By Vincent Wigmans

We often get this question from business jet owners. Although there is not one easy answer possible, we can see some trends among business jet owners. 

Here are four trends we noticed:

  • The first one is the aircraft owner that purchase a brand-new aircraft from the manufacturer and puts it on the market within a year, even before it has been built or delivered. This happens mostly with a new aircraft model that is introduced. They purchase a so-called “slot” in the beginning of the production cycle for this aircraft model. As this new aircraft model gets more publicity, people are becoming more interested in this model. But when manufacturers have lead times of 2 years and up, some aircraft owners use this scarcity to take advantage off the market and makes an excellent return of investment by selling their “slot”. These “aircraft owners” sell their serial number directly from the assembly line without ever seeing it.
  • The second one is the aircraft owner that uses the aircraft for a period of roughly 4 years. These owners are using their aircraft for private or business purposes and see the pros and cons of aircraft ownership. Some are making the conclusion that they are under using the aircraft and lose money, while others like to upgrade to a larger, faster or newer aircraft. We also see that the expiration of the new aircraft warranty terms can be a reason for a sale for some business jet owners.
  • The third business jet owner is the one who is using an aircraft for a period between 10 and 15 years. They mostly use it as a business tool for their company. After roughly 4 years since delivery from the factory, the new aircraft warranty will expire, this is a moment where they evaluate their options. If they are still happy with the usage of the aircraft, they will continue flying it, although the higher expected maintenance costs. If this business jet is doing 500 hours per year or more, they will also absorb the costs, on average at 8 years, for an interior refurbishment, an exterior paint job or some regulatory modifications on the aircraft. As these are capital intensive expenditures, these owners keep their jet longer to amortize these expenses.
  • The fourth owner does not need to sell, but want to take advantage of peaks in the market. During Covid times, there was so much demand for certain aircraft types, that owners sold anyway because they got an “offer they couldn’t refuse.”

As mentioned, everyone has his own reason to sell. Some business jet owners are just selling to make a quick buck, while other owners are in it for the long run. In any case, there is no industry standard that will explain you when the best time is to sell your business jet!

If you need assistance with selling your business jet, please contact us and we would be happy to assist.