G550/G450 Pre-Owned Market Update

Overview

The Gulfstream G550 and G450 markets are both very active markets.  The pre-owned markets are being directly affected by Gulfstream’s pricing of new aircraft.  Right now Gulfstream has between four and five quarters of backlog in the G550 and G450 markets.  This is much lower than the two years they typically have.  Historically when the backlog shrank to these levels Gulfstream would become very dynamic and lower pricing to increase the backlog.  Currently, however, Gulfstream is holding new pricing stable and this is fueling high activity in the pre-owned market.

At Guardian Jet we like to separate the market into categories:

  1. Near New – Less than 3 years old and 1,000 hours
  2. Slightly Used – Less than 5 years old and 3,000 hours
  3. Used – Older than 5 years or more than 3,000 hours

 

Market Summary

G550

The G550 market is one of the strongest resale markets in aircraft.  With 439 aircraft in the fleet and 21 for sale, there is 5% of the G550 market for sale.  At Guardian Jet we view a typical market as having 10% of the aircraft for sale.  The G550 with 5% for sale is a seller’s market, though the percentage for sale is rising.  In the third quarter of 2013, there were only 11 G550’s for sale, almost doubling in the past 6 months.

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G550 Number of Aircraft For Sale

In the 1st quarter of 2014, 4 G550’s were sold.  This is, as expected, down from the 7 sold in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2013.  In comparison, however, the 1st quarter of 2013 had only 1 G550 transaction.  With 4 aircraft with deals pending, we expect the G550 market to continue to be a very active market through 2014.

G450

The G450 market has also had a very active start to 2014, with 5 sales in the 1st quarter.  The 1st quarter activity has shrunk the number of sale down to 16 aircraft, equating to 6% of the fleet.  Over the past 4 quarters the G450 market has averaged just fewer than 5 transactions per quarter.  In comparison the previous 4 quarters before that averaged fewer than 3 transactions per quarter.

The G450 market saw its value drop $4-5M from the 2nd quarter 2012 to the 2nd quarter 2013.  Since then the market has stabilized and is depreciated around $1M in the last 4 quarters.

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Near New

G550

The near new G550 market consists of only two aircraft available for sale.  A 2011 G550 for sale has 400 hours on the aircraft is asking $51M and a 2013 aircraft with 320 hours is asking $54.2M, very close to new aircraft pricing.  Typically, when near new aircraft are put on the market they demand close to new aircraft pricing because they are available without a wait for the manufacturer backlog.  Currently, however, the short Gulfstream backlog may shrink the desire to pay new aircraft pricing for a used airplane.  To give you a baseline, a 2009 model with 550 hours sold at the end of last year for $40M. 

G450

The G450 near new market is only one aircraft, a 2012 with 350 hours, asking $32.5M.  This ask price reflects the short backlog Gulfstream has slightly more accurately.  Gulfstream is currently quoting around $36M-$37M for a new G450.  The aircraft is owned and operated out of Bermuda and is JAR/OPS1 capable.  This can be a benefit down the road when it is time for resale of the aircraft, but can also provide additional costs importing the aircraft into the United States and getting the aircraft certified by the FAA.

Two of the four most recent G450s to sell were both near new.  Both 2011 aircraft with 700-800 hours, they sold for $29.25M and $27.5M.

 

Slightly Used

G550

The slightly used G550 market consists of five aircraft, three of which are under contract and working towards a deal.  There has been high turnover in both the slightly used and near new markets driven mostly by low hour totals.  On the market currently, 5 of the 21 aircraft for sale have less than 1,000 hours.  Compare this to the last 6 months of sales, where 4 out of the 9 sold with less than 1,000 hours on them.

G450

The G450 has one aircraft currently on the market in the slightly used range.  A 2009 model year aircraft with 1,400 hours asking $27.25M.  Again this demonstrates a desire for lower time aircraft.  8 of the previous 10 sales in the G450 market have had less than 2,000 hours.  Only 5 of the 16 currently listed for sale have less than 2,000 hours.

