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 easy to dismiss this summer’s slowness as a result of such, let me take a flight of fancy and ask could it be that we have returned to a more traditional schedule of doing business? Has an economic downturn actually allowed for more free time? Perhaps this is just my indulging in wishful thinking, but this summer felt more like summers past from my early days of selling business aircraft. The aircraft sales calendar has an unofficial cut off date for activity, which falls sometime around the last week of June. Potential buyers have fled the market in favor of sunning in San Tropez, acclimating in Aspen or happenings in the Hamptons, among other things. It is often quietly discussed that if you don’t have the product sold by then you might as well go on vacation until the early part of September. Okay, this has not necessarily held true over the last ten years, but prior to the Internet bust you could disconnect your Hobbs meter for that season.
Of course now contrary to popular perception, most aircraft brokers simply do not stop working because the prospects go away on holiday. The fact that the phone has stopped ringing is not going to be reason enough to curtail dialing. One is either driven by a strong work ethic or sheer terror of not knowing when the next deal is coming your way. Regardless of which it is rest assured this broker is Sirius about seeking a sale in August.
Hope is not lost to those of us who choose to make a living peddling aircraft. There is after all September and the unofficial restart date to sales activity. Who says there is no cure for the summertime blues? In the aircraft broker’s world, the cure is an aircraft sale. A Global Express or Falcon the perfect tonic. And Labor Day weekend the time to finally exhale after a long summer spent holding one’s breath in anticipation.