View Sounding Board: Five Minutes With Janine Iannarelli, Founder, President Of Par Avion in PDF format.

Janine Iannarelli is a Houston-based aircraft broker who started out in the aviation industry while still in college. With more than 30 years in the industry, Iannarelli represents individuals and corporations in the purchase and sale of business aircraft.                                                                       

Q. How was business in 2018?

A. I had a great 2018.  It was a year where it was almost 100% new business development with one exception, a returning customer for whom I handled the sale of their super midsize aircraft. Customers were mostly first-time buyers, which helped me to expand my business.

Q. What is your outlook for 2019?

A. I expect the year to be a good year. Though there is turmoil in the market and in our own government at the moment, I see no reason why it wouldn’t be as the appetite for business aircraft is still there. Most of my business is based on serving entrepreneurs. Some lead publicly traded companies and independently, they will elect to invest in an aircraft rather than wait for corporate approval as they see it as such a necessary transportation tool. For myself, I foresee 2019 as a repeat of 2018.

Q. Are you seeing any impact from the partial government shutdown? 

A.  At any one time, we may be working on the sale of an aircraft to a U.S.-based customer or exporting one to another country. In both instances, the FAA is an intimate part to a transaction, for their services are relied upon to provide information, such as title searches, Letters of Authorization (LOA) for operation in specific airspace, certifications and handling the registration and deregistration of aircraft, for example. At present, the one element of the aforementioned that is on hold is issuance of these Letters of Authorization.... Any time an aircraft has a change of title, new LOAs must be issued. Thus, all recent sales, of which there must be dozens stacking up since the first of the year, are faced with this impediment to their most efficient operation. I have at least one sale pending where the aircraft will be impacted by this. 

Q. How was business in 2018?

A. I had a great 2018.  It was a year where it was almost 100% new business development with one exception, a returning customer for whom I handled the sale of their super midsize aircraft. Customers were mostly first-time buyers, which helped me to expand my business.

Q. What is your outlook for 2019?

A. I expect the year to be a good year. Though there is turmoil in the market and in our own government at the moment, I see no reason why it wouldn’t be as the appetite for business aircraft is still there. Most of my business is based on serving entrepreneurs. Some lead publicly traded companies and independently, they will elect to invest in an aircraft rather than wait for corporate approval as they see it as such a necessary transportation tool. For myself, I foresee 2019 as a repeat of 2018.

Q. What is the biggest question or challenge going forward?

A. Maybe the biggest question is whether the pre-owned market will be able to sustain the level of activity that we saw in 2018 and will the OEMs be able to grow their business. I don’t think we’ve seen the latter yet. As the pre-owned market continues to dry up and the age gap between new and used aircraft grows, the question becomes will buyers turn to new aircraft? 

Q. The International Aircraft Dealers Association, formerly the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA), is out to elevate the profile of the aircraft brokerage profession and standardize practices through an accreditation program. Do you support that?

A. There is change afoot to achieve some sort of certification and I hear discussion from a few different groups approaching the subject. I think there is merit to the fact that there should be some sort of accreditation process or certification process. What that may look like, or who should administer it, I’m not quite so sure. Certainly something should be done to curb those who don’t pursue it as a profession, have trained or apprenticed if you will, and otherwise practice their craft daily in an effort to earn a livelihood. It shouldn’t be that just anyone who thinks they’d like to sell airplanes can simply pick up a phone and peddle aircraft they may or may not control. Undoubtedly some will achieve some measure of success because they’re charismatic or they have a few buzzwords under their belt. There are so many moving parts to selling an airplane. It is about managing the project. That requires great depth of experience and exposure.  

Q. What is the biggest challenge for the industry as a whole?

A. I think to some degree it’s still perception. Just because we have good times doesn’t mean the negative image of business aviation has ever gone away. We are trying to change the perception of people outside the industry and how they view us. I think it’s incumbent upon us to support our industry by painting it in a positive light. If there are shortcomings, then we call that out in the open immediately and address it.

Q. When you started, there were few women in the brokerage field. How have things changed—or not?

A. There are still not a whole lot of women in the industry. We need to consider growing the ranks, as women bring a unique perspective to decision making, and if I may say so, offer a more nurturing approach to growth and development of business. Then the question is, how do you attract them?

Q. What is the problem?

A. The numbers of women brokers just has not grown enough. I don’t really know why, other than I think part of the problem is not enough awareness of the industry as a career other than for those who wish to be a pilot or mechanic. Unless you’ve met someone who is already in the industry, and that’s generally by chance, you’re not going to consider it as a career or even know it exists. There is not a training program. It’s not so much barriers to entry as it is awareness and attracting and developing talent. I was fortunate enough to have worked for two great guys I consider to be tremendous mentors and who fostered my interest and continued education in the industry. Aircraft sales is hard. It is hard being on the road. I wonder how appealing that is for some women.

Q. What is the biggest question or challenge going forward?

A. Maybe the biggest question is whether the pre-owned market will be able to sustain the level of activity that we saw in 2018 and will the OEMs be able to grow their business. I don’t think we’ve seen the latter yet. As the pre-owned market continues to dry up and the age gap between new and used aircraft grows, the question becomes will buyers turn to new aircraft? 

Q. The International Aircraft Dealers Association, formerly the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA), is out to elevate the profile of the aircraft brokerage profession and standardize practices through an accreditation program. Do you support that?

A. There is change afoot to achieve some sort of certification and I hear discussion from a few different groups approaching the subject. I think there is merit to the fact that there should be some sort of accreditation process or certification process. What that may look like, or who should administer it, I’m not quite so sure. Certainly something should be done to curb those who don’t pursue it as a profession, have trained or apprenticed if you will, and otherwise practice their craft daily in an effort to earn a livelihood. It shouldn’t be that just anyone who thinks they’d like to sell airplanes can simply pick up a phone and peddle aircraft they may or may not control. Undoubtedly some will achieve some measure of success because they’re charismatic or they have a few buzzwords under their belt. There are so many moving parts to selling an airplane. It is about managing the project. That requires great depth of experience and exposure.  

Q. What is the biggest challenge for the industry as a whole?

A. I think to some degree it’s still perception. Just because we have good times doesn’t mean the negative image of business aviation has ever gone away. We are trying to change the perception of people outside the industry and how they view us. I think it’s incumbent upon us to support our industry by painting it in a positive light. If there are shortcomings, then we call that out in the open immediately and address it.

Q. When you started, there were few women in the brokerage field. How have things changed—or not?

A. There are still not a whole lot of women in the industry. We need to consider growing the ranks, as women bring a unique perspective to decision making, and if I may say so, offer a more nurturing approach to growth and development of business. Then the question is, how do you attract them?

Q. What is the problem?

A. The numbers of women brokers just has not grown enough. I don’t really know why, other than I think part of the problem is not enough awareness of the industry as a career other than for those who wish to be a pilot or mechanic. Unless you’ve met someone who is already in the industry, and that’s generally by chance, you’re not going to consider it as a career or even know it exists. There is not a training program. It’s not so much barriers to entry as it is awareness and attracting and developing talent. I was fortunate enough to have worked for two great guys I consider to be tremendous mentors and who fostered my interest and continued education in the industry. Aircraft sales is hard. It is hard being on the road. I wonder how appealing that is for some women.