Jun
23
2017
Postcards from Geneva—EBACE 2017
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EBACE 2017 presented attendees with plenty of eye catching airplanes, products and opportunities to visit with vendors in a comfortable, expansive space. For those who had a specific interest in the aircraft parked on the ramp,  idyllic weather was offered up with Geneva enjoying one of the finest weeks this Spring. The Palexpo with its location directly adjacent to the airport allows attendees to visit both booths and a static display in a matter of hours without feeling rushed or that something has been overlooked. One of the interesting additions to this year’s show was the use of a shuttle to transport attendees between the halls and the static which certainly helped with the flow of traffic. Clearly EBAA along with support from NBAA knows how to put on a great show by not overlooki...

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Feb
29
2016
Blah, Blah, Blog!
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Having just returned from GAMA’s “State of the Industry” address I can safely report that for those who like consistency 2016 is going to look a lot like 2010-2015.  Well, maybe a bit more blah.   The business aviation industry has been in the doldrums since the economic debacle of late 2008 with only pinpoints of light that shined periodically throughout.  Not one single element that helped give rise to hope was able to sustain a momentum which would turn aircraft sales around and put them on an upward trajectory.  When the press finally takes a hard look at what has happened to the aircraft sales industry and stop churning out sound bites from various industry groups that say everything is alright (for the moment) or not bad (re: surviving), maybe then our global leaders will ...

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Nov
26
2014
MONDAY MONDAY
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It seems the latter part of the third quarter and thus far the fourth quarter has been one big Monday. The positive side of all this is that it has by far been the busiest second half of a year that we have experienced perhaps since the founding of Par Avion. Our inventory is moving, new listings have come our way and the number of calls to us for assistance has kept the phones ringing and the days jammed from early until late. The not so good side of all this is that Murphy has not been far behind the heels of activity. The take-away? Follow the Girl Scout or Boy Scout motto and always be prepared so as to turn a “Monday” into any other day of the week. I am a known cross the “T” and dot the “i” kind of person. Attention to detail is my tag-line and follow through ...

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Sep
29
2014
CAVEAT EMPTOR
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The world of aircraft sales is fraught with risk and it is a wise buyer who retains professional assistance in the process of buying or selling an airplane. However, the risk in the selection process is not merely limited to what airplane to choose. In some cases the risk starts with the advisor you choose! Just because someone holds themselves out as having years of experience in the aviation industry does not necessarily make them an expert in the preowned marketplace. This subset of the aircraft sales profession suffers from an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts who in reality have little or no experience in this unique arena. They may very well have held jobs directly related to the operation, maintenance or even sold new aircraft, but it is a misconception to think that t...

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Jul
28
2014
The Devil is In the Details
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Remember when being attentive to detail was a standard to which all others aspired? If you offered a bespoke service, you were expected to deliver well beyond expectations. Mediocrity had no place in a work environment that strives for excellence. It was not okay to let things slide as doing so meant leaving the door open for your competition to show your prospects how they can do it better. This is my soapbox for the month so I am going to play devil’s advocate when it comes to the subject of details. I am still a big believer in always reaching for perfection, which I know in reality is never attainable. Blame it on my competitive nature and having been through some tough schools in both the formal and informal educational setting. A bar set a little out of reach should make yo...

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May
15
2014
HONESTLY!
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“Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue” sang Billy Joel. It’s a tune that I have been humming and words that I have been turning over in my head more frequently as of late. It seems that very few people who either make honest mistakes, purposely deceive in an effort to preserve whatever or get caught in a bind will fess up, fix it and move on. I am talking about everything from misrepresentation of aircraft specifications, maintenance screw-ups down to storytelling in an effort to throw you off the trail. Honestly! Didn’t your Momma ever tell you that one lie simply leads to another? Blatantly deceptive practices such as false and misleading advertising of aircraft that either have long since been sold, are not “controlled” by the party advertising it or the...

