The Phoenix Rising
by Jay Mesinger
we get so overwhelmed in the moment that we, as a collective
industry, miss the sheer determination and survivability of
our industry. As I was thinking about this article I wanted
to write a piece this month about how out of turmoil and
damaged business always comes a new opportunity. This
downturn is no different, in fact the deeper the downturn,
often the greater the upside for those that can look up.
bird that never dies, the Phoenix flies far ahead to the
front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It
represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory
information about our environment and the events unfolding
within it. The Phoenix, with its great beauty, creates
intense excitement and deathless inspiration.” (The Feng
Shui Handbook, feng shui Master Lam Kam Chuen).
So what is
all this talk about the Phoenix? I see opportunities for
many segments of our market today as it shakes off this
downturn. I feel it is fair to say that most indicators are
pointing to flat or slightly higher levels of activity and
sales. This is a positive difference to the very recent
decline we had been experiencing in almost every sector of
our industry. So where are the new niches and growth areas?
area of growth opportunity that I see would be in the
aircraft lending sector. With most current lenders the idea
of financing 20-year-old (or older) aircraft is all but
gone. It seems to me a new player who does not have to look
beyond the recent past could come in and build a booming
business even in a flat market. In fact, if this segment
could be serviced with loan opportunities it would not take
long to call this sales segment rising. I absolutely believe
in discretion being used by the lender for both the specific
aircraft being considered as well as the borrower’s ability
to service the loan.
let’s say we get this sector pumped up. The next set of
opportunities will come to those vendor companies who had
either begun to install or want to make R&D investments on
performance modifications and avionic upgrades to these
older planes. In late 2008 we as an industry were just
coming out of a period when we were starting to label older
aircraft as “aging aircraft”, and thus began to create the
stigma ourselves. It seemed everyone was focusing on new or
like-new planes, and the focus was being taken away from the
rebound out of this downturn, we are sure to see a new
awareness and revitalized interest in these older aircraft.
What could be a better value than a Challenger 601/3A for
under five million dollars, or a Falcon 2000 for under 10
million dollars? These price levels were unheard of in the
predownturn era, yet they are the norm for today. That’s not
to say all Challengers are sub-five, or all Falcon 2000s are
sub-10. It does mean the spectrum has widened.
So now if
we start to think of all the products and services that
could extend the life of adult planes, plus create broader
operational platforms, we have the Phoenix rising!
Also, it seems that with every recovery come new faces in
our industry: People who have often been displaced from
their recent past industry are taking this time to fulfill
long-standing desires to move to a new industry or to move
to a new area within their current industry. Sometimes
pilots will move into management or technical oversight.
People who once successfully dealt in Commercial real estate
move to aircraft sales. People who had successful careers in
banking move their well-honed skills into our industry.
I am probably getting ten emails a week from people who want
to know what it means to sell aircraft. Some of course think
it is quick success, with big commissions. I quickly dispel
those expectations. There are no short cuts to success! But
there may be opportunities for those - who like many of you
reading this article were willing to dedicate themselves for
the longhaul – to create careers in business aviation that
will be fulfilling and rewarding.
The aviation universities are rich with near-term graduates
ready to bring new ideas and new life to this industry. We
should try as a community of professionals to take the calls
or reply to the emails from those who genuinely seem
interested in coming into our world. After all if we do not
shine a positive light on our industry no one else will. We
need to be beacons for those who in any capacity - be it
maintenance, piloting, sales or technical - want to join us.
New passion and dedication is what the rising Phoenix is all
So speaking of new faces and new vitality coming in to our
industry, I am proud to announce to you all that I received
a call recently that I acted on. I had a call from Josh’s
brother, our son, Adam Mesinger. He and his wife Ayeisha
will be moving from Los Angeles and Adam will be joining our
family business. As a Dad and owner of a family business I
am not sure what could make me happier. I know that Adam
will make a great addition not only to our business but to
our industry. Welcome Adam. I love that you will be a part
of our business as our company continues to cultivate new
growth opportunities worldwide.