Raleigh, North Carolina-based Jetcraft will become the largest private aircraft broker after acquiring Zurich-based ExecuJet Aircraft Trading.

The sale means ExecuJet Aviation Group is exiting the aircraft sales business and focusing on a portfolio of services including aircraft management, charters, fixed-base operations, maintenance and completions consulting.

Jetcraft, meanwhile, adds six new brokers and sales offices in Dallas, Johannesburg, London and Paris, says president Chad Anderson.

"It's the growth that Jetcraft normally would have achieved over three to four years," Anderson says. "We just put it in the span of four to six months."

The timing of the deal also precedes a possible shift in market fortunes. At mid-year Jetcraft is currently running slightly behind on its plan to close 66 deals in 2013, but it has 15 planes under contract and in various stages of momentum during the traditional slow period of August.

"I'm frankly rather upbeat because of the momentum," Anderson says. "I'm going to call it 'cautiously optimistic'."

While sales momentum picks up, however, aircraft values remain inconsistent, with prices for older aircraft especially difficult to predict, he says.

Still, Jetcraft believes the market is headed for a three-year up-swing beginning in 2014, and the ExecuJet acquisition is timed to capitalise on a growth market.

"I'd rather have my guns blazing when the market is at the bottom and going up," Anderson says. "I think we just acquired the big guns and added to the guns we already had."

Source: Flight International