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Mar
27
2014
Don’t Bank On It
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The bizav industry has certainly seen its share of troubled loans and losses since the Great Recession and banks portfolios were at one time loaded with bad debt from sour aircraft deals.  To some degree financial institutions that were prolific lenders back in the day are still dealing with non-performing assets and struggling to move them in what remains a somewhat stagnant resale marketplace.  It’s perhaps no surprise that the majority of the distressed jet assets are “classic” aircraft, 20 years or older or relatively new, but less popular models. What may come as a surprise to some is how differently financial institutions treat a troubled loan and the respective borrower.  Not all things are created equal in aircraft finance land and while the reader may interpret this as...

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Feb
3
2014
Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt
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In the United States we have a peculiar method by which it is determined whether or not we are to be faced with six more weeks of winter.  On February 2nd, with great fanfare and anticipation, a furry creature known as a groundhog that bears the name of the town he lives, is rather rudely awakened from his slumber and exposed to the elements.   Whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow determines if we are in for more gloomy weather or an early spring.  This year Phil saw his shadow and thus winter will retain its grip for another six weeks in North America.  (Humor us and put aside the fact that the official arrival of spring in the Western Hemisphere per the calendar more or less coincides with that time table.) Well, I awoke on the morning of the 2nd...

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Sep
1
2013
Lost in Translation
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As an aircraft broker who works and travels around the world you can’t help but gain experience as to how cultural differences, particularly when it comes to language (verbal and body), impact the business you are trying to conduct.  Some of us learn by observation and paying keen attention to how an already experienced trader you may be partnering with is handling a situation or responding to a particular request.  Others benefit from having had a rich ethnic heritage that carried on customs and traditions in the home, which in turn serve you well in the business world.   Still others without the benefit of the aforementioned actually take the time to study their subject before engaging them.  Only the thickest of beings would ignore their surroundings and tread u...

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May
31
2013
The New Normal
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At the last NBAA convention an interview conducted with a business aviation OEM executive generated the now oft quoted phrase “flat is the new normal”.  For those of you who do not track the aircraft sales side of the industry, this statement was a reference to exactly that and that it is.  While we are seeing some signs at least in the U.S. economy that typically would indicate a recovery is on the way, the reality is that there is still plenty of product available and sales are, well, flat. That’s not to say that salespeople do not see bright spots in the overall marketplace for business aircraft or at some point during the course of a calendar year experience a robust sales period.  The point is that not enough simultaneously are having that experience and thus inventory lev...

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Mar
29
2013
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
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As the first quarter of 2013 draws to a close I am reminded that reporting for that period will soon be due, not to mention federal income tax filing here in the United States.  Both are means by which business owners and individuals alike take inventory of their professional and personal financial status, serving to remind one of where you are and what needs to be done to improve upon the situation.  The end of this quarter falls on a holiday weekend which affords me a bit of time to reflect upon not just what has transpired in these past three months, but as well the past year.

A little late you may say for most would have looked at last year on December 31st and kissed it goodbye then.  ...

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Nov
23
2012
VALUE—ABLES
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I’m back to pond-hopping on a regular basis and therefore taking note of what has changed with regards to scheduled airline service in what seems a very short period of time.   As a long-time, long-haul devotee of the now defunct Continental Airlines, I am sad to see how much has been lost and how what remains is a colder climate approach to service.   So, as a proponent of business aviation I am pleased to report that, economy aside, our sector of the aviation industry has nothing to worry about.  In fact when fiscal sanity returns to the global marketplace and our leaders decide to stop persecuting the successful or simply well-to-do, commercial airline service will help drive the recovery in the private transport market. Take my recent international trip on United.  United wo...

