I recently attended the PNC Partners in Aviation Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference brought approximately 60 aviation leaders from across the region together to discuss the topics that are trending in our industry, including aircraft valuations, sales trends, and overall market conditions.
Every attendee agreed that general market conditions are improving and that more activity is occurring across many segments. I concurred with that sentiment since FlightWorks’ charter activity has increased 20% year-over-year across the entire fleet. There are many factors that influence these statistics, and here at FlightWorks it is not only an improving economy that has aided the growth. In addition, teamwork between charter sales, flight operations and our maintenance department has resulted in increased aircraft availability for owner and charter flights alike.
Pre-owned aircraft inventories remain relatively constant in most segments with a few exceptions. An interesting trend has arisen where certain aircraft types which have had large inventories for years have now become scarce commodities. Nonetheless, overall preowned aircraft market conditions remain constant with demand not strong enough to drive price increases. The result is a continued buyer’s market.
Aircraft owner demographics were also an interesting topic of discussion at the conference. Many experts are seeing a younger generation of owners emerging, and with that comes a new communication dynamic. The delivery of information to an aircraft owner when and where they want it is an increasing reality that we must address. Smartphone apps for this younger generation of owner are becoming more common to keep owners informed of trip details, aircraft charter opportunities and monthly economic performance. FlightWorks is an asset management company, not an aircraft management company, which means that we must advance our way of thinking when it comes to communicating these details with owners. Expect us to research the app market in the coming months.
The primary message from the PNC Partners in Aviation Conference was that awareness of current market trends is of utmost importance for us to best advise our current and future client’s asset management needs. Issues such as IRS opinions on federal excise tax, ownership structures and having strong subject matter expert partners to support the needs of our aircraft owners are essential. By attending this and other conferences we have secured relationships with industry experts that make our asset management offering embody the goals of each aircraft owner and preserve the long term value of their aircraft.