With so many choices available to companies and individuals contemplating alternatives to airline travel, what’s a business owner or prospective flight department manager to do? Speakers at the fourth annual Conklin & de Decker Aircraft Acquisition Planning Seminar, held recently in Scottsdale, Ariz., sought to provide some answers to those questions.
Financing, Insurance and Taxes » Aviation Financing
Issues regarding financing of aircraft.
The FAA’s budgetary woes are but one symptom of the U.S. fiscal freight train that has been speeding down the track with ever greater wobbles since 9/11.
The Middle East region is waking up to business aircraft financing, it emerged at the inaugural Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference here at the Dubai airshow on Saturday. As recently as five years ago, it was difficult to find funds to buy business jets, but it is now much easier to convince a bank, a local charter operator said. In addition, so-called Sukuk Islamic bonds may soon become available to aircraft customers.
The U.S. Exim Bank has approved a long-term loan guarantee to support the sale of three Gulfstream G350 business jets to Saudi Arabian executive air transport provider National Air Services. Gulfstream signed a letter of intent in May for the aircraft, which the Exim Bank accord finalizes. The transaction is structured as an asset-based financing arrangement with the G350s serving as collateral. Arab Banking Corp.
Bahrain Executive Air Services (Bexair) is seeing strong interest in its new aircraft financing venture, Arabian Aircraft & Equipment Leasing Co. (AAELCO). “Everyone is interested,” finance and administration director Marwan Al-Tassan said here yesterday. “There is demand from buyers but they can’t get the financing from the banks. If they come to Bexair they can get the financing through AAELCO and we can manage the aircraft as well.”
International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has become the first named major lessor to order the Boeing 787 under an agreement covering twenty 787-8 and -9 aircraft (and options on a further four) valued at $2.7 billion at list prices. Deliveries are set to start in January 2010 and continue through the following year.
Charter operator Bahrain Executive Air Services Co. (Bexair) is announcing the launch of a new aircraft financing operation here at the show. The firm plans to provide business aircraft handling services at an undisclosed Middle Eastern airport, as well as for new passenger shuttle and cargo operations.
Mission Oaks National Bank in Temecula, Calif., hopes to become the lender of choice for pilots shopping for general aviation airplanes and, in some cases, helicopters in the western U.S. from New Mexico to Washington, as well as Nevada and Arizona, and occasionally other states. The bank will consider loans on aircraft valued up to $3.5 million. Veteran aviation lender Juan Alonzo has been hired to manage the new aircraft loan department.
The almost three-year-old European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) wants to keep on a fast growth curve, despite its acknowledged teething problems. The main problem–funding–is being addressed through a major increase in certification fees. Over the next two years, the agency is preparing to extend its responsibilities to cover aircraft operations, flight crew licensing and eventually activities such as airports.
While the debate continues over how best to fund the next-generation air transportation system, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is of the opinion that “given the diverse nature of the FAA’s activities, a combination of alternative [funding] options may offer the most promise for linking revenues and costs.” In a study released last week, the GAO stated that among the alternatives that the FAA should consider are “user fees.” The GAO