This may be a better time to sell a pre-owned business jet than to buy one. In particular, the secondary market for large, long-range jets is a seller’s market, says private-aviation industry veteran Ralph Michielli. Formerly the chief operating officer of the jet charter company ExcelAire, Michielli is now the president of Custom Jet Charters, the company that acquires, operates, and manages the aircraft for the charter company Exclusive.
According to the data for the first quarter of 2018 collected by the aviation research firm JetNet, the inventory of preowned business jets of all sizes had shrunk by 350 units compared with a year ago. It was down to 2,020 aircraft, which is the lowest that it has been at the end of a first quarter since 2008.
“Overall the heavy-jet market is much better [for the seller] today than it was two years ago or three years ago, when prices were declining because there was more supply than there was demand,” says Michielli. “In the last two years, particularly in the last year, the market has been drying up somewhat because of an influx of money. Whether it’s due to tax breaks or other reasons, prices have stabilized, and some aircraft have actually appreciated in value just simply because of supply and demand.”
Michielli notes that the price of any secondary-market aircraft can depend greatly on its pedigree, in addition to market trends. “If it’s been operated by a Fortune 100 company that has its own flight department, it’s going to be more expensive than one that has a lot of charter hours,” he says. Product-care and maintenance programs can also affect the secondary-market cost; the more extensive the coverage, the more expensive the plane.
If you’re in the market for a pre-owned heavy jet, one that is at least 10 years old, continue on to see which models from Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassaut—the three companies that build such aircraft—offer the best values, in Michielli’s opinion. The prices he provides are averages. As noted, pedigree, can affect the actual price, as can flight hours, maintenance programs and the overall condition of the aircraft.