Saturday, November 12, 2016

Private jet dealers look to Trump for psychological lift

Ridgewood, New Jersey,  native Janine Iannarelli, the founder of Houston-based private jet broker Par Avion Ltd., is hoping President-elect Trump will make owning a jet cool again.

Private jet dealers are hoping that President-elect Donald Trump will make it A-OK again for corporate CEOs to be seen flying around the world on private jets.

Their hope is that Trump's personal wealth, popularity and ostentatious style could make it cool to be rich again in America, sort of like Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s.

The new slogan is "'make aviation great again,'' said Ridgewood native Janine Iannarelli, the founder and chief executive officer of Par Avion Ltd., a jet brokerage and consulting firm in Houston.

Trump, who will soon have Air Force One at his disposal, flew around throughout his presidential campaign on his own Boeing 757 and "made no bones about it," unlike most candidates who used charters, Iannarelli said.

The Boeing, which has his name emblazoned on the side, was a backdrop at many of his campaign rallies. He also has three Sikorsky helicopters.

Like many others in the private jet business, Iannarelli holds a bit of a grudge against President Obama for criticizing corporate excesses in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and for mentioning private jet travel as an example. Corporate shareholders now tend to look more askance at spending on private jets, she said.

Business jet manufacturing plummeted in 2009 and has not yet fully recovered from pre-recession peaks.

"The psychological perception needs to be altered," Iannarelli said.

In the used-jet market, she and other brokers complain of a scarcity of buyers, inflated inventories and low prices.

Although the lower demand for jets is due, in part, to the rise in jet-sharing programs, Rebecca Posoli-Cillo, chief operating officer of jet broker Freestream Aircraft USA Ltd. in Teterboro, said she sees Trump as someone who could make a difference in public perceptions about private jets.

Trump is "a huge proponent and user of business aviation" who "understands the value of time." she said.

Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, on Wednesday issued a statement saying the group "has always worked with elected officials in both political parties to advance policies that foster the growth of business aviation," and that "we look forward to working with President-elect Trump, as well as those in his administration, and congressional representatives from both parties, to promote proposals that recognize the industry's value and protect its interests."

The General Aviation Manufacturing Association said Thursday that business jet deliveries slipped 7.7 percent in the first nine months of this year as compared to the same period last year, from 465 planes to 429.

"There's no way to sugarcoat the fact that these numbers are not what we had wanted to see," GAMA President Pete Bunce said in a statement.

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