Industry News

December 2008 Issue

Are Sales DOA? Hardly, But Buyers Rule

Even with the Dow’s wild ride, buyers are still writing checks. On older airplanes, sellers need to get the prices right, but the best deals are in late-model used, especially Cirrus.

You know the world has changed when your financial advisor calls gushing about what a great day the market had. It lost only 300 points on moderate trading and he’s certain the bottom is near. (Until, that is, investors find a way to tap yet deeper negative stratas.) In days of yore, stock market fluctuations far more benign than what we’ve seen since August have tended to spook airplane buyers into slamming their wallets shut. It stands to reason, then, that the current blood bath on Wall Street should have sent buyers burrowing deep underground, right? Not really, according to our recent survey of aircraft brokers we know. No one would describe the market as booming, but our interviews with brokers revealed less softness than we would have expected and, more important, there are some surprisingly good opportunities for buyers seeking deals on late-model used aircraft—prices are reasonable, inventory is high and sellers are adapting to this new reality. The world is less rosy for owners trying to sell run-of-the-mill, average airplanes, but these airplanes can still move, if the seller is willing to get the price right. (That’s another way of saying if you’ve got an average airframe tending toward the beater side of the spectrum, don’t expect to get a price anywhere near Bluebook value.)

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