 

Used

G550

The majority of the G550 market falls into the used category.  There is definitely value to be found in this market.  On the low end of the G550 market aircraft can be bought below $30M.  This represents great value when you consider a new G450 in the mid to upper 30’s.

There is also a large quantity of aircraft coming off warranty with 2,500-4,000 hours.  These aircraft, with engine programs, are listed in the $37-$39M range.

G450

Like the G550, the majority of the market falls into the used category.  The low end of the market has fallen below $20M.  While hours remain a premium in the G450 market aircraft with around 2,000 hours in the 2007-2008 vintage can be had in the $22M-$25M range.

 

Summary

Continuing on through 2014 both aircraft markets appear to be maintaining their high activity and relatively stable pricing.  If Gulfstream begins to significantly discount new aircraft pricing look for the used market activity to slow down as buyers turn to new aircraft instead of low time used models.

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How Long Should I Own My Airplane

I’ve always found it interesting that there is no industry accepted standard for how often you should replace your aircraft. If I asked 10 operators I might get 5 different answers ranging from 5 years to 15 years or longer.

For a manufacturer, the answer to how long you should own your airplane is easy.  At 5 years you run out of warranty and you have fully depreciated your asset. Buy another one.  On the other side of the coin, we have customers who replace their airplanes very 15 years.  If you asked them why they’d probably tell you because they always have.  So who’s right?

From a Life Cycle Cost (LCC) viewpoint they both are.  The reason there is no industry standard is there is no significant advantage to either term.

As my airplane gets older it gets more expensive to maintain.  New airplanes have price increases at the same time your older airplane is losing its value.  The new airplane price increase may be a smaller percentage than the residual hit my older airplane takes every year but e actual dollar value of those activities might be closer than you think.

In an effort to quantify this we came up with our Optimal Ownership Interval study. A series of cash flows are used to determine the Average Annual Life Cycle Cost over different terms.  LCC is defined as the total cost of purchasing operating, applying tax benefits, and selling an aircraft.

In this study we look at a 15 year period during which we model trading aircraft for 15 different terms, trading every year, trading every two years, every three years etc., until we trade every fifteen years.  The results of a study on a new Gulfstream G550 are below.

Ladder We would all intuitively expect that trading in your aircraft every year or two would be prohibitively expensive.  The graph and table support this.  The most expensive term studied was replacing every year.  What was surprising to us how quickly the curve flattened out and how long it stays flat. This supports the notion that there is no bad answer.

Where the curve flattens out on the graph, around the 6 year mark is where we begin to recommend replacement.  After the curve flattens there is no significant penalty for choosing any term in the study.  Said a different way, you could own a new G550for 15 years for roughly the same cost as owning two new aircraft during that same 15 year period.

The G550 works particularly well with this model largely because it does well in terms of retaining its value over time. An aircraft model that gets slaughtered in resale value does not fare as well.  Which is as strong an argument for buying an aircraft type that has maintained a good residual value history as I can come up with.  Every airplane is different and should be studied but the model works with used as well as new.

It is important to consider that these are costs predicted in a perfect world. There are many other factors involved when deciding how long to own an aircraft including:

Residual Value Risk

In a volatile economy like we experienced in 2008 and 2009, newer aircraft maintain their residual value better than older aircraft of the same type. When a recovery happens the newer aircraft will recover quicker. What we are seeing today is that older aircraft are not likely to recover at all.

Regulatory Compliance

Newer aircraft have far less risk of becoming non-compliant in the increasingly more complex regulatory environment. Compliance on an older aircraft can come at a cost that is a significant percentage of the value of the airplane.

Life Cycle Cost is only one way to look at the capital issues surrounding aircraft ownership and optimal ownership intervals. It is important to view your capital expense in the same format as your company looks at it.   Do you lease aircraft, finance them, or pay cash?  Is P&L important or earnings per share?  However your company looks at capital we recommend you take a good look at ownership interval.  You might be able to replace your aircraft sooner than you think..

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The Importance of Regional Aviation Groups

While the National Business Aviation Association promotes business aviation at the national and federal level, it is up to regional aviation groups to play this role at the state and local level.

