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INTRODUCTING YOUR NEW JET

In the March issue of World Aircraft Sales Magazine, I looked at the process of buying and collecting a new business jet, up to the point when you bring the aircraft home. So what happens next…? The aircraft is standing by on the ramp, ready to fly in a charter operation, and you can sit back and watch all the eager customers form a queue, right?

AvBuyer   |   31st January 2014
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In the March issue of World Aircraft Sales Magazine, I looked at the process of buying and collecting a new business jet, up to the point when you bring the aircraft home. So what happens next…? The aircraft is standing by on the ramp, ready to fly in a charter operation, and you can sit back and watch all the eager customers form a queue, right?

Not a chance. You need to make the business happen.

Brokers & Press Communications
At LEA, brokers are effectively the marketing arm of our business, so naturally we need to ensure they have all the information they need about the new aircraft to promote our services accurately. That information goes far beyond basic pricing details. In order to do their jobs as productively as possible, brokers need to understand thoroughly the capabilities, and indeed the limitations, of the aircraft. Availability details need to be clear too, particularly if the aircraft is being managed on behalf of a third-party owner. When is the owner using the jet and when is the aircraft available for charter?

As a key part of the liaison process, we want brokers to physically see and touch the aircraft, internally and externally. We will therefore invite them to acquaint themselves fully with the new jet on arrival on the ramp, which might involve one-on-one meetings, or perhaps a group ‘open day’.

Now is also the time to put public relations teams into top gear. Customers need to be made aware of the opportunities opened up by the arrival of the new aircraft. Ensure journalists have all the input they need, formulating the information you distribute according to the market being addressed. Remember that aviation industry journalists might, for example, be interested in technical jet specifications, whereas regional newspapers may prefer to know how the aircraft will help local businesses.

If introducing a new type of aircraft into the market, a launch event can be an effective means of educating many industry audiences at once, from brokers to the media. We have held such events with great success in the past for the Mustang and the Cessna Citation Excel. Not that one day’s work will be sufficient: from press releases to carefully selected direct client marketing, you should be looking to heavily promote your aircraft type to achieve market awareness for at least 18 months.

Team Communications
In your eagerness to communicate with brokers, potential customers and the media, don’t forget to communicate with your own team too. Email all your staff with the key operational, pricing and availability information that you are also sharing with brokers.

The personal service that is so vital to executive aviation means that your company representatives that handle customer enquiries and bookings should be well-informed and able to ‘challenge the brief’. Does this new aircraft, for example, actually meet the customer’s requirements better than the aircraft the customer is requesting?

Cockpit and Cabin
The arrival of the aircraft at home base will, in the case of a new type, allow you to put training into practice. Pilot and maintenance training should have been organised and carried out in advance to coincide with the arrival of the aircraft. As well as the appropriate simulator courses, your chosen ‘ferry pilots’ will also have gathered valuable hands-on experience flying the jet back to home base from Kansas or Brazil.

And with the aircraft safely home, introduce the interior accessories. In many ways, it is the attention to detail, from toiletries and iPads to the best linens, that can set your operation apart from your competitors and make an impression in the mind of a new, but soon-to-be-loyal, customer.

Don’t relent on those interior checks, either. Regular refurbishment of the cabin interior and commercial accessories will help ensure that even long-serving aircraft continue to offer the latest in passenger luxury. Sharp and clean interiors are essential, not optional.

Interior diversity is a selling point too. At LEA, for example, not only do we offer eight types of business jet, but also, because of our hybrid mix of owned and managed aircraft, we have a range of customised interiors meeting each owner’s specifications. We can therefore meet charter customer requirements and desires to a very specific degree.

Executed well, taking delivery of a new aircraft – and introducing that aircraft to the market – should be one of the most exciting experiences in aviation. If you plan hard and work hard, it will be.

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