The two brothers behind business aircraft brokerage and consulting firm Guardian Jet are feeling bullish about the market as they roll out a third iteration of their Vault software tool, which they say enables users to more easily find aircraft to buy and track the value of their own assets.
Vault 3.0 has a new interface and an advanced search engine known as JetFinder, which provides up-to-date information on aircraft for sale. JetFinder is clearly displayed on the lefthand side of the screen, next to a redesigned version of Guardian Jet's Value Your Aircraft module, which enables aircraft owners and operators to assess the value of their assets.
"The big change in Vault 3.0 is it has become much more intuitive," says Guardian Jet managing partner Mike Dwyer, noting that the number of search fields has been whittled down from five to two, and users can enjoy easy access to real-time information on for-sale aircraft from around the world.
"This has never been available to aircraft buyers and sellers around the globe before," Dwyer adds.
His brother Don said the market for buying and selling business aircraft is "very robust", after a slightly slower start to the year.
"2019 for the brokerage business started off a little slow but after that we've been booming," he noted. "We’re buying multiple airplanes at the show – we're buying a [Dassault] Falcon out of France and a Falcon out of Dubai. If we're any reflection, the industry will post good results."
Guardian Jet is seeing a "big uptick” in the number of first-time buyers, and they are not starting out with aircraft at the smaller end of the scale. “They’re buying big, expensive aircraft,” says Dwyer.
He attributed the slow start of the year to a bumper fourth quarter in 2018, driven by "tax benefit-motivated transactions" as a result of "the first full year of 100% bonus depreciation tax" in the US.
"When you have a big spike in the fourth quarter you would expect a slowdown in the first quarter, but it's starting to accelerate again in the second quarter and we see this going through the end of 2019," adds Dwyer.
Guardian Jet has offices in the US and Europe but it expects Vault 3.0 to fuel virtual growth in other global regions.
The Dwyer brothers agree that Vault "will help us grow into Africa, Asia and Latin America", where buyers are "incredibly savvy" but there are "fewer sophisticated brokerage and consulting firms".