Lockdowns also mean remote business jet viewing might be a buyer’s only option. Developments in VR technology could bring full-scale walkthroughs to a potential buyer’s living room in the future – or the chance to ‘touch’ an aircraft through tactile VR gloves. Today, while some travel restrictions remain in place, buyers can still remotely view multiple aircraft through high-quality photos, videos and on-the-ground virtual viewings.
Chad Anderson, president of Jetcraft
We are leveraging our extensive network on the ground to bring our buyers as far as possible in the decision-making process through virtual tools. However, the reality is that most buyers want to touch and feel the aircraft before making such an important and expensive commitment. If a client is unable to travel to a viewing, we’re going above and beyond to bring the aircraft to them, while ensuring the safety of everyone involved. Through technology, on the ground connections, and deal creativity, we have been fortunate to continue securing letters of intent (LOIs), signing contracts and bringing aircraft deals to closing for our clients – and even investing in aircraft purchases for our own inventory.
Looking further ahead and contemplating a post-pandemic world, we anticipate adjacent technologies such as electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOLs) aircraft and supersonic jets will become even more likely to win orders. Assuming they are accepted by regulators and consumers, eVTOLs will be a major disruptor, particularly in light of this pandemic where safer, shorter and more controlled commutes will be the ultimate priority.
These technologies, however, will remain ‘adjacent’ to business aviation. We don’t expect many owners to upgrade their long-range jets to supersonic, but they may charter one for especially time-sensitive travel. And while demand for long-range jets when traveling significant distances will be sustained, eVTOL transfers may establish their gap in the market and become the preferred mode of urban transport, taking passengers short distances from A to B in a more controlled environment, avoiding congested roads typical of a modern city.
The power of technology to build connections is second only to that of travel. This pandemic has shown us how digital platforms can help us reach our business goals faster, but also how much we value-creating relationships face to face. Ultimately, it is too soon to tell when the world will fully emerge from the restrictions put in place during COVID-19. What we do know is that we are seeing positive signs for the future of business aviation. Our priority right now is to utilize the technology available to help our clients properly mitigate and manage through this period.
Words by Chad Anderson, President of Jetcraft, jetcraft.com