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Top Questions to Ask When Buying Jets

How can you read between the lines of advertisements and listings to find the real value jet for sale? Jet Tolbert highlights key questions you should be asking

Understand the Differences Between the Advertisements and Listings

When searching for your next jet, you will be inundated with advertisements flagging up the ‘best deal’, ‘best value’ and ‘best equipped’ on the market, notes Jet Tolbert. How should you read between the lines of the advertisements, and what questions should you be asking?

As a buyer, you need to articulate your priories, do your homework, and consult reliable and trusted sources before purchasing a business aircraft. While you might feel sufficiently experienced to do all the due diligence yourself, there are many sophisticated dimensions to purchasing a business aircraft.

Also, there are resources available that are worthwhile. Thus it is logical as well as prudent to consider assistance. A reputable firm will leverage its in-depth technical knowledge and industry contacts to provide analysis of all the available options, whether on the market or off-market.

At the beginning of a search of jets ‘For Sale’, it’s easy to weed out many of the aircraft based on criteria such as year of manufacture, airframe/engine hours, maintenance history and more.

Having done the initial sifting, you will be left with a shortlist of aircraft for more thorough consideration.

These “semi-finalists” may appear to meet your acquisition criteria… from a 30,000 foot view, at least – but that’s when it becomes important to drill-down and ask the right questions.  You don’t want to waste time pursuing an aircraft that proves to be a dud – or worse, one that will incur higher than expected operating costs and cancelled flights.

Question 1: Why Are They Selling?

Research might reveal there is an event triggering the sale (i.e. the sale of a company or the acquisition of a replacement aircraft). It’s possible the advertising of the aircraft for sale is timed to precede this event. Has that event already passed? Is the seller just testing the market to see what happens?

A lot of options are evaporating from the marketplace these days. Being in the right place at the right time can make a difference.

Having a deeper understanding of the motivation behind a sale can help ensure that you don’t watch someone else take that prize deal and push you out of the market.

If you can time your purchase with the specific needs of a seller(s), you are well placed to create some great opportunities from your shortlist of desirable aircraft.

Question 2: Where Has It Been Maintained?

Understanding the maintenance history of an aircraft reveals a lot about the asset’s value. Often advertisements showcase added options and highlight the comfort of the aircraft’s interior, but you will need to consider the maintenance status report and also the history of maintenance and major inspections performed.

There are certain geographies in which preventative maintenance needs to be carried out regularly. Seeing how an aircraft has been cared for, with the oversight of a diligent maintenance manager, can make the difference between a decision to buy or pass on an aircraft.

Question 3: Who’s Your Counterparty to the Transaction?

Understanding who you are doing business with can affect a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ decision. There are advantages to buying from a company with a long aviation track record and identifying who will be able to provide the documentation you need.

Knowing the right questions to ask and finding the correct answers will go a long way in creating a successful transaction.

Bottom line: Ask the right questions, stay savvy, seek knowledgeable advice and be ready to move when you like what you hear.

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