Since the business aviation industry, federally and locally, seems to constantly be targeted as an area of government focus, it is important that smaller state organizations exist to establish and maintain a positive presence amongst state and local governments.

Composed mainly of volunteers having an interest in the general well-being of the industry in their region, in order to successfully represent and serve the needs of local aviation businesses and communities, members must be willing to put forth the time and effort needed to foster an environment that business aviation can thrive in.

It is not only important to be proactive lobbyers in years when potentially negative legislation is being proposed, but to also remain relevant and continue to educate policy and decision makers in years when immediate threats are not being posed. Using the Connecticut Business Aviation Group as an example, it is amazing to see the power and influence an organization can have when their members band together to communicate their goals and objectives to legislators. In recent years, the CT Business Aviation Group has played a critical role in the growth and success of the Connecticut business aviation industry. We have been instrumental in warding off an onerous property tax bill, fought for and obtained a tax exemption on aircraft parts and maintenance, successfully argued for a runway safety area at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, and convinced legislators of the need for a general aviation caucus.

The regional organizations do not have to act alone. The NBAA places a large focus on supporting regional aviation groups, with regional representatives around the country responsible for promoting general aviation in their given territories. These representatives are easily accessible and always a vital resource ready and willing to support.

Regional aviation associations must also serve as forums for the different members of the business aviation community to exchange ideas and share knowledge. Group gatherings and events serve as great ways to further the mission of the organization, learn from industry leading thought leaders, and network with their colleagues from the region.

As Chair of the CT Business Aviation Group, I look forward to connecting with other state aviation groups and learning of similar success stories at the Regional Aviation Group Forum at the annual NBAA convention this year.

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When Does Fractional Lift Make Sense

If you walk into a hangar today and ask for opinions regarding fractional lift you will get a wide variety of answers.  You could hear anything from “it’s the biggest innovation in recent aviation history” to “it’s overpriced and a waste of money.”  At Guardian Jet, we believe fractional lift is an excellent tool when used correctly.  There are several different situations in which fractional lift is a great tool.

Low Utilization

Possibly the most common usage of fractional aircraft is when the user does not fly enough hours to justify a whole aircraft.  If you only fly 100 hours per year it is hard to justify whole aircraft ownership and the lower capital cost model of fractional ownership makes sense.  At Guardian Jet, we have done several consulting projects establishing just when does aircraft ownership become less expensive than fractional ownership.  The outcome typically concludes at lower levels of utilization, 50-150 hours, fractional aircraft are more economical, while at higher levels of utilization, 250+, whole ownership is more cost effective.  Exactly where fractional lift becomes more expensive is a function of a number of variables including, new vs. used, deadhead percentage, Part 91 vs. Part 135, and the time value of money.

Supplemental Lift

Fractional aircraft ownership can also be a great tool if it is used to supplement fully owned aircraft.  Factional lift is a great tool when used for the following situations:

  • Trips originating and ending at locations far from the home base
  • Multiple aircraft are needed at one time
  • Fitting the right aircraft to the mission

Origin and Destination

Fractional aircraft have the benefit of not charging for deadhead hours, you only pay for when you are on the airplane.  This is highly beneficial in certain circumstances.  Consider the following two scenarios:

Let’s assume your wholly owned aircraft is based in Teterboro, NJ.  An executive based in Los Angeles needs to travel on the corporate aircraft from LA to Seattle and back to LA.  To accomplish this on the wholly owned aircraft would require two deadhead legs from Teterboro to Los Angeles.  With fractional the trip is easily completed with no deadhead paid for.

Again your wholly owned aircraft is based in Teterboro, NJ.  An executive needs to go to Los Angeles on Monday morning and return to Teterboro on Friday night.  Again, using fractional lift could help in this situation.  Instead of deadheading the aircraft home Monday afternoon and back to LA Friday afternoon, the fractional aircraft could be used to once again alleviate long deadhead legs.

