The Benefits of Aircraft Management: Maintenance, Money, & More
The Benefits of Aircraft Management
Owning an aircraft is always a complicated enterprise, a large turboprop or corporate jet is especially complex. If you are considering the purchase of a used business aircraft, the monetary cost and time that will be required to manage your expensive asset needs to be considered. You’ll be faced with a whole set of issues to deal with: Who will find the crews and train them? What about scheduling? Who will deal with tracking the aircraft’s required maintenance? How much will fuel, hanger space, and cleaning cost? What about insurance, certification, and registration requirements? An individual aircraft owner or small company can quickly find itself working for the airplane more than the airplane works for them. When considering acquiring a used aircraft, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that many of the above costs and complications will exist whether the airplane flies or not. Is there a way to make aircraft ownership both easier and a little less expensive?
Fortunately for aircraft owners, there is a way to own a valuable aviation asset and avoid the headaches that often come along with the trials and tribulations of ownership. Aircraft management companies exist to provide end-to-end, turnkey solutions for business jet and other aircraft owners, allowing for the benefits of ownership without the onerous and expensive chores that ownership often entails. Below are some of the benefits of engaging an aircraft management service if you are considering the purchase of a used business jet or other corporate aircraft.
Aircraft management makes getting a crew easy
One of the biggest issues you’ll face when considering the purchase of a used jet is that you’ll need someone to fly the airplane. Even if you (or someone in your company) is already appropriately certificated and rated, you will still have to undergo regular recurrent training to meet the bare minimums for currency and safety purposes. If you choose to hire pilots on your own, you’ll have to concern yourself with everything that comes along with adding additional employees: payroll, benefits, insurance, training, and scheduling. Managing additional employees can be difficult, and if you own a small company adding a full-fledged flight department can quickly be taxing on your time and resources.
Providing pilots for your used jet is an area where aircraft management companies truly shine. Instead of having to worry about finding pilots, the management company will have pilots on staff that they manage for you. These pilots are on the management company’s payroll, so there will be no added HR workload for your staff. And, since these pilots are most likely flying more than just your airplane, you can rest assured that they are qualified and experienced experts in type of used aircraft that you’ll buy—in fact, employing the services of a management company will take the worry about crew training completely off of your plate. Having confidence in your crew is a big part of enjoying your journey, and when you use a well-established aircraft management company, you’ll know that you and your aircraft are in very good hands.
Getting maintenance done right
Larger aircraft like corporate jets and turboprops have thousands of parts—many of which need to be individually tracked because they are time limited. Maintaining your jet will certainly require a substantial monetary investment on your part, but more than that, it can also demand a lot of time. Engaging an aircraft management company for your aircraft can make maintaining your asset a relatively simple exercise. They often employ mechanics and inspectors who are experts in the type of used aircraft that you will purchase, and since they work on many clients’ airplanes they have a wealth of experience to bring to the table. These mechanics have long established relationships with the FAA and other regulatory bodies that make approvals of modifications to your aircraft a breeze; aircraft management companies often also have approval to follow an FAA approved Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program that ensures the proper and efficient completion of maintenance with minimum downtime. There is a money saving, economies of scale argument to be made here too—you will be paying less for quality work because you are “sharing” the mechanic’s time with other aircraft owners.
Generating revenue from your asset
Most business jet owners will have a hard time flying their aircraft more than about 600 hours per year, even if they have a busy travel schedule. Your jet or other corporate aircraft is still costing you money while it sits in the hanger; why not find a way to generate income from your asset when you aren’t using it?
This is one of the major benefits of having the used jet you purchase managed by a quality provider. In addition to managing their owner’s aircraft, aircraft management services also provide charter services to non-aircraft owners. This means that when you aren’t using your airplane, it can be used by the management company as part of their charter operation. You’ll get a piece of the revenue generated from the charters that your aircraft is used for, helping you to defray some of the significant costs of ownership. In some cases, aircraft owners have made as much as $2 million per year in charter revenue.
Big flight department benefits without the big flight department hassles
Having the used jet that you buy managed allows you to obtain many of the same benefits enjoyed by large and complicated flight departments without the need to individually control those resources on your own. Because they purchase a large amount of fuel, your aircraft management company will likely be able to obtain bulk rate pricing on the fuel that you use, saving you tens of thousands of dollars per year. They may also save you money on insurance; experienced crews, good maintenance, and mature safety programs will place your aircraft in a lower risk category than it might otherwise be. When tax time comes around, you can depend on your management company to provide you with all of the required documents that will save you billable hours with your accountant.
Questions to ask a potential management company
While the benefits of outsourcing the logistics of managing the used jet you buy to a management company are manifest, not all management companies are created equal. You’ll want to look carefully at several different companies and find out what they can do for you; aircraft management should feel like a bespoke service where your concerns are quickly addressed and your unique needs are catered to. Some questions to ask include:
- What is the management company’s accident, incident, and FAA violation history? How is their relationship with the FAA?
- Does the company have a vibrant safety culture that encourages reporting and a mature safety management system (SMS) in place?
- Who is responsible for safety? Does that person report directly to the company president/CEO?
- Does that aircraft management company manage other aircraft of the same type you are considering buying?
- Does the management company offer any discounts to its owners?
- What is the fee structure?
- Are separate accounts established for each owner?
- How can I be sure my aircraft will be available to me when I need it?
When you are considering the purchase of a used jet or turboprop, employing a management company can give you the benefits of having a well-run flight department without having to support one. They might even be able to help you in the acquisition process, so reach out to them before you close a sale. We’ve included some helpful links below of some well-known aircraft management firms to get you started. Good luck with your used aircraft purchase!