Tuesday 30th October 2012

As head of The Jet Business, the world's first showroom for brokering pre-owned business jets located in London, Steve Varsano has the ear of many aircraft operator CEOs and chief pilots from all over the globe.

He also sits on the Board of XOJET in San Francisco, California, one of the top three US business aviation charter firms and provides them, along with his regular clients, with unbiased, expert opinion on aircraft characteristics and market trends. The Jet Business is currently marketing a Challenger 605 for XOJET (N635XJ).

Steve Varsano will be at NBAA, the world's biggest business aviation show in Orlando next week, encouraged by signs that after four years of stagnation, America is starting to order new aircraft again. Gulfstream and Bombardier especially are seeing a marked spike in activity in the centre of the country which they have not seen since the economic crisis struck in 2008, he notes.

New aircraft deliveries to the USA actually rose 20% in the first half of 2012 compared with the same period last year, highlights Varsano, quoting JetNet statistics.

The Jet Business, which specialises in the sale of pre-owned business jets and executive helicopters using its London street front showroom as a unique marketing platform, has tripled its portfolio of pre-owned aircraft since it opened its doors in January.

Recent additions include a 2010 Challenger 605, a brand new Boeing BBJ, Gulfstream G550, 2010 Gulfstream 450 and a 2005 and 2008 Global Express XRS, but the broader picture, he notes, is that pre-owned bizjet inventories in the US are declining compared with a year ago.

The overall average asking price for pre-owned aircraft has increased by 7% compared with the same period in 2011, notes Varsano. Aircraft with tight supply markets today he says are the Gulfstream 150, the Falcon 2000 EX EASy, the 900LX, and late model Gulfstream G550 and Bombardier Global XRS's. Aircraft on the market for the least amount of days have recently been low time executive airliners, underlining the strength at that end of the scale.


XOJet, meanwhile, the six year-old company recently reported it has grown 55% year on year in terms of flying hours which puts it as leader in the private jet charter market, and in contrast with a single digit growth for the whole of the US charter industry, where fractional flying is down 10%.

"The trend we now see in the United States market is that customers are moving away from the business models such as fractional or jet cards.

While these vehicles once defined the industry, customers are now looking for a full-service provider that accommodate a wide portfolio of flying needs," said Blair LaCorte, CEO of XOJET. "Our growth has largely been driven by and being customer-focused and recognizing this customer evolution. Our customers have found that with XOJET, they can get consistently superb service and quality without a major financial commitment or risk. Our growth is clearly driven by people making more informed decisions about how they fly."


Both The Jet Business and XOJET have invested heavily in iPad technology to shape their businesses. A customized iPad application powers TJB's showroom technology which compares and contrasts 126 aircraft types to an individual's profile.

A mobile version will be demonstrated by The Jet Business sales team at NBAA. XOJET has installed Wi-FI on all of its jets and offers free high-speed internet access on all of its planes. The value of the on-board Wi-Fi network has been seen both in the front and back of the plane.

XOJET pilots now use an iPad for integrated and automatic safety updates, flight planning, monitoring weather and airport information in real time and for keeping up with all maintenance diagnostics. XOJET clients rely on the Wi-Fi to stay connected during flights. Being able to deliver 'a flying office' for their clients has made a difference in helping XOJET create a loyal customer base.

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