Multiple Aircraft

Fractional ownership is extremely useful when more aircraft are needed than are owned.  For a one aircraft owner this could be as simple as two executives needing to go on a trip at the same time.  Even in large corporate fleets it can come in handy as well.  Board meetings are typically a great use of fractional aircraft as all the board members are flying from multiple destinations to arrive at one time.  While this can be a logistical nightmare, and perhaps impossible, with only fully owned aircraft, fractional aircraft can handle the mission with ease.

Fitting the Aircraft to the Mission

The option to upgrade or downgrade your aircraft to fit the mission is not possible in a wholly owned aircraft.  If a company flies 90% of their mission along the East Coast, but the other 10% is cross country trips, a fractionally owned aircraft could help.  Depending on the situation a fractionally purchased small aircraft could be upgraded to a super midsize aircraft to complete the long range mission or the company could have wholly owned small aircraft and supplement that with a super midsize fraction.

What are the Disadvantages of Fractional Ownership?

Obviously there are several advantages to fractionally owned aircraft, but there are also disadvantages.

Fractional lift becomes expensive when under or over utilized due to a large portion of the cost being fixed.  In a recent study Guardian Jet looked at a 200 hour share of a fractional aircraft to study the effects of underutilization to the hourly cost of the program.  The all-in hourly rate for a ¼ share of a Challenger 300 flown exactly 200 hours was $8,560.  If the same ¼ share is underutilized and flown 150 hours the hourly rate grows to $9,737.  If utilization drops even further to 100 hours, the hourly rate increases to over $12,000.  The same issues arise when the aircraft is over utilized and an overage penalty is incurred.  As you can see it becomes very important to match utilization to the number of hours purchased.

The hourly rate of operating a wholly owned aircraft, once an appropriate level of utilization is reached, will almost always be lower than that of a fractional aircraft.  Flying round trip Teterboro to Los Angeles trip will cost significantly less in a wholly owned aircraft if deadhead legs aren’t necessary.

Fractional aircraft also have higher rates for international trips based on the international destination.  International flying is drastically less expensive on a wholly owned aircraft than choosing fractional lift.

Summary

While it has its advantages and disadvantages, fractional lift can be an indispensable tool if used correctly in certain circumstances.  This low capital cost option has found its foothold in the corporate aircraft world and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Please give us a call today at (203) 453-0800 or shoot us a note if you have any questions regarding fractional ownership.

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Preparing Your Aircraft for Sale

At Guardian Jet we believe you should begin thinking about how to prepare your aircraft for sale before you purchase it.  There are a number of factors that will contribute to the eventual disposition price as well as the efficiency of the sales process.  Our goal is always to sell for as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Selling in the least amount of time is critical.  Aircraft that go to contract in the first 90 days after listing typically sell for a higher percentage of their calculated value than if they languish on the market. This is especially true in aircraft markets that are rapidly losing value.  My brother compares trying to sell in these markets to trying to catch a falling knife.

The easiest way to think about preparing an aircraft for sale is to consider what you would be looking for if you were buying this airplane.

Did we configure the aircraft to attract the largest percentage of buyers?

Is the aircraft on an engine program?

What is the condition of the paint and interior?

Do I move forward on avionics upgrades?

How much elasticity is there on pricing?

The truth is there is no easy answer to any of these questions and the answers vary depending on aircraft model and type.  We need to understand the data in the market you are selling in to provide the best answers.  Our goal is to eliminate as few buyers from the potential pool of buyers as possible.

Configuration

In smaller aircraft this is less of an issue but in three interior cabin zone aircraft the configuration can impact your ability to sell.  When purchasing the aircraft we should consider what percentage of the fleet has a forward vs aft galley.  Whether or not an aircraft has a forward lav. can dictate the markets available to sell into. Typically, European customers want the aft lav. to be for passengers only.

Unusual seating configurations can also create issues down the road.  Configuration is expensive to change and unusual configurations can eliminate potential buyers.

Engine Programs

EngineThis is a hotly debated issue in flight departments around the company. The data for your particular airplane market will point you in the right direction.

For example, in the last 6 months there have been 10 used sales of Gulfstream G550′s.  Eight out of the ten aircraft sold were on engine programs. Approximately 62% of the fleet is on an engine program.  Both sets of aircraft, on and off a program, sold for approximately the same percentage of our Aircraft Value Calculation (more on that in another blog). Our AVC uses the buy-in cost of the engine program as a hit to the value of the off program airplanes.

