So what’s trending in the turboprop market? In a word, stability. Seems almost an antonym for a trend. Or, instead of stability, is stagnancy the correct term to describe market conditions, as Fletcher Aldridge recently pondered in his Vref newsletter?
The Vref Aircraft Value Reference shows that pricing is flat over many markets, Commanders included. By the numbers, leading market data provider Jetnet says an average of 51 Commander turboprops have been for sale over the past six months, and wouldn’t you know, we have 51 planes showing available now. Total transactions for the period, according to Jetnet, equal 20—roughly a year’s supply, and far less than 10 percent of the active fleet, which again points to a stable market.
One trend that never goes out of style is buyers’ desire for a well-kept, updated aircraft. I’ve said it before: There’s no question that the smart buyers in any market want the best aircraft they can buy. With pricing flat, we see the no-excuse planes that are priced fairly, sell quickly, while the projects do not. I think this holds true in any market. So you may as well keep it nice and enjoy it. You’ll have something to sell when life, or your mission, changes.
While many later-model jets continue to flow out of Europe, and problems in Brazil continue to push corporate aircraft back to the U.S. market, international buyers continue to build on their majority holdings of the Commander fleet while approximately 280 remain active in the US of A. What’s clear is the confidence of international buyers in their ability to support the aircraft in far-flung corners of the globe.
Confidence in economical support is refreshing when compared with other legacy aircraft and even some current production aircraft. Commanders continue to be well supported. Buyers outside of the U.S. are value buyers, and their affection for the Commander brand remains strong. The airplanes have a worldwide reputation for getting the job done, from the African desert to the lush terrain of Brazil. Special-mission use in the U.S. continues to grow as contractors move from aging piston twins to more reliable and capable turbine equipment. What plane makes money doing the hard work required in forestry or the survey industry? A Commander JetProp, of course.
Bruce Byerly is vice president at Naples Jet Center and a long-time Twin Commander sales professional and pilot.