How to choose an aircraft manager
Choosing an aircraft manager can be a complicated process. Scott Cutshall, VP of marketing at TWC Aviation, highlights the questions to ask when speaking to aircraft managers.
Has the company had any accidents, incidents or safety violations?
How long has the company been in business? Longer isn’t always better, but it is good to know if they have just started operations, so you have an idea of where they may be in regards to experience and financial strength.
What are the makes and models of aircraft currently managed and where are they located? This gives the owner an idea of how the organisation may be equipped or experienced to managed the plane in question.
Organisational structure of the management company
Does the company have a clearly defined and mature structure? This will give the potential owner insight into the company’s professionalism.
Dedicated vs. non dedicated maintenance technician
What is the management company’s philosophy regarding assigning a full-time technician (engineer) to the aircraft vs. outsourcing or using a pooled maintenance system.
Minimum insurance coverages
Not just the limits of liability, but how comprehensive is the coverage? What is the rate? Is the insurance coverage rich in benefits when the owner’s aircraft is down for maintenance? Does the coverage provide for the cost of backup aircraft?
What type of economies of scale and cost reductions are available through fleet purchases?
Charter demand or guarantees
Does the company provide guaranteed charter revenue? How many sales people do they have? Are those sales people inbound or outbound sales? Are the sales people also performing the flight coordination function or just the sales function?
Dedicated vs. pooled pilots
Does each aircraft have a primary dedicated crew or is there a pool of pilots?
Dedicated flight coordinator
Is the flight coordination handled by a dedicated coordinator or are their different flight coordinators working each trip for an aircraft?
Primary senior point of contact for business matters
Who does the owner speak with when he has questions, concerns?
What are the options for back up aircraft if/when mine is down?
Who do I contact when my dedicated crew is not available?
How much hangar space is available and where is it based?
Where are the management company’s profit centers? Do not be afraid to ask for references and a copy of a monthly management statement, which is the financial accounting for the aircraft. How thorough is it? Do they include copies of the receipts for all purchases? Is it easy to understand without any miscellaneous line items?