What this all means is that the aircraft on the engine programs are more in demand and the pricing impact is essentially neutral.  Our position is that if it is neutral put your aircraft on the program. No one ever passed an airplane because it was on an engine program but aircraft have been eliminated from consideration by buyers for not being on a program.

This is just one snapshot in the G550 market.  Each aircraft market is different and the data should be analyzed to make the best possible decision.

Paint and Interior

We believe a typical airplane should undergo aesthetic upgrades every 7-8 years.  On this schedule your aircraft will never be far away from the upgrade if you sell in the 7-12 year ownership term that many of our customers favor.  Buyers of aircraft with worn P&I are always looking for a deal.  Fresh, or more appropriately, regularly scheduled refurbishment will not eliminate any buyers.

Avionics/Connectivity

The alphabet soup of avionics regulatory compliance is upon us.  CPDLC, FANS 1A, ADS-B OUT compliance is expensive and therefore a big driver of value.  How and where you use your airplane can be a completely different issue than how the buyer of your airplane might use it.

In a newer, larger aircraft the answer is fairly simple, all the aircraft will be compliant.  But consider a 5 year old Challenger 300.  Bombardier is estimating half the 300 fleet will be upgraded to roughly mimic the new 350.  A high percentage of 300′s are primarily flown in U.S. domestic operations.  This is a much trickier question.  Understanding the particular aircraft model market and the available data on that market will help you make the best decision.

Pricing

Pricing correctly is the cornerstone of the ability to sell your aircraft for top dollar in less time. Correctly does not mean cheaply, we don’t want to leave money on the table.  There is no substitute for data in your pricing discussion.  First, we need to understand where the values aircraft are trading at in the marketplace. Then, we need to look at trends to have an idea of where the market is headed in the next 60-120 days. By combining these sets of information you can be comfortable that your aircraft will compete successfully on the market.

My favorite line about aircraft inventory for sale came from Dan Meisinger, Sr., the longtime owner of Executive Beechcraft in Kansas.  One day he told me, “Don, we ain’t had one forever yet”.  Most everything eventually sells.  But with the proper preparation we can maximize the value of our aircraft asset.

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The Aircraft Offer: 7 Deal Points for Success

Buying or selling an aircraft involves a myriad of people, paperwork, checklists, processes and procedures that need to be carefully orchestrated from start to finish. Leading off the purchase or sale transaction is typically the letter of intent (LOI) or purchase offer. No transactions are ever the same but each LOI does have some common elements that need to be addressed or at least contemplated since this sets the tone of the transaction as well as to ensure a successful conclusion.

PRICE

We like to say that buyers and sellers should fight like cats and dogs over price and the rest should fall into place in a way that is fair and equitable. As a buyer you don’t want to go in too low and the seller choose not to counter or worse yet, choose not to engage.

As a seller, your goal is to counter in a way that elicits further offers with the hopes of reaching the realm where you’d accept a deal.

DEPOSIT

Every offer should clearly spell out when the deposit goes nonrefundable. In a “soft deal” the buyer has the right to walk away up to a certain point in the transaction (typically within a day or two of the delivery of the results of the pre-purchase inspection).

In a “hard deal” the deposit becomes nonrefundable at the signature of the purchase and sale agreement meaning that, as long as the seller fixes the agreed upon discrepancies, the buyer is obligated to consummate the transaction barring any damage or other macro affect on the value of the aircraft.

DELIVERY CONDITIONS

A buyer and seller need to have an understanding of the general delivery condition of the aircraft. Items such as damage, status of logs/records as well as the airworthiness of the aircraft so that a definition of what a discrepancy will be should be fleshed out and agreed upon within the LOI.

PRE-PURCHASE INSPECTION

An understanding of the pre-purchase inspection is vital. Striking a balance between too detailed or not providing enough direction about what the buyer would like to see inspected is the challenge with outlining the pre-purchase inspection.

