With financing for business aircraft still far from easy to secure, ExecuJet Aviation has stepped up its efforts to help get more people airborne through its SimplyFly Finance program. The plan is to offer fast-access, simplified nonrecourse financing in the shape of five-year loans or leases for up to 70 percent of the value of an aircraft worth at least $20 million and no more than five years old. An initial fund of $400 million provided by ExecuJet’s main shareholder Dermot Desmond is available to support the program.
For the business aviation industry, the past year has been a trying one, to say
the least. Aircraft sales and usage declined steeply as the economic downturn tightened its grip, forcing operators to cope with the new financial realities, and in some cases with disparaging views of the industry.
The change in fortunes of the business aviation industry since the 2008 EBACE show last May truly beggars belief. Since sometime around September last year the financial crisis–caused at least in part by self-destructive behavior of some of the industry’s best customers, the bankers–has been one kick in the teeth after another.
Last year when AIN took a close look at the aviation finance industry, the prevailing sentiment among industry insiders was that if you were looking for money to finance a business jet, the money would find you. At the time, many of the aircraft finance divisions still felt they were relatively insulated from their mortgage brethren, even within the same company.
Business aircraft buyers can expect loans to be harder to find and more costly, according to Adam Warner, president of Key Equipment Finance, Downers Grove, Ill. “There are fewer players in the finance market because some banks simply don’t have capital to lend,” he said. Those that have money are more selective and now less willing to finance 100 percent of an aircraft’s value.
Business aviation financiers exhibiting here at EBACE’08 have arrived in Geneva largely uncertain about the full implications of the ongoing squeeze on the global credit market and the availability of funds to pay for aircraft purchases. Last month, EBACE Convention News approached six banks listed as exhibitors, but only two–Citi Private Bank (Booth No. 1441) and Bank of America (Booth No.
What a difference a year makes.
Unlike insurance rates, which are decreasing slightly or at least stabilizing, aviation financing rates have apparently bottomed out and were on the rise last month.
However, like home mortgage rates, interest rates for aircraft are still near historic lows. What direction they go next is impossible to predict accurately, but current economic conditions seem to point in a continued upward direction.
The Canadian Cabinet has approved a $250 million loan from the so-called Canada Account for a past transaction involving 10 Bombardier CRJs to Cincinnati-based Comair. The move marked the first application of a new $1.2 billion credit facility established by the Canadian government specifically to fund regional jet sales. It also relieved Bombardier of its exposure to an interim private loan issued at the point of sale.
GMAC’s business aircraft finance group of Southfield, Mich., has launched a trial program, initially for three to six months, in which buyers of new or used turbine aircraft can defer loan payments for six months.
- Page 1