By Mark Lowe – ©VIP Completions

The business aviation market is expected to grow modestly in 2024, with Honeywell’s Global Business Aviation Outlook forecasting new business jet deliveries to be 10% higher than last year. With the industry back to a pre-pandemic reality and the supply chain generally supporting demand, stability seems to be the order of the day. In the pre-owned segment of the market, a slight increase in available inventory was reported at the end of 2023, after record-high demand in 2021 and 2022. With more inventory comes more negotiating leverage and a market that tips in favor of buyers.

So, for aircraft owners, the question becomes: Is this a good time to sell? «Not necessarily,» says Ben Shirazi, President of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based VIP Completions. «As buyers have more choice, they acquire more negotiating power. So, some aircraft owners who may be contemplating selling decide to wait for better market conditions. They have concluded that upgrading their current aircraft is a better decision than selling it in a cooling market. For them, a refurbishment is the ideal solution.»

Comprehensive refurbishments revitalize business aircraft. In addition to significantly enhancing the in-flight experience, refurbs can significantly increase aircraft valuations.

«Refurbishments can completely transform an aircraft interior by updating aesthetics and upgrading technologies. This is how we help our clients derive greater value from their aircraft investment, compared to purchasing a new aircraft, without making any sacrifices in terms of comfort, luxury, or style. It is often a much quicker way to access an as-new cabin that is personalized to the owner’s preferences. There are long wait times on new airframes, and a redesign can deliver a more customized cabin in a shorter time frame.»

The VIP Completions team has worked on the full spectrum of business aircraft and corporate airliners, including Bombardier Globals and Challengers, Dassault Falcons, Gulfstreams, Cessna Citations and Boeing Business Jets (BBJs).

«As an example, I like to point to a BBJ that we recently delivered following a comprehensive interior refurbishment project.» This particular aircraft offers exceptional levels of luxury, comfort, personalized décor and the conveniences of the latest-generation technologies. The configuration supports seating and sleeping arrangements for up to 12 passengers. The owner was contemplating selling and replacing it with a long-range business jet but concluded that the space and amenities of the BBJ were simply unbeatable. Subsequently, they decided to refurbish the aircraft and fully enjoy its unique in-flight experience.

Design highlights include luxurious custom-designed seats throughout the cabin upholstered with contrasting premium Garrett leathers and intricate diamond pattern stitch-work, main lounge divans upholstered in premium Garrett leathers, mid-cabin divans upholstered in premium Loro Piana fabrics, full cabin re-veneered in open grain white oak finish in matte dark chocolate color, new natural Arabescato stone countertops, and luxurious 100%-New Zealand-wool carpeting by RedRock throughout the cabin.

Cabin management system (CMS) and in-flight entertainment (IFE) highlights include CMS control via Crestron app-enabled iPads, custom ALTO audio system calibrated for the cabin using ALTO’s MySound™ optimization tool, four upgraded high-definition monitors, a new HD monitor in master stateroom, dynamic RGB LED lighting, and an on-board Plex media server with three AppleTVs providing virtually limitless content options in a multi-zone setup.

The BBJ is privately owned and will be based in Florida, operating flights primarily within the US and across the Atlantic to Europe. «The details of this project illustrate a pretty radical transformation. Contemporary styles and state-of-the-art technologies have dramatically enhanced the passenger experience on this aircraft. We deliver an unparalleled degree of personalization. Equally important is our commitment to on-time and on-budget deliveries. This project was completed within 90 ‘hands-on’ days, which is exceptionally fast given its comprehensive scope.»

«We are focused on delivering value for our clients. That is where the ‘refurbish vs. sell’ idea originates. We believe that refurbs and conversions will remain strong this year and are proud to be one of a very few companies worldwide able to deliver projects of this magnitude. If the first quarter is any indication, we think we have good reason to be optimistic,» concludes Shirazi.