Possibly the world’s most recognized advocate, if not expert on the value of Business Aviation,... Read More
Johnny Foster, CEO, OGARAJETS
Providing a unique glimpse of the Business Aviation market from the perspective of those who operate, sell and buy business aircraft or offer expert advice, this month AvBuyer features the insights of OGARAJETS’ Johnny Foster.
During its nearly four decades of brokering and consulting in the arena of Business Aviation, OGARAJETS has experienced most of what the industry has to offer. Carrier pilots during the Vietnam War, the company’s founders John Foster and Ed O’Gara continued in aviation after separating from the US Navy. John started his civilian career with Hangar One selling King Airs but soon joined Ed in the company that bears his name.
Within five years of forming their brokerage, Ed and John were inventorying King Airs as well as other models of business aircraft. The company they founded continues to this day as an inventorying broker as well as consultants in the field of Business Aviation.
In 1990, just prior to a brief US recession, the firm purchased three Gulfstream GIIs for resale, a decision that tested O’Gara’s resolve but opened the company’s perspectives to brokering large cabin business jets (about four years were required before the last GII was placed with a client).
Successfully navigating Business Aviation’s cyclical nature during the last quarter century, OGARAJETS has built its reputation as a family-run firm that has as its Mission “…[creating] personalized service experiences where integrity and knowledge foster confident business aircraft transactions”.
In addition to market challenges, OGARAJETS has negotiated the transition from founders to second-generation management that began when son Johnny Foster joined the firm in 1991 and his younger brother David came onboard four years later. In 2013 the company assumed its current name and branding.
Throughout the years working together as a family and leading a team of eight dedicated aviation professionals, CEO Johnny Foster has gained valuable perspectives on what is needed to be successful…
“We follow all the basic marketing and demographics data generated by our industry,” Johnny told AvBuyer. “We track overall supply, sales and particularly market absorption, which we believe is the true indicator of market health. While none of those specifics really impacts or directs our brokerage or consulting efforts, they influence our decisions whether to buy or sell inventory.
“We maintain a fully transparent relationship with our clients, whether they are on the buy or sell side of the transaction,” he added. “We have no hidden agenda. Our goal is to provide our clients and prospective clients absolutely unbiased information and guidance so that they can make the most informed decision possible, including delaying the transaction if that be the best option at the time.
“We urge clients to analyze the data and opportunities just as we do when we are purchasing aircraft for our inventory. Our business is sufficiently active to allow us latitude in timing our transactions. We are always prepared to move when conditions are advantageous to do so.”
What to Expect
Asked what he thought would be key issues facing the Business Aviation community and the brokerage industry in the near future, Johnny’s response seemed to reflect both his decades of business success as well as his position as the current Chairman of the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).
“At some point in the future,” he projected, “there will be a demand for basic regulation that affords buyers and sellers greater transparency regarding fees, broker obligations, overall qualifications of the parties involved, and assurance of ethical practices. While NARA has made tremendous strides in setting high standards, the brokerage industry as a whole has a way to go as it continues to mature.
“Despite the ready availability of information via web portals, much of our industry trades in the shadows of the so-called ‘off-market’. "
"By off-market, I mean a transaction where the individual involved has no control over the aircraft being considered and/or no contractual relationship with its owner, but might have a way to put something together and thus gain by his or her action.
“Such a concept is fraught with potential problems for the buyer and the seller,” he continued. “I am amazed at the willingness of buyers and sellers to dismiss conducting reasonable due diligence, apparently seduced by the lure of the off market. Common sense, I believe, dictates knowing all the players and how they relate to the aircraft being transacted.”
Regarding Business Aviation as a whole, Johnny seems confident that the demand for this unique form of transportation is strong and growing. “We are dedicated to our Mission, which we perform with absolute integrity, full transparency and adherence to our family values,” he concluded. “That commitment is our brand promise. We believe that trust is the true backbone of every successful business relationship.”