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Selling Aircraft During COVID-19By Kathy Wrobel of Prairie Aircraft Sales - www.prairieaircraft.comIt has been a very busy year with aircraft sales here at Prairie Aircraft Sales Ltd. The year started off great; we were in the midst of the springtime shows when everything came to a screeching halt. March, all into lockdown. I remember driving back from Edmonton early the next morning after the show was shut down thinking about the hundreds of people I had seen in the last month with the other shows I had been attending. The handshakes, hugs and close conversations.
When I did get home I self isolated for 2 weeks and worked from home. My husband and I both continued to work from home for about 6 weeks. When he was called back to work I also returned to my office at Springbank Airport.
I continued to travel, and having my own aircraft to get around in was a huge benefit. ( I highly recommend it, and I can help you achieve that!) I was able to fly everywhere to view aircraft and meet clients in a fast and efficient manner. What a lifesaver that was and still is for that matter.
With proper precautions and social distancing, meeting with clients, and viewing and reviewing aircraft has not been a problem at all.
Some of our out of Country buyers are challenged by not being able to touch and feel an aircraft prior to purchase. They are not allowed into the country and owners are not prepared to move an aircraft just for someone to look at without a commitment. These folks are few and far between and the majority of buyers have confidence in the shops that we have here to do the inspections for them and we are able to deliver the aircraft without a problem as the pilots are essential services.
There are many options with our current technology to see an aircraft when you are not able to view it in person including face time, digital photos, and video. The key is to have trust in the people you are dealing with. I know that is sometimes hard for some and impossible for others, but we do what we can to provide the buyers with that comfort level and it has worked well many times over.
There are so many excellent maintenance shops that are able to do very detailed inspections and complete imports/exports for the buyers/sellers that movements out of the country have hardly slowed down at all. For our clients from the United States, we are able to have the aircraft fully US registered before it leaves the country, that way the buyer can start flying their new aircraft as soon as they get it. It is a process, but all the work is done behind the scenes by our team of experts and the process appears seamless to the buyer and seller.
We are even able to do the test flight for the buyer and the pilot can show the systems working via video. Nothing is off limits with today’s technology, let’s let it work for us in these current times where we are not able to have all the face to face we had before.
Aircraft of all sizes are able to be sold in this fashion. Some of the shops for the larger aircraft have a longer wait time for inspections, mainly as there are not as many available, but we still have that option to do it right here in Canada as opposed to always taking an aircraft to the US for inspections and prebuys.
Let’s keep our work here, let’s use our local shops, if the buyers south of the border want our aircraft, which they do, they can have the aircraft completely US registered by our own facilities and delivered by our own ferry pilots. That way we keep the work here, support our own facilities, and still get the job completed with efficiency and expertise. Those who insist it must be their maintenance shop or they will not proceed, miss out on a great aircraft. We don’t worry about the deals that go that way, as there are always other buyers for a good aircraft.
When Covid first hit we had buyers making very low offers trying to take advantage of the fear that values would drop dramatically. We did not encourage that behaviour and as it turned out, the opposite has been true.
More people want their own aircraft and feel safer flying in an atmosphere they have control over. Buyers are looking for faster more efficient aircraft to take them longer distances. I certainly understand that as it is really working for me in my day to day business.
Commercial flights are much fewer and farther between as well as triple the price they used to be. Where you could previously take a commercial flight for $250.00, that same flight is now $700.00. I can fly my own aircraft for far less than that, keep my own schedule, and stay safe.
So let’s get flying everyone, if you have an aircraft and you have not been flying, get it in the air or call us to find it a new home so that it can be where it needs to be, in the sky. There are so many aircraft that I see sitting, waiting for someone to take them to the skies. There are many pilots looking for a good aircraft to fly, let’s get them together!
Even if you have an aircraft that has been sitting for a while and you are concerned about the condition, there are numerous shops that will take that project on and get it ready for flight. Time to get the aircraft in the air people, let’s fly, fly safe, and have fun!
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