It is during the implementation of the aviation plan that the Board’s expectations will be realized or not. Thus staying engaged after a purchase is the best way an advisor can maintain relevance and importance to the client- as well as ensure that plans are executed correctly- states Jay Mesinger.
There are several moving parts that need to be navigated in order to assure a successful realization of the Board’s aviation plan. People and operational strategy are just two areas that require on-going participation with an advisor. Once an aircraft has been chosen- the Board will select the people who form the team and choose the right operational components.
Having a plan on paper is one thing; putting the plan into action is a very different story. About 25 percent of the clients we work with each year are first-time buyers. They have not yet developed a team of trusted partners to operate the aircraft and deliver on their plan. They need the ongoing support of the partnership relationship that is forged between the advisor and their client to help them achieve a successful outcome. Therefore- we are always at the client’s side well into the ownership period.
Management: Structuring the flight department is very complicated and requires the skilled ears of an advisor. Just having a budget developed early in the process is not enough to arm the client with the correct questions to ask as the program moves forward. Assisting the client at this juncture will help safeguard the success of their plan.
Staffing: Once an operational strategy is devised- the next critical piece is staffing. Many of the companies that we help to acquire aircraft are large and mature. They have great skills at testing applicants- hiring and mentoring them into their corporate cultures.
When flight department personnel are being considered- however- even the best Human Resource team may not understand all of the nuances around this highly specialized work staff. Having the trusted advisor at their side often facilitates a successful blending of two very diverse cultures.
I strongly suggest that a management company be hired to run the project- regardless of whether the aircraft is being operated under Part 135 (commercial Federal Aviation Regulations) or Part 91 (not-for-hire FARs).
Having a management partner- at least for the first year- is imperative to the success of the project. This allows the client to see all the moving parts in action- as well as take advantage of what could be huge efficiencies by sharing of personnel- including flight crews as well as maintenance- scheduling and accounting resources.
Several clients over the years have considered selling their aircraft due to problems on the people side of the equation. It is important not to judge the validity of the Board’s plan because of staffing difficulties. Selecting personnel poorly is not necessarily an indication that the overall plan lacks merit.
Having a trusted advisor at your side during this critical time can help a Board sort through these and other issues with an unbiased perspective. I often say- “We are not in the aircraft business; we are in the people business. People selling people aircraft- people delivering for people!”
An advisor is at the client’s side as they begin their operation. Over the first three or four months of operation- an advisor should be conversing regularly with all the participants - clients- flight crew and management company - helping to facilitate the meshing of cultures- process and expectations. This kind of collaboration can make possible the successful outcome to the project that everyone will appreciate.
On an annual basis- a good advisor should then communicate with the client regarding market conditions and aircraft valuation as the company considers insurance renewal and the correct value for the hull.
During the course of the first year- we examine with our clients their actual numbers compared to the projected budget numbers- and review their original mission and proposed flight hours against the actual. We work to identify variances and keep what was designed to be a dynamic plan from becoming static and stale.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article- everyone wins by this continued participation and involvement - the client as well as the advisor.
Do you have any questions or opinions on the above topic? Get it answered/published in World Aircraft Sales Magazine. Email feedback to Jack@avbuyer.com