ABL Jets speeds-up aircraft sales with technology


ABL Jets, a New York aircraft broker/dealer, wants to revolutionise the aircraft buying experience with technological and community innovations.
Hawker 900XP

A Hawker 900XP business jet.

You’re in Beijing one day, Mumbai the next and Astana the next. Your daughter’s birthday is in two days in Newport, California. You know you need a business jet as soon as possible, but you just don’t have the time to see the asset. But what if your broker could bring the plane to you?

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ABL Jets, a brokerage firm which also arranges finance and insurance, is hoping to differentiate itself from competitors by using a combination of technology and networking tools. First it’s looking to reduce the average time it takes to close a deal from 150/200 days to under 90 days. “The longer it takes a transaction to close the greater the risk there is to the deal falling through,” says Kevin Rossignon, CEO of ABL Jets. At the moment, the broker’s typical turnaround is between 50-60 days.

The firm will bring marketing materials covering the aircraft’s interior and spec directly to clients through digital videos, tours and brochures. Rossignon utilised digital marketing for six years in previous brokerage positions and co-founded a marketing firm, ELEV8, in 2013. He says that this type of marketing facilitates the purchase process.

As part of its strategy to distinguish itself from competitors, last month ABL Jets launched OpenJets, a monthly meet-up to showcase its jets to potential customers. “The OpenJets concept is to bring the aircraft to you,” says Rossignon, CEO of ABL Jets. Events will be held every month in different countries and the first will take place in Shanghai next month.

Parent company ABL Aviation is already active in the commercial aircraft finance industry arranging deals for Middle Eastern carriers. ABL Jets will leverage its network of debt and equity financiers, but more importantly, its relationship with the Department of Commerce for its OpenJets project.

Reaching out to the right clients is crucial for OpenJets to be effective. The broker will work with the Department of Commerce to send out invitations to high-net-worth individuals for its international marketing events. “This relationship brings us credibility when we go to foreign countries,” says Rossignon, who adds that the DoC’s participation is expected to grow.

The New York-based broker is aiming to close around 20 transactions after its first year, rising to 50 within two years. “As this is a new division, the numbers will exponentially increase as we gain more momentum and the company grows,” says Rossignon.

ABL Jets already has an established presence in the Middle East and Africa. In the longer term, the company is looking to expand into the Latin American and Asian markets. It will leverage its OpenJets platform, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce, to maneuver into these markets.

At the end of February, ABL Jets had eight aircraft in the portfolio for sale though only one King Air appeared on the company’s website. Rossignon says that most of aircraft are pitched to past clients and brokers or end up on contract before being publicly advertised.

In addition to arranging the sale and purchase of aircraft, the company it is looking to establish an aircraft leasing platform. Through opportunistic purchases, ABL Jets will acquire a portfolio of aircraft available for lease.

“We, of course, have to look at assets that allow yield and residual values that will make sense for our equity,” says Rossignon. The goal is to have seven aircraft on the books within two years, using equity raised from a network of individual investors in the Middle East.