to have a mobile service team in our geographic location.

I offered them space and support to set up a truck at our airport.

I helped them validate that there was a market to operate and extend their territory. In exchange, I gained a trained service team right in my hangar.

I created mutual value, and strengthened a long-term relationship and good will.

Upgrade Planning

Another example of Value Added was highlighted in a discussion I had with another prospective aircraft buyer. I discovered his expectation from his aircraft purchase was to stay connected to his three children (and future grand-children) across three states. His present aircraft of choice would only allow for eight passengers with limited baggage space. With a growing family anticipated this could quickly become operationally obsolete.

Resources were available to afford a larger aircraft, and between us we discussed a plan where he would start with a smaller airplane and then transition to a larger one as his family grew. With a pre-agreed, structured purchase and upgrade plan using the same OEM, he was able to make a Value Added choice that fits his plans both now and in the future.

To wrap this topic up, ‘Value Added’ comes with strengthening relationships.

When I do business, I understand that everyone should benefit; it can’t be only about me. I always try to provide value beyond just being a buyer. I ask how I can benefit my business partners through my good will and interest in their success.

After all, once the purchase is complete, we are vested in a long-term partnership that requires loyalty and trust.

Come to think of it, it's not unlike the formula to a successful marriage!

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