At a minimum, it should spell out where the aircraft shall be inspected, who is responsible for the costs to inspect, the rectification of any discrepancies and any timing aspects regarding the total duration.

PREPARATION OF THE PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT

Ask any broker or aviation lawyer about who has the right to draft the subsequent purchase and sale agreement and you’ll be presented with several answers each with their own defensible argument why they are right. Sellers like to think they should be able to serve up the first cut of the draft. Buyers will argue they are making the offer so they too should have the right.

Hashing out who prepares the first draft within the LOI will save from having each side racing to complete a draft and worse yet, shifting the focus from putting together an amenable deal.

TIMING

The LOI should set forth a basic timeline for the major transaction milestones such as:

  • How many days from the execution of the offer is the deposit due?
  • How long does the buyer have to decide if they conditionally accept the aircraft after the inspection (in the case of a soft deal).
  • How many days do the parties have to close after the rectification of any discrepancies and the aircraft’s return to service?
  • Perhaps the most important timing item is how long is the offer in effect and how long the parties have to consummate the purchase and sale agreement. Not having one or both of these items in the LOI can have disastrous effects for either the seller or buyer depending on which side you are on.

MOVEMENT FEES

Clearly spelling out who is responsible for the cost of the various movements of the aircraft and at what rate helps lay the ground work for a more detailed definition in the subsequent purchase and sale agreement. Both parties should remember the guidelines set forth for charging or recouping those costs are spelled out clearly in 14 C.F.R. 91.501(d). It also may be a good idea to spell out such items as where the aircraft will be moved for any visual inspections, the pre-buy location and the delivery location.

SPECIAL CONDITIONS

Depending on the situation, the depth of detail the parties want to delve into and any special circumstances associated with the transaction, one or both parties may want to address such items as confidentiality, governing law, binding versus non-binding, and taxes.

The items above are a few of the most important items that should be incorporated into an LOI. The framework agreed to by the buyer and seller in the LOI will serve as the bridge to lead to the more formal and robust aircraft purchase and sale agreement used to provide the detail that will then guide the sale and purchase of the asset.

Given the expectations it sets forth between the parties, it is important to strike a balance. An LOI that is too detailed can unnecessarily slow down the process. An LOI too basic can lead to the unrealistic expectations from both parties when the first draft of the subsequent purchase and sale agreement is served up. The goal is to strike a balance in order to get a deal moving.

There is no hard or fast rule about involving either your internal legal counsel and/or also involving outside aviation legal counsel at this stage.  It typically comes down to each client’s preference, culture or comfort level with buying and selling aircraft. In addition, the deal structure, such as a first time purchase or the need to incorporate a 1031 Like-Kind Exchange, will also often dictate how many additional players will need to be consulted throughout a client’s organization in order to come to terms on an LOI. Regardless, the goal is crafting an LOI that both parties will use to reach an accord and move the deal into the next phase with the eye towards closing the deal.

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GoGo Biz Data Plan Changes

Aircell has recently sent out a customer letter to current subscribers detailing changes coming to the network and announcing new monthly service plans.  The new service plans will take effect on July 16, 2014.

Gogo Biz Unlimited No More

The biggest change is the announcement that Gogo Biz Unlimited will no longer be available.  Any aircraft on an active Unlimited data plan as of July 15 will have the opportunity to keep the Unlimited plan through December 15, 2016.  The current monthly rate of $2,295 will increase to $2,395.  Aircell has promised that rate will not increase by more than $100/month per year.

New Gogo Biz Data Plans and Pricing

Below is a chart Aircell provided with the new plans and pricing.  Aircell’s Multi-Aircraft Discount program will now be available on all Gogo Biz plans.

Gogo Biz Data Plan

Monthly Service Fee

Data Included

Fee/Additional MB

Migration Plan for Existing Customers

Gogo Biz 60

$395

60MB

$7.95/MB

All active Gogo Biz 40 subscribers will automatically move to this plan on July 16, 2014

Gogo Biz 250

$1,195

250MB

$4.95/MB

All active Gogo Biz 100 subscribers will automatically move to this plan on July 16, 2014

Gogo Biz 2500

$2,395

2.5GB

$1.95/MB

Gogo Biz 5000

$3,995

5.0GB

$0.95/MB

What Does This Mean?

