Getting their rotary fix: The Jet Business expands
April 26, 2012, London, U.K. - The Jet Business founder Steve Varsano and his marketing team travel to Geneva for Europe’s premier business aviation show, EBACE, during 13-16th May to highlight their new added proposition - helicopters.
By Carey Fredericks
Hard on the heels of its successful opening of the world’s first showroom for business jets, which has seen hundreds of visitors welcomed through its doors, the company will be meeting with executive helicopter OEMs as it moves to expand its unique offering.
The enthusiasm is driven by the increasing interest The Jet Business is receiving from clients visiting from emerging markets. “We have renderings for an executive helicopter app which we are now fine-tuning ready for launch by the summer,” said Steve Varsano. “We can even take the Showroom’s Airbus ACJ cabin and fit a helicopter interior inside if one of the OEMs would like to showcase a new model.”
Since opening its doors in early January, The Jet Business has exceeded its expectations. “Every client that has walked through our doors has been genuinely interested in the aircraft market and the technology we are showcasing,” he says. Some 20% of visitors are first time buyers, but the majority of its business is from repeat, referral clients and a rapidly increasing base of new face to face introductions.
The interest we are receiving here in the Showroom, mirrors the fact that the market for pre-owned aircraft, especially at the upper end of the market continues to grow. While in Europe some 333 pre-owned jets were transacted and there were a total 129 (new) business aircraft deliveries into the region in 2011, it is the new world – the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – which are now starting to make a significant impact in the sector. Brazil purchased 46 pre-owned jets in 2011 and 149 new aircraft. It is now the third biggest country for private jets (691) behind the US (11,027) and Mexico (748). In total the BRIC market now embraces 1,815 business aircraft (Brazil = 691, Russia 132; India 157 and China 144).
The opening of the London Showroom has had a positive impact on the Jet Business’ brokerage business too. It has secured new Letters of Intent and has several other aircraft deals in various stages of the transaction process. It has also doubled the number of pre-owned aircraft it has on exclusive listings in its marketing portfolio.
“We are selective about what we take on,” says Varsano. “The majority of clients visiting us are looking for super mid-size, long range or ultra long range aircraft, but occasionally they want a business turboprop in addition to a jet to complement the jet on short range trips. In addition, there is a steady interest in executive helicopters.”
Furthermore, with the emphasis these emerging market buyers place on interiors – impacting the price a client is prepared to pay by an average US$500k-$2 million – Varsano also wants to enhance its iPad application to help clients design their own interiors. “We are moving towards an application where we can change the colours of aircraft seats or choice of material, in aninstantaneous virtual representation of the cabin – with just a few simple clicks, reducing what previously took months to complete, to just minutes.”
The Jet Business is also increasingly helping clients who want to secure new positions on brand new business jet models and some manufacturers are bringing their clients in to view their products on the giant electronic video wall, which runs the length of the showroom. The Jet Business’ unique customised iPad app displays full-size comparative fuselage cross-sections, aerial views and performance specifications of up to 122 business jet aircraft currently available and actively traded on the market today.
Steve Varsano’s commitment to launching the first consumer brand in business jet trading with his store front showroom at 1 Grosvenor Place, London, underlines his belief that business aviation and its clientele base can expand dramatically if customers are armed with knowledge about how to go about purchasing or leasing a jet and expose all the options open to them, as well as market aircraft in a way that has never existed before. “This is especially significant to the clientele we are courting – countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, China, India and the Ukraine,” he says.
Varsano has three decades of global experience brokering aircraft. Since 1980 he has brokered more than 300 aircraft transactions with a combined value of more than US $3 billion, representing both buyers and purchasers.
A graduate from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Steve Varsano started his aviation career with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) overseeing the statistics forecasting and Airport Airways Committee, before starting to trade business aircraft. He worked with different US based aircraft sales companies and directly for the same type of Ultra High Net Worth clients he works with today in the merchant and investment bank industry before launching his own company that eventually evolved in to The Jet Business.