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Jul
18
2012
MARKET CONFIDENCE…or the lack thereof
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Confidence is a commodity that is in rather short supply these days.  While the market for business aircraft is slow for a number of different reasons, the lack of confidence being expressed by buyers is a major contributing factor as to why it won’t jumpstart itself.  Without confidence buyers are likely to do a whole lot of nothing when it comes to investing in anything.  Confidence is an essential element of every business deal and every item in which one choses to invest in.  No relationship is forged without it. The customer base for business jets requires confidence on many levels.  Today, first and foremost it must exist in our economic future.  While I often speak in global terms, for the purpose of this blog my focus is primarily on the U.S. market for business aircraft...

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May
21
2012
WHERE ARE WE HEADED?
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“Where are the aircraft resale markets headed?” is among the first questions posed to me in just about every conversation I have as of late.  Don’t you know I wish I could look forward with complete accuracy 100% of the time?  Then I might be writing this blog from a beach in some exotic locale as opposed to my present state of being crammed into an economy seat on a commercial airliner.   While in the past I felt I read the tea leaves pretty well, the clarity of the water seems to have gotten murky again in our so called economic recovery.  Just when you think the analytics are showing you some sort of trend, a bend in the road appears.  Actually sharp curves depending on the make/model of airplane in focus. Many of us who make our living dealing in business aircraft are a ...

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Aug
30
2011
IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL
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August, for most of the business world, generally means it is going to be very quiet while everyone wiles away their time on the last vestiges of summer. Yes, captains of industry and us aircraft brokers alike always have one finger stuck up in the air trying to figure out which way the wind blows, but little was one prepared for the gale that swooped down upon the world this month. Augustus was not about to allow anyone to nap. It is said that if America sneezes, Europe catches a cold. Just when we thought we were over the worst of it, concern anew begins with the banking system. What? I thought that was old news here and abroad, and the worst that could be said is that there is limited financing for all but the most credit worthy of clients and newest of airplanes. It seems it is also...

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Jul
8
2011
PLANE TALK
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Well, if you haven’t heard by now, the U.S. President decided last week during a press conference to malign the business aviation industry by accusing users of business jets as enjoying tax benefits above and beyond what is afforded to users of other business equipment. Gee, last I heard accelerated depreciation was a creation of the current administration as part of the stimulus package to jumpstart the economy and create jobs. So when did the users of business jets become the primary reason why our economy is not recovering? This attack seems to me like nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention from the fact that the administration has failed miserably in their efforts to restart the economy, primarily in the area of job creation. How easy it is to throw stones at a highly v...

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May
31
2011
Airliner Angst
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It’s been ages since I have had to set foot in a commercial airline terminal, let alone board one of those people haulers.  Besides having the benefit of flying private, I have taken to driving myself to destinations I know I will be at for at least a week and are within more or less a seven hour circle of Houston just to avoid what I consider a very painful experience flying commercial.   Not to mention that I get to take my two Jack Russell Terriers and my own pillow.  On this day I am forced to subject myself to the trials and tribulations of modern day commercial aviation travel in order to reach my destination.    I do this you know not just because I have to, but to remind myself as to exactly what I am selling prospective buyers of our business jets and to help keep my skil...

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Jan
1
2011
S’No way to treat passengers
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TIS THE SEASON Ahhh the holidays and the joys of commercial airline travel!  That time of year when all good people who used to take a sleigh and head over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house now flock to the airport.   It was bad enough dealing with that certain subset of the population that fly but once a year, but now we get to add to it the tortuous check-in and security experience that of full body scans and TSA groping.  Whatever possesses people to bring wrapped Christmas packages in a paper bag and expect for it not only to fit in the overhead bin, but to be treated as if it were a live animal?  Hello?  Ever hear of UPS or FedEx? How about commercial airline’s preemptive cancellation of flights this season?  What’s up with anticipa...

