loading Loading please wait....

If you are a registered, please log in. If not, please click here to register.


It’s a basic truism in business aviation circles that converts usually come to wonder how they survived air travel the old-fashioned way – by what in my world pass as human-mailing tubes. Once a concern makes the transition to travelling by their own private aircraft- they seldom – if ever – go back.

Dave Higdon   |   1st August 2003
Back to articles
Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
Read More


More than 40 years of aircraft sales with great service at Jetcraft Corporation make for repeat clients aplenty.

It’s a basic truism in business aviation circles that converts usually come to wonder how they survived air travel the old-fashioned way – by what in my world pass as 'human-mailing tubes.' Once a concern makes the transition to travelling by their own private aircraft- they seldom – if ever – go back. Which leads us to a second common observation of new converts… once they make the change- they typically find more ways to embrace the utility of a business airplane and- consequently develop ‘the need for more.’

It may be more speed- more flexibility- more space- even more of all the above. Some even find they need more lift – as in an additional aircraft.

Regardless- whether the firm needs something different or something more- Durham- North Carolina-based Jetcraft Corporation prides itself on helping its clients make the change without missing a beat: As the company’s slogan says in a line right out of the air-carrier world- 'No missed connections when changing planes.'

It’s been that way since the company first opened for business in 1962 and remains that way on this- the company’s 41st anniversary year.

For a company wedded to the efficiency and utility of travel by business aircraft- the prospect of being without can be even more unsettling than that initial purchase. The prospect of doing without for any length of time becomes- to keep it simple- unacceptable. The folks at Jetcraft understand that dilemma and work to keep their clients in lift when changing planes.

Lest anyone gets the idea that Jetcraft’s convenience is biased toward clients east of the Mississippi- the company put that perception to rest earlier this year with the opening of a satellite operation in Redding- California- with long-time business-jet mover Bud Henderson in charge.

But regardless of which side of the country a client deals- Jetcraft chairman Bucky Oliver and president John Ames have a staff with hundreds of years of combined experience and- as comes with experience- people who understand how to keep customers returning – by making sure they lose no connections between business aircraft transactions.

Staffed to satisfy:
From all reports- the Jetcraft formula must be working. According to Ames- Jetcraft is experiencing sales growth in recent months that should lead to the company enjoying a growth year.

'In the last 60 days we’ve seen more activity than we’ve seen in the past year-' Ames told World Aircraft Sales. 'Now we’re waiting to see whether it’s a blip on the screen or whether we’ve actually hit bottom.'

And if the market has hit bottom? 'Well- I’ll go out on a limb and say I think we’ll probably see an increase of 15 percent in unit volume and- hopefully- an equal increase in profitability over last year-' Ames said. 'We’re nonetheless making up some lost ground- and that’s a good thing.'

How does Jetcraft post growth in tough times?
Similar to successful professional teams in other fields- Jetcraft’s executives - as already touched upon - equipped the company with staff who possess the very best in knowledge- skills and tools. Ames and Oliver understandably boast of how that staff- in turn- takes great care to analyze clients’ needs- to understand their specific travel demands- as well as take into account their individual desires and tastes.

Not until the completion of such in-depth assessment of its clients does the acquisitions staff start its search for the aircraft that best satisfies the client’s specific situation. That search typically encompasses every aircraft that could possibly work- with no limits on location. Thanks to Jetcraft’s multilingual sales staff- led by Victoria Barrow- international borders present no obstacles to the company’s successful satisfaction of their mandate.

Likewise- these same team members also understand how to employ the detailed market data they possess to identify the best value for the client- regardless of how uncommon the solution might be.

However- once Jetcraft’s researchers locate the best available aircraft for the client’s mission- the real task starts.

The client perspective:
Serving as their clients’ personal representative- the Jetcraft team taps the full strength of their market knowledge and technical expertise to help negotiate a price that represents the best value available.

Once a deal is struck and a fair price set- Jetcraft’s experts go to work to execute the complete transaction. That means supervising every step- from the pre-purchase inspection to aircraft modernization- from flight tests to title searches and lien releases.

It’s an article of trust for an aircraft owner to vest in a company the authority to handle such complex- expensive transactions – something the Jetcraft team understands and takes to heart- even after the deal is closed. The Jetcraft team spends considerable time and energy keeping close contact with clients on both sides of the transaction coin.

Explained Ames- 'We’ve been very aggressive in meeting face-to-face with customers – both in marketing and outreach – and in showing airplanes to prospects.'

Investing in the effort required to maintain contact costs time and money – but it pays in the confidence of the clients and the results for the company- Ames noted. 'We work to put airplanes in front of people because- after all- that’s why we have airplanes-' Ames noted. 'We put a lot of effort into staying in touch with clients- particularly face-to-face.
'Sometimes we think people in the business forget that- what with the Internet- websites- fax machines and phones available to cut time and expense-' he explained.

