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The Jet Business gets off to a flying start

Street-level aviation outlet The Jet Business has got off to a flying start. After only five weeks of opening the doors of its Belgravia-based London showroom, its founder and owner Steve Varsano has secured a letter of intent for a Boeing Business Jet from an unnamed multinational conglomerate and is midway through discussing the purchase of an Airbus ACJ319 VIP airliner for another.

The Jet Business focuses on selling super mid-size, long and ultra-long-range business jets from its unique office space formed from the shell of an ACJ319. However, other manufacturers need not feel left out. "We designed it so the shell of a smaller aircraft can be slotted inside should another manufacturer wish to promote its own variant of business jet," Varsano explained.

In addition to Boeing and Airbus, The Jet Business trades aircraft manufactured by Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft. About 80% of the aircraft are pre-owned, but most of these are less than 10 years old.

To date, the group's largest deal has amounted to $200 million, Varsano said, without revealing the identity of the buyer or the aircraft involved.

In addition to its business clientele, The Jet Business has attracted global customers - ranging from high net-worth individuals to politicians - and from countries as far afield as Mexico, Russia, India, China, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, France, Nigeria and Monaco.

In terms of financing larger aircraft, Varsano has noticed a growing trend of back-leveraging deals. "Purchasers tend to buy first and finance later as it allows them to control the pace of the deal and gives them more flexibility," he said.

The Jet Business clearly prides itself on its face-to-face approach, combined with a bespoke iPad application designed to guide customers through their purchasing options, which displays life-size images of aircraft on the showroom walls.

Buoyed by the success of The Jet Business's London venture, Varsano is already on the hunt for new offices. "I'm going to Asia in a few weeks to look for a new location," he said, adding that he also envisaged setting up shop in the USA or the Middle East at some point.

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