Aircell states the majority of existing Gogo Biz data customers will experience no increase in their monthly bill and this is probably the case.

Aircell presumably has placed the data plans at levels where the majority of their clients fall into.  The Gogo Biz 2500 plan will most likely fit the need of anyone currently on the Gogo Biz Unlimited plan.  This does mean operators will have to start tracking data usage, which previously was unnecessary.

The flat monthly fee and unlimited nature of Gogo Biz Unlimited was a primary reason for many users to jump on the Gogo Biz train and why Gogo Biz Unlimited has become as popular as it has.  It will be interesting to see the effect of this on the growth of Gogo Biz.

Despite this announcement, Gogo Biz figures to be around for a long time.  With an upcoming expansion of service into Canada and an ever-increasing network, Gogo is still a low cost domestic data option compared to its satellite-based competitors.

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The FAA Civil Aircraft Registry is Back Open for Business!

We’ve reached out to our escrow contacts and have confirmed that the FAA Civil Aviation Registry is indeed back open this morning. However, they are confirming that the backlog is large and it is going to take quite a bit of time before things are back to normal. Below is a note that one of our escrow agents sent along yesterday:

“Please take into consideration that when the FAA reopens, it is not going to be business as usual. They are going to have a terrible backlog of documents that have been mailed in during the time they have been closed, as well as those that will be filed by all of the title companies when FAA reopens. The FAA averages receipt of 3,000 documents a day, so we are probably talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 documents that will have to be scanned in and indexed in prior to us being able to tell you that there have been no liens filed during the closure and that we can transfer free and clear title to an aircraft. I am guessing it could take as long as 10 days to get all of these documents indexed in, but this is just a guess at this point.”

Regardless of the above, we here at Guardian Jet, and I think the Business Aviation community as a whole, are very happy that we can once again get back to the business of buying and selling aircraft on behalf of our clients.

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Government Shutdown Causes Halt to Aircraft Sales

As the Government marched towards a shutdown it was hard to avoid the many news stories about how exactly we, the citizens of theses United States of America would be affected.  As I perused the stories looking for tidbits about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), I was met with news that most of the functions within the FAA wouldn’t be closed given that they were deemed “essential”.  In addition, history has shown that those of us in the business aviation industry haven’t even a hint of turbulence from prior shutdowns.

Just to be sure, I visited the National Business Aviation Association’s website and was met with the following article: Government Shutdown Expected to Have Limited Immediate Impact on Essential Aviation Safety Services. Feeling confident that everything was status quo, I didn’t think much more of it until mid-morning on Tuesday, October 1st, the first day of the shutdown.

Given that Guardian Jet is in the business of buying and selling aircraft on behalf of our clients, we rely heavily on the functions associated with the FAA’s Civil Aircraft Registry as this is the department that handles registrations and titles for all of our domestic aircraft from private planes to airliners.  Therefore, I was shocked to learn early yesterday morning that this time around, the Government decided that this division within the FAA was not “essential” and therefore, our ability to buy and sell aircraft have come to a screeching halt.

More specifically, the current shutdown means parties will not be able to conduct title searches, obtain FAA records, file documents with the FAA, or obtain International Registry codes (i.e., file 135 forms) for closings involving U.S. registered aircraft and related engines.  Again, this affects every aircraft owner no matter how big or small.

Obviously this directly affects our ability to do business but please keep in mind that by shuttering the FAA Registry, there will be no new aircraft deliveries (not only for the business aviation OEM’s but for Boeing and the others as well), no changes in registration, and no pre-owned sales, etc.

The purpose of this post this morning is to alert our industry that we’ve come to a screeching halt and thus far, I haven’t read a single main stream or industry article that is making our industry aware of this issue. Case in point, here is AIN’s headline in their weekly AIN Alerts from yesterday: Government Shutdown Has No Immediate Effect on Aviation

Those that were trying to close an aircraft sale yesterday or today are coming to the realization that this is a real threat to our industry but I’m asking that you please consider helping spread the word given that this shutdown could once again cause another setback in what is already a very fragile and slow recovery.