Only through these types of contacts- Ames maintains- can client and broker/dealer develop the kind of relationship that works to the advantage of both. 'It’s been working for us right now because most of our successes this year have been to individuals in control of their finances-' Ames noted. 'But it’s no less important for the corporate clients and as that segment of the market returns we will be in a position to work with the corporate clients we’ve cultivated.'

Investing in clients:
Of course- in an ideal world- a business aircraft owner ready to upgrade finds a buyer for the existing bird before taking on the obligation of the replacement. But not every deal unfolds under ideal conditions – and sometimes the seller of the incoming jet can’t or won’t wait on the buyer to sell the old bird.

This can present the operator with a seemingly insurmountable dilemma: Can’t afford to put the new jet on the books until divesting the old one… and can’t be sure the new one will still be available when that time arrives.

Should the client have a business aircraft it needs to divest to clear the way for a replacement- Jetcraft stands ready to serve. Jetcraft offers a solution not available from every broker or dealer: The option of taking in the client’s out-bound bird.

Jetcraft is one of the few business aircraft traders in the world vested with the financial resources and market and technical knowledge to routinely take a principal position in premier late-model corporate jets. This opens up the potential for a client to proceed with an acquisition even without finding a new owner for the old bird.

This option means that Jetcraft is exercising its faith – in the jet- in the market and in its own abilities – in acquiring an aircraft that will serve as an excellent value for a future client- one not yet identified. And it’s something Jetcraft does on jets valued at high as $10-$20 million.

'It helps to have an inventory on hand- airplanes you know can work-' Ames explained. 'We periodically rotate planes out to our California location simply to give folks out there an easy opportunity to see what we have - It’s been working.'

Statement of belief:
As we said- when Jetcraft’s staff recommends adding a pre-owned business-turbine aircraft to the in-house inventory- that recommendation is based on a belief in the value and capabilities of the aircraft – as well as in the company’s ability to read the market.

When the company believes in a jet strongly enough to buy it- the company essentially endorses the bird as a value for the right customer- and with its financial strength and in-house capabilities- buyers can be assured that aircraft in Jetcraft’s inventory will meet or exceed the standards for that model. Jetcraft’s expertise is broad enough to give prospective clients options – options that can only help assure their needs are met.

Long known for its expertise in Cessna Citations- Jetcraft expanded its reach and depth to encompass late-model Dassault Falcons- Bombardier Challengers and Learjets- as well as later-model Gulfstreams and Hawkers.

A glimpse at the Current Offerings page on Jetcraft’s website (see below) reinforces the company’s statements. Available as of this writing were an Astra SPX- three Falcons- a later-model Hawker 800XP- as well as three different Citations. Talk about diverse; the company even posted a Canadair Tebuan 'Tutor' two-place jet trainer of the same type flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds exhibition team and a Cessna Conquest I propjet.

Whether buying- selling or both- Jetcraft’s team possesses the skill and expertise operators need to make the transaction as seamless and painless as possible.

Saving time- money and hassle:
With its combined abilities to discern need- match those needs to an aircraft- find examples available and help clients divest themselves of the departing jet- Jetcraft essentially offers the same benefits obtained in owning a business jet to begin with.

Jetcraft saves clients time- money and energy by relieving the operator of the time-consuming- energy-draining- technically challenging chores at both ends of an upgrade. While some of that business literally walks in the door- some of it takes hard work to land – and equally solid work to satisfy. So Jetcraft invests in getting out the message of its philosophies – and it’s inventory.

'We do a lot of advertising and marketing-' Ames said. 'Like I said- we spend a lot maintaining face-to-face contact with clients and prospects. Aside from employee cost- marketing is our largest single expense.'

'The other element in our success is we’ve been in business 40 years-' Ames noted. 'We have a lot of past customers who were happy with us- who came back again and still do – and we get a lot of referrals from those past customers.'

From customer feedback and repeat business it’s clear that Jetcraft delivers on its promises to make business jet upgrading as easy and low-maintenance as possible.

Jetcraft’s team develops a strategy organized around the client’s needs and built on a foundation of knowledge – knowledge of recent transactions- of market liquidity and of all the technical and legal requirements that accompany both domestic and international dealings.

The company’s focused promotional plans help move clients airplanes to new operators- while the company’s research staff tracks availability of the best airplanes to meet the client’s latest needs.

By carefully assessing the needs of each prospective client- Jetcraft’s staff ensures that clients waste no time or attention on false starts or dead ends. By qualifying prospects on both sides of a deal- buyers and sellers alike can be assured that what the company brings them represents an honest prospect. If the goal is to replace one aircraft with another- Jetcraft’s able team works not only to identify the best purchase prospects- but also to find potential buyers for the jet being replaced.

Only with this type of leverage can a broker or dealer assure its clients the highest possible potential for a satisfactory experience – which allows Jetcraft to negotiate the most favorable deals- whether an acquisition- a sale or a trade. It’s this combination of skills- abilities and expertise that underpin the philosophy of Oliver and Ames- a philosophy that promises the client no missed connections when changing planes.

Read more about: Jetcraft

Related Articles

linkedin Print

Other Articles