First-time buyer private jet sales take off as industry bosses expect bookings using cryptocurrencies within 10 years

Rebecca Smith
Industry bosses expect bookings with cryptocurrencies to become a reality
Industry bosses expect bookings with cryptocurrencies to become a reality (Source: Getty)

Private jet sales among first-time buyers are taking off, with business aviation bosses expecting further industry changes in the near future, including accepting cryptocurrency bookings.

According to research from Colibri Aircraft, which specialises in the resale and purchase of pre-owned private aircraft, over a fifth of the pre-owned aircraft that sold last year went to first-time buyers - around 50 per cent higher than the year before.

The average price of a jet it sold to a first-time buyer last year was $3.68m (£2.66m).

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Separate research from Corporate Jet Investor said more than a quarter of business aviation executives reckon that in 10 years, people will be able to book private aircraft using cryptocurrencies, as greater attention has been paid to the likes of bitcoin and Ripple.

Colibri Aircraft attributed the rise in first-time buyers to two factors, both the rise in high net worth individuals, and a fall in the price of pre-owned jets.

The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2017 found the number of people in Europe worth $30m or more is set to rise by 12 per cent between 2016 and 2025, while analysis by Colibri found that on average, the asking price of pre-owned private aircraft fell by around a third between 2014 and 2017, from around $13.5m to just under $9m.

Oliver Stone, managing director at Colibri Aircraft said he expected the rise in first-time buyers to continue: "And within 10 years' time, we would not be surprised if half our clients fall into this category."

Meanwhile, Corporate Jet Investor found an optimistic outlook among industry professionals, with nearly a fifth expecting a "dramatic increase" in the number of people flying privately for the first time by 2021.

A further 67 per cent said they predict a slight rise by the same year. The main reason cited by business aviation executives for the expected increase was the expectation that aircraft owners and private jet charter firms will create more flexible pricing models to make their aircraft more accessible.

Some 42 per cent of 103 execs surveyed last month said they expect a rise in people who cannot afford to buy their own aircraft but want to fly privately, will also fuel the growing number of people flying privately for the first time.

"These people may think they are not rich enough to buy their own aircraft but they increasingly want to fly privately, forcing up the number of first-time users," said Alasdair Whyte, editor of Corporate Jet Investor. "This, coupled with improved technology and digital platforms and more flexibility from private jet owner in terms of how they charter out their aircraft, is making private aviation accessible to more people."

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