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Update on Guardian Jet’s New Corporate Headquarters

The following article appeared in the September 5, 2013 Edition of the Guilford Courier.

Guilford Green to Get New Life Soon

Published 09/04/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 09/03/2013 02:28 PM

By Karena Garrity
Guiford Courier

For the past few years, the building at 102 Broad Street, on the corner at the north end of the Guilford Green, has been vacant. The building, last occupied by Trailblazer, acts as an introduction to the Green’s entrance, however over the years, a variety of additions and changes in use had left the structure in less than favorable condition.

This architect’s rendering shows the planned renovations to the building at 102 Broad Street.

Breathing new life back into the area, local business Guardian Jet will move its expanding staff into the second floor of the unique building, occupying the space for office use.

“We are so excited about our move to this prime, dream location,” said Guardian Jet co-founder Mike Mikolay. “Who wouldn’t want to work on the Guilford Green? It is a beautiful area, with a neat unique atmosphere.”

He added, “We have clients and industry professionals that come and visit us. We are proud to have those people come and see how beautiful Guilford is, especially the historic Green.”

Guardian Jet has been steadily growing since its inception 12 years ago. The business, started by Mikolay and Mike Dwyer, buys and sells aircraft on behalf of its clientele.

It started off in Guilford and then moved to Tweed because of growth, then returned to Guilford. Expanding again, the business had a goal to remain in the town that many of its employees call home, including Mikolay.

“We specifically looked for space in Guilford that would accommodate our growing business and we are so excited to have found this special space,” said Mikolay.

Currently cramped in 3,000 square feet at its 1445 Boston Post Road location, Guardian Jet will gain an additional 1,500 square feet of space with the move, which hopefully will accommodate the business for several years to come. Medical offices will move into the space at 1445 Boston Post Road.

“It is great to keep a growing, successful business in town,” said Brian McGlone, Guilford’s economic development coordinator.

Renovating the gateway building has been a serious undertaking for owner Doug Anderson, as well as architect Joseph Bergin, of Joseph Bergin Architect P.C. of Essex. Bergin calls the renovation “an adaptive reuse alteration project.

“This building was a dilapidated mish-mash with more than a century and a half of construction layering. In conceiving this alteration project, we were mindful of the building’s primary asset-namely, its privileged location on the Guilford Green,” explained Bergin. “Aligned with the vision of the building’s owner, our aim was to restore a pride of place that has been absent from that spot for quite some time, and thereby contribute to the strength and vitality of the community and surrounding area.”

Building on that concept, architect Russell Campaigne of Campaigne Kestner Architects in Guilford said, “It is great to bring people to the downtown area to occupy the empty spaces and support the other businesses.”

Campaigne has worked closely with Guardian Jet to design a space that fits the company’s needs, placing the executive offices in the front portion of the building, which is the historic area, and leaving the back portion with a more industrial, modern, open contemporary loft-style feeling.

“We were in the rare situation, because Guardian is the first, large tenant to the space, to have the chance to impact the interior design in regard to the style and set up,” explained Campaigne.

Anderson gutted the space to the shell eight months ago and has been working to build it back up again, from the inside out. It has now been updated throughout, with an elevator and made handicapped accessible.

The building has five leasable spaces. The “street level” space on Broad Street has 2,000 square feet available and has been designed to house what Anderson hopes will be a high-end restaurant that fits in nicely with the area. Another 1,000 square feet, where the original wood clapboard meets the brick segment of the buildings is also available. According to Anderson, this area would make a great bakery/food establishment. Still another space has access to the lower level office space that Anderson thinks would be great for a “creative” area. In addition, there is some extra office space still available.

“Guardian Jet is a great asset to the town and the downtown area. I am glad we could make the space work to keep them in Guilford. They are the catalyst for the occupancy of this building and we are hoping that other occupants follow suit soon,” said Anderson.

Hopes are to have the space ready for occupancy by the beginning of January 2014.

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