- 12 Oct 2020
- René Armas Maes
A focus on quality has helped Global Jet ride out the storm presented by coronavirus, the company tells Rebecca Applegarth.Back to Articles
This year began with sense of optimism at Global Jet, based on the momentum of 2019 – a year in which the company successfully closed several milestone business aircraft transactions...
As we all know, however, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic buyer interest receded and was unsurprisingly minimal for a time.
“There followed a period in which opportunists searched the market for distressed sellers, and now Global Jet is seeing serious buyers with a genuine need for business aircraft (both from a safety and logistical perspective) re-enter the marketplace,” Hardy Sohanpal, head of aircraft sales, says.
From a seller’s perspective, the company notes that the situation created by COVID-19 is definitely not a repeat of the 1980s financial crisis, with sellers today more willing to wait for buyers to make a fair offer.
The company also says that many aircraft owners feel prices and demand will become firmer, in line with the reduction in commercial airline capacity. However, it cautions that this is also dependent on the general macro-economic outlook.
“The current market works well for Global Jet since the ability to successfully work with buyers and sellers requires a high level of skilled collaboration,” notes Sohanpal.
“Being a ‘niche’ service provider for the past 20 years means there are no pressures to meet targets or force transactions. This is a time for both sellers and buyers to work together, to be transparent so that solutions can be developed mutually.”
According to Global Jet, it does not compete on price, with quality being its main priority. “The company caters to only the most discerning of clientele, which requires continuous innovation,” Abner Tato, Vice President, Marketing & Inflight Quality elaborates, adding this is why Global Jet was one of the first companies in the world to apply 3D virtual tour technology in aircraft sales.
“We are also one of the few curating interior cabins for VIP visits, professionally photographing aircraft, and with the internal resources to provide in-house technical support.
“Our proprietary databases, which we’ve carefully nurtured over the past two decades, provide opportunities for sellers to discreetly offer their aircraft for sale off-market,” Sohanpal adds. “We expect these types of sales to grow as sellers choose to sell to meet the demands of public perception during any ensuing economic downturn.”
Global Jet’s culture of building long-term trust and relationships has seen the number of aircraft sales and acquisitions grow year-on-year, the company says.
As well as having close ties with the end-user (either through aircraft sales and acquisitions, aircraft management, or charter activity), Global Jet has developed strategic links with some of the leading sales brokers and/or advisors across the world.
“These companies expect and appreciate a certain level of quality from an aircraft under the management of Global Jet,” Edouard Lehembre, Vice President Aircraft Management says. “Our extensive experience and conversion rates further demonstrate the level of effort required to close a transaction, typically involving a high level of technical, legal and commercial expertise.”
Healthy Aircraft Charter Activity
As alluded to above, however, there is more to Global Jet’s portfolio than aircraft sales, and charter is a significant service offering. The company has been busy adding to, and refurbishing, its fleet that currently has bases in Europe and China.
In the company’s Geneva office, a new Dassault Falcon 8X joined the charter fleet earlier in 2020, while a Falcon 2000LX underwent a complete refurbishment. And in the Paris office (located at Le Bourget), “we’ve added three aircraft so far this year, including a new Bombardier Challenger 350, a Dassault Falcon 7X and a Dassault Falcon 2000S, bringing the Paris-based fleet to seven jets,” Stéphane Cassifour, France & Benelux Director, explains.
The new Paris-based Challenger 350 replaces a Cessna Citation CJ4 that the company had under management and then sold for the owner, while the Falcon 7X joins from another management company. Meanwhile, joining the Madrid-based charter fleet early in 2020 were a completely refurbished Gulfstream G200 and a Cessna Citation Latitude.
“These markets are characterized by large, professional corporations and a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, and both are creating solid demand for our one-stop-shop offering, from charter, to management, as well as a brokering.”
- Bjorn Naberhuis, Vice President for Business Development.
According to Michael Han, who oversees Global Jet’s China office, “The charter business was up 20% in 2019 and surged through early 2020 as HNWIs and companies increasingly chartered aircraft due to the pandemic. “Business jet travel is already picking up again, and private jets are seen not only as a better and quicker way to fly, but also as a safer one.”
Rounding out the Charter wing of the company is an office in Monaco which manages a fleet of aircraft for local owners. The company recently developed a new landing page where clients can request quotes online (https://booking.globaljetconcept.com/).
Added Value in Aircraft Management
As of the first half of 2020, there were more than 70 aircraft under Global Jet management, and another 10 aircraft in the pipeline (including an Airbus A330, Gulfstream G650ER, Dassault Falcon 8X and 2000LX, and a brand-new Cessna Citation Latitude.)
“With over 35 different aircraft types, we face complexities in our everyday management and operations that others may not be equipped to handle,” Lehembre says. “We have an asset management approach to preserve the value of the aircraft entrusted to us.”
Added value also comes to owners of managed aircraft in the form of volume discounts – from fuel to maintenance, from handling to catering. “These are automatically passed on to our clients. With a fleet as large and diverse as ours, those cost savings are substantial,” Lehembre adds.
Meanwhile, Global Jet’s reporting app for management clients provides a 24/7 ‘x-ray view’ of any costs and operations related to their asset, including all supplier invoices.
Design & Completion
From the outset, bespoke design and completion has been part of Global Jet’s core activities. “In the twenty years since our first Boeing BBJ VIP we’ve been entrusted with over 40 projects,” Nicolas Jaccard, Airbus & Boeing Technical Sales Consultant explains. These have included Airbus A340s, A320s, A319s, A318s, Boeing 767s and BBJ2s, and more.
The completions also extended beyond the company’s managed fleet, too. “Our success in this area comes from working with the best designers and completion centers in the world, and from an ability to orchestrate very complex projects – a skill honed over two decades that can only be acquired through relationships built on trust,” Jaccard says.
Currently, there are two Boeing 787s undergoing completion with Global Jet in 2020 (both with VVIP interiors), and an Airbus A320, also with a VVIP cabin.
20 Years of Successful Operations
As Global Jet celebrates 20 years of successful operation, it can look back proudly on the operation that began with only a handful of employees and one aircraft, and reflect on how far it has come.
Today, Global Jet is one of the largest privately-owned operators in the world with over 70 managed/operated aircraft, 11 international offices, and more than 700 employees. “The company retains the spirit of supreme service, luxury, independence, good reputation and constant innovation,” De Kalbermatten summarizes.
“Global Jet is known for providing services to a specific market segment – a niche of clients who share our vision, tradition and philosophy,” she concludes.
More information from www.globaljetconcept.com