How to Save Millions When Buying a Business Jet

Business jets come with hefty price tags, but there is a way to save sometimes millions of dollars when buying a new aircraft. That's by buying a white tail.

White tails are the orphans of the aircraft industry, the painful reminders of sales that should have been, but haven't happened quite happened yet. But for a buyer who has the financing and is in need of business jet quickly, a white tail can be an incredible opportunity. Here's why:

A white tail is the aviation industry call any unsold aircraft. They're called "white tails" because their tails - and entire bodies - are painted Matterhorn white, the same colour that most aircraft have as their base. They have no logos to boast their ownership, no swirling splashes of pinstriped colours to set them apart and, without those, they look naked and unfinished. They are waiting for someone to fall in love them and take them home, to move them from a status of "excess inventory" to "SOLD".

Selling them, however, isn't all that easy to do. For most corporate buyers, a great deal of planning is needed to get the financing in place to pay the kind of money a business jet commands. That's one reason why many buyers are content to order now, and only able to take delivery on their aircraft two years or more in the future. Also, at this level, the customers have a reputation of being extremely particular about their finished product, and most would rather wait until the aircraft they really want is ready for them -- specced out exactly the way they want it. 

Since each white tail represents millions of dollars worth of parts and labour, manufacturers are anxious to get them off the books as quickly as possible, to re-coup some of that outlaid cash. Some white tails have been specced and built by the manufacturer to stop gaps from happening in the production line. Others have been built to order, but the delivery has become impossible for a variety of possible reasons that could include an owner up- or down-grading for a different model, the owner going bankrupt, or other reasons such as political sanctions which puts embargoes on sales. 

As soon as a white tail is finished, it is fully certified for the country it was manufactured in. In most cases, the aircraft is registered with the local aviation authority to make the transfer of ownership easier when a buyer is finally found. But until that buyer is found, that aircraft needs to be parked somewhere, and indoors is preferable to outdoors. In volatile market conditions, that can easily add up to a small airport of white tails, which is something that no manufacturer wants.

A white tail is, however, a great solution for a buyer in need of an aircraft fast, and in addition to getting a business jet quickly, in a turnaround of just 3 or 4 weeks, some real discounts can be had. When the finished product come with a ticket price of $50 million dollars or more, a discount of just 3% or 5% will certainly keep a big chunk of change in the buyer's pocket, and can quickly total a million dollars or more. Those discounts can be even more attractive at different times of the year, like near the end of a quarter, or near the end of the manufacturer's fiscal year.

If you're considering buying a white tail, it can be a great opportunity, but don't get blinded by the dollar sign. You need to make sure the aircraft will really fulfill your needs. Is the range of the jet really sufficient for your needs? Is it large enough for the number of passengers you'll typically want to transport? You may have other considerations too. For example, if you're wanting to do public transportation with this aircraft, is that something it's already been certified for? If it isn't, you'll need to make modifications, and those modifications will be costly, and won't normally be included in the price tag of the white tail you're buying, unless you're an excellent negotiator.

Buying a white tail can be a great opportunity for the savvy buyer. Not only can you get a great addition to your fleet at a great price, you may be able to get exactly the business jet you want.



> Are you interested in purchasing a white tail? Contact me for all your build, pre-buy and delivery needs. +1-418-557-4422.