CORPORATE JET INVESTOR MIAMI 2018
SINCE IT opened in 1954, the Fontainebleau has seen all the big acts. Frank Sinatra and Elvis actually shared a stage there. Kevin Costner saved Whitney Houston as a bodyguard; and now the hotel can add Embraer’s Michael Amalfitano, Gulfstream’s Mark Burns and Kenny Dichter, founder of Wheels Up, and others, to its role of honour.
The overall mood was very positive. Whatever, political views delegates held, the consensus was that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has encouraged companies and individuals to buy.
Brian Proctor, founder of MENTE Group, started the conference listing some of the headwinds facing business aviation. They included: MRO availability, the strong dollar hitting non-US sales, maintenance costs, finding engineers and pilots (one operator said he had recently hired a pilot on $305,000 a year) and political risk. Almost half of the room saw politics as the biggest risk.
Proctor also touched on the theme of regulating aviation. This was followed up in a panel comprising of Jonny Foster of OGARAJETS, Janine Iannarelli of Par Avion and Jay Mesinger of Mesinger Jet Sales covering ethics.
As well as fantastic forward-looking presentations – particularly Amalfitano’s which re-drew Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – one of the highlights was looking at breaking up aircraft.
Cynics might be surprised, but one of the funniest sessions of the conference was The Joy of Tax. Michael Kosnitzky of Pillsbury, Nel Stubbs of Conklin & de Decker, Jim Simpson of First Republic Bank and Jeffrey Towers of TVPX managed to make this a really interesting session, which was brilliantly moderated by Edward Kammerer of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder.
The finance panel explained how competitive the market is at the moment. But it is a long way away from the crazy offers being made in 2008.
As well as the sessions – far too many to cover here – the event also had lots of networking opportunities. After the golf tournament, JSSI hosted by the pool on the opening night. AIC hosted a cocktail on the lawn before Jet Aviation, Rockwell Collins, Mente Group & Viasat’s Dealmakers Dinner. A large number of people also stayed on for the after party hosted by Fontainebleau Aviation.