The dawn of the bizjet era was somewhere around the year 2005 in China. In fact Aviatrade Asia attended the very first mainland bizjet ABACE show in Shanghai, that year. Hong Kong had been somewhat more attuned to the bizjet world, but the numbers of bizjets was still comparatively small at the time, even in Hong Kong.
From 2005 until around 2010, the bizjet buyers in China were almost exclusively buying from the OEM’s. Not only did China buyers want ‘new’, as in ‘from the OEM’ but they were prepared to wait, sometimes years, for the delivery of the brand new bizjet.
Pre-Owned Bizjet Trend
From around 2010 onwards, Aviatrade Asia noted a slow but steady upswing in pre-owned transactions emanating from China. These buyers are buying predominantly, in fact, almost exclusively, from outside of China and using foreign expertise to perform the transactions.
As more and more pre-owned jets entered the China bizjet fleet, other potential owners began to take note and as a result, these new-entrant buyers became more familiar with the value-proposition of a pre-owned aircraft and less sensitive to the ‘image’ or ‘face’ aspect of owning a pre-owned bizjet. ……Aviatrade Asia has heard reports of pre-owned bizjet owners’ guests who believe that they are flying on a brand new aircraft.
Today we have a number of relatively new factors influencing the bizjet-buying decisions in China, not least of which is the advent of government policies that have clearly slowed the acquisition flow, especially when buying brand new bizjets from the OEM’s.
China Seller Issues
There are currently many sellers of bizjets in China but unfortunately a combination of reasons is either slowing or preventing a sale…..for instance, higher-than-(international)market expectations of selling price and attempts (by sellers) to recoup import duty and sales tax are the top reasons. There are also technical concerns; a low time bizjet selling from China has, by definition, spent a lot of time sitting on the ground …and rarely, if ever, are these bizjets protected in a hangar. Therefore there are serious concerns about corrosion. These issues are becoming better understood by bizjet buyers in China looking to maximize their buying power.
Aviatrade Asia was recently fortunate enough to acquire a Gulfstream G550 from a Hong Kong seller. This G550 sold immediately, primarily because this owner (one of the wealthiest families in Hong Kong) had ‘hangared’ the G550 since new. The bizjet’s excellent condition was clearly a function of it being protected in a hangar, when not in use. The new owner, (also an Aviatrade Asia client), is the president of the largest internet marketplace in mainland China.
These overall market dynamics are now being noticed by would-be bizjet buyers in China and these buyers are realizing that the rapid post-acquisition depreciation of these brand new bizjets can be avoided if they look to the pre-owned market (outside of China) for acquisitions. The rapid depreciation is exacerbated by the fact that the OEM’s are quite adept at ‘upselling’ to China buyers…ie., offering many expensive options that will not recoup their cost at resale. Friends talk to friends and business associates do likewise, they compare notes and tales of their bizjet acquisition experiences in this slowly maturing marketplace, therefore more and more potential buyers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and educated about the choices and options available…namely, in the high-end, pre-owned market.
Enter; the opportunity to purchase a very late model ultra-long-range pre-owned bizjet at millions of dollars below new price !
There are an ever-increasing number of 2012-2015 delivered bizjets that are currently as much as $8-10MM below the prices of the exact same models only a year ago. For example G650’s are selling below $60MM (2012/13 model) and Global 6000 2014 models can be bought for less than $40MM.
This is a phenomenon that will not disappear in the near future. The OEM’s are eager to promote newer models (G500/G600/Falcon 8X/Global 7000) and this in turn creates a niche for buyers who want a bizjet that looks like brand new, but at a significant discount to brand new prices.
Current global economic conditions also favor a bargain-hunter in the luxury end of the bizjet market. It is no secret that, for example, Russian sellers of high-end assets (super yachts/bizjets) are very eager to make deals at the lowest prices imaginable.
These pre-owned models perform just as well as their brand new counterparts and especially when warranty is available, there is no real difference in operating costs. In fact, the range, payload and performance characteristics of these upper-echelon bizjets has sort of reached a plateau, at least for the immediate future…..and any interior outfitting changes can be easily accommodated.
Bizjet Interior Re-design
A buyer can pre-arrange for a complete interior refurbishment of a pre-owned bizjet. Aviatrade Asia works with a number of bizjet interior designers, such as Alberto Pinto (see attached PDF for photos) who can create a highly customized interior that can be installed immediately after an acquisition. This process takes only four-six months and is therefore a much quicker delivery than OEM brand new deliveries.
Whilst the advantages of late-model pre-owned bizjets are self-evident, the pricing of these bizjets must be understood; The published asking prices quite often bear no relationship to the real selling price and there is no public record of these bizjet transactions. Therefore a buyer should be advised by an internationally experienced company that is able to access non-public information and inform the buyer about real prices in current transactions.
……Aviatrade Asia recently signed an LOI on a Gulfstream G450 on behalf of a US client…the price was two million dollars below wholesale value and three million dollars below the initial asking price.
The pre-owned bizjet value proposition, especially at the high-end of the model ranges, is even greater today than ever before….however, as they say in the West “caveat emptor” !