The sky’s the limit
Jetcraft is an international leader in aircraft sales, with more than 20 offices globally, including the recently opened Mayfair branch. We speak to owner Jahid Fazal Karim.
Why did you join Jetcraft?
I got to know Jetcraft and its founder, Bucky Oliver, during my tenure at Bombardier. The company’s history and experience intrigued me, and I saw an opportunity to connect buyers and sellers across the globe in ways that hadn’t been done before. In 2008, Bucky and I struck a partnership. Since then, the company has grown tremendously. I am now the owner and chairman of the board. Bucky remains a board member, treasurer and one of my most trusted advisors.
What is your main role at Jetcraft?
I am very involved in the strategy and planning of Jetcraft to ensure we continue to contribute to the growth of the business aviation industry and serve the needs of our customers. My true passion, however, will probably always be in sales.
What is the key to your success?
When you are selling to entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals, you sometimes find they don’t like rigidity. What they like is creativity and flexibility. I get to spend a lot of time doing what I love, which is structuring the deals. The more complicated and challenging they are, the more I enjoy them. And decisiveness is key. You can’t be 100 per cent right all the time, but a firm decision is always better than no decision.
What sets Jetcraft apart from other companies?
We want to serve our customers well, and that means we need to be close to them both physically and culturally. That’s the key, so that’s the model we have structured – an international corporation with 20-plus offices around the globe. We are the only firm in our sector that takes this approach and the beauty of it is that we are truly serving our clients. Ultimately, the vision was to create a truly global infrastructure using an already well-established company and building a team of experts. Whether our customers are buying, selling, trading, investing or consulting, we have someone nearby to assist them with their specific needs.
Why did you decide on Mayfair as the location for your first office in the UK?
We wanted an office that provided a central London location to add to the company’s existing global presence, so we chose to establish our headquarters in Mayfair. Looking at the worldwide growth of the business aviation industry and Jetcraft over the past decade, we couldn’t afford not to be in London.
What do you like about Mayfair?
As Mayfair is at the heart of London, it offers direct access to a wealth of interesting people and businesses. Whilst in Mayfair, I stay at Como Metropolitan, and I’m also a member at Coya, so spend time there.
Do you have any Mayfair clients?
London is a hub for our customers and our network. Our office here creates even more ways for us to serve our clients, as well as presenting new opportunities. We have many clients from several continents with homes and businesses in London, and our business model is to be within a few hours of any of our clients.
What advice would you give a prospective jet buyer?
Don’t overlook the value of a pre-owned aircraft. For some buyers, only a new aircraft will meet their needs. But a good pre-owned plane can be substantially lower in price than a new aircraft and, depending on when and where you sell it, may even keep its value.
How many customers do you meet in one day?
We have more than 25 dedicated sales directors and sales engineers who are all meeting with customers on a regular basis. I’m lucky to have such a strong, dedicated, multi-national team who take the best care of our clients. I will also meet with customers regularly and, while it’s tough to pinpoint an exact number per day, I will say that I try to meet every one of our clients in person.
What key trends are you seeing?
As identified in our annual 10-year Business Aviation Market Forecast, the private aviation industry is at a new beginning point. A decade on from the recession, business aviation has good reason to be optimistic, as we’re well-positioned for several years of steadier, healthier growth.
Why are customers moving towards larger aircrafts?
We’ve seen more and more customers preferring larger, wider, long-range aircraft to support their needs in today’s global business environment – Jetcraft predicts 98 per cent of new models over the next 10 years will be wide-body aircraft. The more longer distances, the more foreign visits, the bigger the need for larger-cabin aircraft to suit that mission.
What can Jetcraft do to help those who are looking at whether to charter or when to buy?
Deciding whether to charter or buy a private jet can be a complex decision. Consult with a trusted partner to help you make the right decision. A professional will provide you with expert guidance on all aspects of chartering and, when you are ready to own your own aircraft, they can also help you through the entire purchasing process.
What are your plans for Jetcraft?
Our plan is simple – to cater exactly to the market’s demands. For example, when customers in a specific region want and are able to buy business aircraft, our worldwide inventory becomes easily available to them. As has happened to some degree more recently, when countries are selling more aircraft than they are buying, we help clients find buyers and the best value in other parts of the world. It is simple in principle but only feasible to do quickly and effectively if you have a worldwide network of offices and expertise.
How do you see the private aviation industry evolving and how will Jetcraft evolve along with it?
Jetcraft’s 2017 market forecast calls for 8,349 unit deliveries, representing $252 billion in revenues (based on 2017 pricing), to be realised over the next ten years. Despite short-term hurdles – a slowdown in wealth creation, the migration of UHNWs from emerging market economies and the fluctuation of oil prices – we remain optimistic for the long term.