Jahid Fazal-Karim, Owner and Chairman of the Board, Jetcraft

Please introduce us to Jetcraft, what do you specialise in?

Jetcraft is the largest international buyer, seller and trader of business aircraft. Through our 55+ year history, we have amassed a global presence, with more than 20 offices worldwide. Our Sales Directors know the local market, speak the local language and have facilitated numerous aircraft transactions in each locale. This unique global structure means we are positioned to provide regional on-the-ground expertise and ‘up-to-the-minute’ insight within any region, and there is always a Jetcraft representative within a few hours from any one of our customers. 

How did Jetcraft begin?

Jetcraft was founded in 1962 by Charles ‘Bucky’ Oliver, making it one of the oldest and most well-established aircraft transaction specialists. In 1987, the company began operating under the name Jetcraft and I became co-owner in 2008. As international markets presented new opportunities for business aviation and long-range/ large business jets became more preferred, we grew from a primarily US-based organization to an expanding international corporation with the introduction of operations in Russia, Dubai, Switzerland, Asia, Turkey, Australia, Africa and the UK. 

We have facilitated hundreds of aircraft transactions during our existence, including more than 620 deals worth more than $12 billion in the last decade alone. Over the past 12 months, we’ve opened a new London HQ office and doubled the size of our European team, and we just celebrated a significant milestone for the company, completing more than 100 transactions in a single year. Looking ahead, our plan is to continue to cater exactly to the market’s demands without losing the intimate family that Jetcraft has always been and will remain to be.

What does Jetcraft have above its competitors? What does it offer that nobody else in the market does?

We are extremely proud of our rich history and experienced team. But it’s our global reach that allows us to connect buyers and sellers across the world, help them find the best value and structure a seamless transaction to meet their needs. It’s simple in principle, but only feasible to do quickly and effectively if you have a solid network of offices and expertise in place.

Furthermore, our financial strength has allowed Jetcraft to create a unique position in the industry, situated between a traditional broker and a manufacturer. We have one of the world’s largest inventories of new and pre-owned aircraft and we’re one of few companies with the resources to invest in owned aircraft, allowing us the ability take in trades and offer our customers a seamless transaction.

What are the benefits of owning a private jet?

An aircraft owner can enjoy the comfort and efficiency of a consistent experience every time they fly. From cabin layout to onboard amenities, they know the ins and outs of the aircraft they will travel on and can take full advantage of its offerings. As an owner, they can also choose to hire a consistent crew that they know and trust, and that know their preferences.

Then, personalisation—just like owning a home, owning an aircraft allows you to configure it exactly to your personal taste and needs. It also offers the ability to tailor the flight experience to meet the specific trip requirements.

Finally, an aircraft owner has complete control. The only way to be in full control of your private-flying experience is to acquire your own aircraft. Owners have the freedom to make changes or extensions to a trip at the last minute without having to ask if the charter company can accommodate. Ownership also provides you the autonomy over your aircraft maintenance and crew training, ensuring everything meets your level of specifications.  Buying and selling business aircraft is really buying and selling “time.”    

What are the current trends you are seeing in the private aviation industry?

Jetcraft’s fourth annual 10-year business aviation Market Forecast – released in Q4 last year – predicts the trends that will shape the industry over the next decade. Within the latest report, we are forecasting 8,736 new aircraft will be delivered by 2027, representing $271 billion in revenues and a steady growth continuing over the forecast period.   

Our industry is comprised of ultra-high net-worth individuals and corporate clients. 

On the UHNWI side, we are seeing opportunities.  Worldwide wealth creation has spurred growth in family offices, which are now offering a wide variety of specialized services, including business aviation. This is exposing more ultra-high net worth individuals to the industry than ever before and driving the increase in overall private aviation use, including private jet charter, as well as fractional and full aircraft ownership.

However, there are more challenges with corporations in the near term.  Fortune 500 companies have yet to return to historical aircraft purchase levels due to focusing on other financial priorities, such as share buybacks and paying down debt.  They are, therefore, unlikely to jump back into purchasing aircraft for another few years. 

In terms of jet preference, it is predicted that larger, widebody aircraft will remain in high demand over the next decade.

You mentioned ‘wide body’ aircraft as a key trend. Why are customers moving toward wide body jets and what do you see in the future in this sector?

We’ve seen more and more customers preferring larger, long-range aircraft to support their needs in today’s global business environment.  Jetcraft predicts 98% of new models over the next 10 years will be widebody aircraft and all new aircraft model programs, both announced and projected, during the forecast period are exclusively widebodies.   

Our forecast also predicts that the large jet category will constitute 32% of total units (2,778) and 64% of total revenue over the next decade.  Our clients’ regular trip used to be Minneapolis to Chicago; now it’s Minneapolis to London. The longer distances, the more foreign visits, the bigger the need for large-cabin, long range aircraft to suit that mission.

The rest of this interview will be published at a later date.