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By Jerry Saddington
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When a charter jet has been in service for a few years, it unavoidably shows a few signs of wear. Most of these are glossed over when routine maintenance and cleaning are carried out, but there does come a time when the interior looks a little outdated, particularly as the new gadgets and technology that are fitted to the latest jets start to become the expected norm by clients. There are few things more disheartening for an operator than to see a look of disappointment on a passengers face as they enter the cabin, knowing they’re already thinking about who else they want to fly with in the future .
So the question arises, is it time to buy a new jet? This is a major investment though, and depending on the economic climate may prove unviable. The alternative is to invest in refitting the upgrading the existing jet. While this in itself can prove a significant investment, it may well give the aircraft a few more years of valuable service which could not only recover the costs, but generate further profits. So what are the detailed considerations that help make this decision ?
The lead time on the purchase of a new aircraft for a private jet hire operator is much as two years. If an operator is simply looking for a cabin fit with the latest gadgets and gizmos, then a refit is certainly worth considering. The benefits of that change are gained much more quickly, usually within six months, and used to help market that aircraft. This is particularly true if the desired sound and entertainment system is not really that cutting edge. In the time it takes for a new jet to be delivered, a newer and fancier toy may already be on the market .
On the other side of the argument, the operator needs to consider the value an upgrade will add to the jet. If it is something that the passengers will appreciate, then the upgrade is a feature that can be marketed and will earn its keep. If it is something more of benefit to the operator, such as newer avionics in the cockpit, then the wisdom of the investment needs is open to question. While the crew will undoubtedly appreciate the better facilities, the private jet charter industry is still that, an industry, and each investment must show a profit .
A further consideration is whether the upgrade will bring the aircraft up to the standard of the latest jets on the market. If it does, then as well as increasing the liklihood of chartering the jet, its resale value is also increased as it becomes an attractive alternative to someone buying a new aircraft. The upgraded jet will offer all the comfort and features of the newest models without the new aircraft price tag .
So when deciding whether to upgrade any older aircraft, the operators look at two things; will the upgrade make the jet more marketable, and allow it to earn additional income; and will the upgrade increase the capital value of the asset? If the answer to both questions is yes, then upgrading is definitely worth considering .
Jerry works for Private Jet Central, a private jet hire and private jet charter specialist . http://www.privatejetcentral.com