AirFinance, a business jet and helicopter financier, has launched FlyFunder, a new online marketplace that will connect buyers with financiers that match their borrowing profiles. This will help existing aviation finance companies find potential appropriate clients, with hedge funds and family offices expressing an interest also.
According to AirFinance’s research, there are currently around 2,400 pre-owned business jets on the market for sale, with a collective value of US$15.6bn, while the combined addressable market for financing new and pre-owned jets and helicopters is said to be US$44bn annually. Since 2008, however, many of the traditional lenders have pulled out due to financial losses, making lending in smaller niche markets more challenging. FlyFunder aims to connect buyers with financing that suits their situation, and vice-versa.
Kirsten Bartok Touw, FlyFunder co-founder and AirFinance managing partner, said, “The current process for obtaining aircraft financing is tedious and labor-intensive, and requires a large number of phone calls and emails. Aircraft buyers or their representatives must reach out individually to multiple financial institutions to determine if they are interested in their particular deal. Each financial institution has a list of very specific attributes that they will finance, including deal size, age of aircraft, domicile of buyer, region of operation, registration of aircraft and type of structure.
“With FlyFunder, we’re offering the first digital platform to bring financiers and aircraft buyers together, and because there are no start-up costs involved for those looking to lend, we have been in talks with a number of hedge funds and family offices who are looking at this as a very efficient way to enter the business jet and helicopter finance market.”