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How to Find Aircraft for Sale
The Internet Can Be Incredibly Helpful As You Prepare to Purchase a Plane
Business owners and independently-wealthy travelers are learning that commercial airlines are inconvenient and time-consuming, so they’ve taken matters into their own hands.
As a result, the private aviation industry is booming, as more and more people clamor to find aircraft for sale to meet their travel needs.
But buying a private jet is a complicated and lengthy process that requires the guidance of an expert, like a reputable dealer or broker, and a reliable source of information on planes available for purchase. And surprisingly, your first task isn’t looking at listings.
Your First Task Involves Doing a Lot of Math
Light aircraft and turboprops are less expensive to own than large, long-haul jets, but they still require a good amount of money every year to remain operational. That’s right - it’s not just the purchase price you have to come up with.
Unlike a house, where you can defer maintenance or upgrades and continue living there safely for years, a private jet requires ongoing care, several insurance policies, and a variety of fees you must pay before you can fly anywhere.
Together with your chief financial officer or accountant, you’ll need to delve into your finances and determine how much you can afford to pay for your private jet year after year.
You’ll need to prove that you are capable of paying for a jet, either through a loan, or with money you already have on hand. You’ll need documents stating as much before you can proceed with a purchase.
If becoming a full owner of a business jet isn’t affordable, you can consider other options that free you from commercial air travel: jet cards, charter planes, or fractional ownership.
Hire an Aircraft Dealer to Work for You
Think of an aircraft dealer like a real estate agent. They can help you find reputable listings of jets for sale, and also guide you through the purchase process to ensure it goes smoothly. An aircraft dealer should work for you, and you alone, never representing both sides of the transaction.
Your aircraft dealer can also point you in the direction of honest listings of aircraft for sale, so you never fall victim to bait-and-switch tactics or confusing listings for charter services or fractional ownership, if that isn’t what you’re looking for.
Speaking of honest listings, did you know that some jet listing websites don’t require any sort of credentials to prove that the aircraft listed for sale is actually real? These websites are full of inaccuracies that waste your time and make the jet-buying process a more frustrating experience than it needs to be.
Any listing website you look through should require all sellers to prove their aviation industry credentials, and vet and verify each aircraft listed for sale there. It’s easy to find this out; just ask your dealer, or attempt to make a profile for yourself to see just how easy it is.
Read and Understand Every Listing
Mileage on an odometer is nothing to a jet. What’s really important are the cycles and engine hours.
If you didn’t know this already, then you need to brush up on the information that should be present in every listing of a jet for sale. Having at least a baseline knowledge will help guide your purchase decision, so you won’t feel buyer’s remorse later when you need to upgrade quickly or when you realize you don’t love the amenities onboard.
Always Have Inspections Performed
The private aviation industry is just as competitive, if not more competitive, than the housing market in major cities. There are far more jet buyers than there is inventory. That said, you may be tempted to waive inspections on a used jet as a ploy to get the seller to accept your purchase offer.
But when it comes to aircraft, this is a terrible idea. Aircraft inspections determine whether an aircraft is skyworthy and safe to fly, as well as investigate major maintenance or upgrade needs, so you’re well-informed before signing on the dotted line. Never skip an inspection, for your own safety - and because it’ll likely cost you a pretty penny later.
Finding a private jet that suits your needs can take years. Unlike housing or a vehicle, aircraft acquisitions are governed by many laws, particularly if you plan to fly internationally. The process involves the creation and distribution of many documents, various inspections, and the submission of proof of insurance, just to name a few.
The time-consuming process is all worth it in the end, though, when you’re free to fly about the globe in your aircraft.