Jetcraft Owner and Chairman Jahid Fazal-Karim talks pandemic challenges, the growth of Ultra High Net Worth market, and creating the first business aviation lounge in the Metaverse.
Jetcraft celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. Tell us about some of the highlights of the celebrations and how it felt to reach this milestone.
It was certainly a year we’ll look back on with pride. We were founded in 1962 by Charles “Bucky” Oliver. Since then, Jetcraft has grown extraordinarily, from a predominantly US-based organisation to an expanding global corporation. Today, we operate more than 25 offices worldwide with a team of over 80 aviation experts across five continents.
Last year, we established the first business aviation lounge in the Metaverse, taking our global footprint even further by removing the boundaries of the physical world from business aircraft sales, acquisitions, and trades. We also began our sustainability journey, working closely with ZenithJet and Azzera, specialists in climate action solutions, to become a carbon neutral business.
To mark the official end of our year-long anniversary celebrations, we shared our story on the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa — underlining a commitment to perform transactions at the Speed of Life and our optimistic outlook for business aviation going into 2023 and beyond.
Can you share more details on your brand refresh?
It’s a nod to our rich heritage and fresh energy. Our new look showcases our global team’s unstoppable attitude to delivering industry-leading market intelligence, unbeatable access, and proven results to go further and faster for every aircraft transaction. It’s the culmination of several years of work to truly understand the value we bring to our clients every day.
Across your 25 offices worldwide, what are your fastest-growing markets and where do you hope to launch next?
We have offices in different regions but ultimately, we’re global and virtual. What comes next in terms of our footprint is ever-changing, but we’re available everywhere our clients are, and when the next ‘new place’ comes up for our clients, we’ll be there too.
Tell us about your business aviation lounge in the Metaverse and how guests use it
We pride ourselves on being early adopters of new technology and innovative ways of working. Right now, we’re in learning mode; the Metaverse is set to be the evolution of the internet but how and when it will happen is yet to be seen.
Clients turn to us for an unmatched international presence and local insight in every key region and an integral part of this is our ability to meet clients, wherever they are, to better serve them. Establishing ourselves in the Metaverse provides our clients with the ability to interact with Jetcraft in a new and unique way. As we learn what our clients need in this virtual world, the possibilities are endless. That being said, we don’t ever see face-to-face interactions going away, especially withinbusiness aviation. Our presence in the Metaverse and our online hangar will bolster our customer convenience but won’t replace the value of in-person connection.
Tell us about some of the challenges to becoming a carbon neutral business.
In 2022, we began offsetting our business emissions, through the support of forest conservation projects in North Carolina and Papua New Guinea and wind power supplies in South Africa. Through a partnership with sustainability consultants Azzera, we’ve now delivered a scheme that achieves total verified carbon neutrality across everything we do.
It’s important to us and our clients that Jetcraft has a solid response to our environmental challenges. We’re a global business and therefore our efforts must have a global impact, which is why we’re excited to be positively influencing climate projects in as many regions as possible.
What trends are you noticing in aviation right now?
Our latest Pre-Owned Business Jet Market Forecast revealed that the share of Jetcraft buyers under 45 has risen by 20% in the last five years. Furthermore, these aircraft buyers are driving a trend towards larger aircraft purchases, with their average transaction price hitting $25m, some 31% higher than their over 45 counterparts. Nearly a quarter (24%) of our buyers in Europe are younger than 45, with this figure rising to 38% in the Middle East and Africa.
This rise is driven by factors such as a growing number of younger entrepreneurs from the technology and finance sectors that are entering into business aviation and are already established Metaverse users. Where our clients are, and where they may be in the future, is where we need to be to better serve them.
The pandemic was a tough time for the aviation business. How did you deal with the challenges it brought and what lessons did you learn from it?
The pandemic was difficult for commercial aviation. However, there was an increase in demand for private aviation. The rise in demand resulted in an all-time low in business jet supply, which at its peak saw the share of jet fleet for sale go down to only 3.2%. Now, after stabilizing in the wake of a post-pandemic surge with a more balanced supply and demand, pre-owned transactions are expected to have a more rational growth, reaching 10,921 transactions valued at $66.6B over the next five years.
To what extent have your customers’ expectations changed post-pandemic?
Covid drove many buyers into the market looking for the safety, security and reliability flying private affords. The desire to avoid the crowds and the unreliability of commercial travel has led first time buyers into the charter, fractional, and whole ownership solutions. A private jet purchase is very personal; every buyer has very a different and specific set of needs and wants from their aircraft. There’s no one size fits all and that’s why our unique experience with all business jet makes and models, and access to the most diverse inventory in the marketplace, allows us to provide a truly agnostic perspective – one that most closely aligns with what our buyers want and need rather than ‘what needs to be sold’.
You recently published your Five-Year Pre-Owned Business Jet Market Forecast. What were the most salient points of this research?
The trend towards younger buyers is certainly an interesting one, with nearly a quarter of our buyers in Europe now younger than 45. Our data also identified that the global Ultra High Net Worth population is set to increase by at least 21% over the next five years, which will prompt continued increasing demand for pre-owned aircraft.
What’s on the horizon for Jetcraft in 2023?
This year is poised to be another exciting year in business aviation, and we’re ready for it. With the official launch of our Decentraland lounge and online hangar, the continued commitment to being carbon neutral and ongoing expansion across the world, watch this space for even more from Jetcraft in 2023 and beyond.