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Nov
1
2010
Jets – The Luggage Advantage
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BAGGAGE In packing for an extended stay on the road, particularly in this day and age of airline travel, the weight of my baggage is on the forefront of my mind.  Gone are the days that one could elect to throw that extra jacket in the suitcase or one more pair of shoes, let alone consider taking along the Nancy Gonzalez blue crocodile purse that oh so perfectly works with jeans.  My style (and sense of it) has been severely cramped ever since the airlines decided to squeeze their patrons further by reducing the allowable weight of one’s bag on an international leg.  My longing for home becomes accentuated knowing that the perfect heels are waiting on me in the master bedroom closet.   No, functionality and diversity rule when it comes to selecting the clothes an...

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Aug
1
2010
SUMMERTIME BLUES
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August is a tough month for the aircraft broker.   Thirty-one days spent waiting for September in heat and humidity (at least in my part of the world), while the rest of the inhabitants of the western hemisphere are on holiday.  Or so it seems. For those who make a living peddling aircraft, the summer is traditionally a slow period and none slower than the dog days of August.  Particularly for those who are doing business in Europe.  Sales grind to a halt; decisions are left hanging midstream and service and support centers can’t get projects completed due to a shortage of employees.   If ever there where was a case of if you can’t beat them, then join them, this is the time to take a vacation! While the world economies still seem to be in the grip of a recession and it is...

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Jul
1
2010
How to be PC in Europe
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Staying on the narrow path of political correctness in Europe can be challenging and not just due to the fact you are moving about the countryside.  Borders may be gone in the EU, but a change in attitude still comes with a change of the cellular carrier.   However, I found a way to be “PC” while on a recent trip to Europe, and it came in the form of a single engine executive aircraft. At the invitation of a client I took a ride on his PC-12 from Paris to Geneva where we were headed for the European Business Aviation Convention. The aircraft is built by Pilatus of Switzerland (doesn’t get more neutral than that) with the idea of giving the owner/pilot a relatively fast, cabin class airplane with which to move family, employees or friends about the land.  Ahhh, what luxury to a...

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Jun
1
2010
Le Bourget, Lindbergh and Love
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If you travel to Paris by private plane, inevitably you will end up at Le Bourget, the business airport just to the north and west of the city.   Closer in than Charles de Gaulle it is just a twenty-five minute ride to the Arc d’Triomphe, sans traffic, and a world away from the hassle of commercial airline travel. Recently I found myself reconnecting with this, my favorite international airport.  Le Bourget is steeped in history and resplendent with images from an earlier time in aviation.  Hangars that remind one of a romantic era in flying share space with glass and chrome structures that salute the advancement of design and efficiency.  As one drives into the airport from the A1 you are greeted by the L’Air and Espace Museum with its decommissioned Arianne rocket and B747 in...

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May
6
2010
Shopping Spree
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Geneva in May means several things to me…fantastic springtime weather, dinners at La Reserve and on the Lac, business with my long-term associate Stefano Albinati and the annual international gathering of the business jet community for the European Business Aviation Conference and Expo (EBACE).  There were no disappointments, with one exception: the weather.   However, even though it was freezing and wet outside, it was HAUTE inside the Palexpo and on the adjacent ramp where the world’s finest business jet offerings were on display. While business aviation conventions have been a staple of the industry for many years in the United States, salons elsewhere dedicated to this sector of the market have come and gone until the advent of this über European show now in its tenth year a...

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Apr
1
2010
Pain in the Ash
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Were you among many whose travel ground to a halt due to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul volcano in Iceland on April 13, 2010, after a 177-year slumber ?  Tens of thousands of passengers suffered delays as long as two weeks due to the shutdown of European airspace that was caused by an expansive, dense volcanic ash cloud.  Grounded by ash was just the start of the problem, as some travelers came to discover. In this unprecedented halt to commercial airline traffic, rental cars to hotels and everything in between became a precious commodity.  A major logistical transportation problem was unfolding for the airlines: how to move passengers stuck by the shutdown and yet accommodate the scheduled passengers on the day they could start flying again?  For the passengers left stranded, ...

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