Last year was a record year for aircraft sales and the trend is continuing this year. As sales boom, the American Society of Appraisers has highlighted some of summer’s hottest new trends in the aircraft industry, as well as tips for caring for aircraft.
“Airplanes and other aircraft can be a huge investment for consumers and corporations, so it’s important that they make the best choice to meet their needs,” says Kenneth Dufour, accredited senior appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers (ASA).
Current trends spotted by the appraisers start with buyers of top tier aircraft — the $40 million range — with many opting for the Dassault Falcon 900 series, the Gulfstream G500-550 series and the Bombardier Global Express, which are extremely popular because of their new generation engines, high functionality and efficiency. Buyers are currently on a multi-year wait list, Dufour notes.
In the middle price range, popular planes include the Dassault Falcon 2000 series, Challenger 300, Cessna Sovereign and the Citation X, which sell for around $16 million to $25 million.
Very Light Jets (VLJ) are one of the hottest new trends in the industry because they are owner-operated aircraft and do not require professional pilots. VLJs are affordably priced, making them a popular choice for those looking for reasonably priced jets. Seating three or five passengers, VLJs are being sold for approximately $1.5 million to $2.5 million. Cessna Mustangs, the Eclipse 500 and the Embraer Phenom 100/300 are some of the more popular VLJs on the market today, Dufour notes.
The trend for purchasing airplanes normally follows closely behind general economic trends. Even though fuel prices continue to surge, this has had little affect on buyers who are in the market to buy airplanes, he says. Right now, if you’re looking to purchase a Dassault or a Gulfstream, you could be on a waiting list until 2009 or 2010, he adds.
New safety systems also are a hot commodity and constantly being developed. New requirements for TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System) require owners/operators to keep current with safety equipment, which in turn helps maintain aircraft value, he says.
It is also important to take proper care of your aircraft to enhance its value and maximize safety, the appraiser says. He lists the top five things owners can do to maintain the value of their airplanes:
1. Comply with federal regulations: Aircraft are federally regulated, so you must comply with federal regulations and manufacturer maintenance requirements. Not only is it the legal thing to do, but if you ever plan to sell, you’ll have to invest in getting your aircraft up to current standards.
2. Upgrade, when needed: Upgrade and update any avionics and/or aircraft systems with enhancements and product improvements.
3. Buy parts from original manufacturers or approved FAA parts suppliers: Minimize damage by fixing it properly with parts from the original manufacturer. Save your generic items for other purchases. Don’t cut corners when buying parts for your aircraft.
4. Hangar your aircraft: Keep your aircraft in a hangar. This will minimize wear-and-tear from the weather.
5. Keep records: Safeguard and protect original and supplemental records. Aircraft can lose value when documentation is lost or destroyed.
ASA also suggests you update your appraisal regularly, noting that the value of aircraft can change depending on the supply and demand of the aircraft, as well as many other factors.