Buying a Jet? When is the Right Time to Buy?

The importance of timing and planning when buying a business jet

Jet Tolbert  |  19th September 2016
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Jet Tolbert
Jet Tolbert

Jet Tolbert is president of Florida-based American Aircraft Sales where he oversees all aspects of aircraft...

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Buying a Jet - Timing

There are many factors that impact the decision to buy a business jet, notes Jet Tolbert. Getting the timing and planning of your purchase right are crucial as you wait for the right airplane – but how can you do this…?

As we move into Fall and children go back to school, executives also return to work from their summer vacations. Usually used aircraft market activity starts to pick up around this time of year as companies and entrepreneurs begin to have a clearer picture of the current year’s financial situation and seek to capitalize on the benefits of acquiring their next aircraft before year’s end.

This year however, we have noted a very active Summer, and in some markets the really good deals have started to evaporate. That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic – but it would be a wise time to focus on finding the right aircraft in a manageable timeframe…

Playing the Waiting Game

Once your company is sailing forwards with all hands on deck following the summer lull, you're looking to make some real progress towards acquiring that new aircraft. Alas! As you refocus on the market, you find that the opportunity you were considering before the summer laze has vanished! What now?

You know in the back of your mind that values are not going up, and you are probably right - but you are left wondering why the remaining sellers in the market are reluctant to make a sale at a 'correct' market price…

Sometimes it just doesn’t matter what the sellers’ reasons are, though, eventually they will need to negotiate - or face the prospect of having their aircraft on the market in perpetuity.

This is an opportunity for the buyer to help the seller face market reality by making a real offer. Sales are happening and the current trend over time has been a continual lowering in sales prices.

If the deal you want is not there, then it’s worth taking the time to contact an established, well-connected broker who will help you do your research, make the right decisions, and pounce from the tall grass when the best target is identified. Retaining a qualified representative to put in the necessary time and thought will pay dividends!

Pulling the Trigger

Sometimes though, waiting is just is not an option. Perhaps your previous aircraft or fractional share has been sold and you have upcoming business needs that require on-demand availability.

One option would be to buy block charter – although this can be expensive; especially if you have a demanding and regularly recurring flight schedule. In some cases it just makes sense to move quickly, but sensibly.

It is true that in some markets many choice aircraft have recently sold, diminishing opportunities to acquire the premier aircraft.

If you need to move quickly you may have to strategically adjust your aircraft requirements in order to open more options, perhaps even evaluating other models.

Knowing exactly what to broaden and setting new parameters can be difficult, and this is where many buyers find themselves paying a little bit more than they should for an aircraft. Seasoned counsel will again pay dividends, both in time and money.

In Summary…

The market has been changing as it always does. But there’s no need to compromise on the mandate to buy an aircraft without major inspections due, or to avoid paying what could be considered a high premium in today’s market. When you are buying an aircraft it’s a good idea to partner with an established aircraft acquisitions firm.

Now more than ever, when buying a jet, partnering with a company that has strong relationships and deep knowledge within the markets you scour will deliver you the next best deal to come along – whether the airplane is on or off market....

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