Are there any destinations on earth left to discover? The first accurate scientific world map was drawn up in the early 1500s by Diego Ribeiro, a Portuguese cartographer. The Padrón Real, as it came to be known, was the secret master template used for maps kept on all Spanish ships during the 16th century. Now, centuries later, with every nook and cranny of the globe mapped out and apparently accessible to international travellers, it`s easy to believe that there are no hidden treasures left to find.
The good news for the superyacht community, however, is that there are still lesser known, pristine gems that are perfect for exploring by yacht. It takes a bit more effort to reach places where nature is still firmly in charge but the rewards, by all accounts, are unimaginable.
“Most of these locations are once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” explains Henry Cookson, whose company, Cookson Adventures, specializes in exploring the planet’s most remote corners and building tailor-made adventures for superyacht charter clients. “We find new and exhilarating ways for our clients to explore the destination by yacht, so they leave feeling they have had the richest experience possible in each location.”
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Many of us look upon superyachts with awe as they glide through the waves with a bevy of beauties onboard, and with sleek lines of design which bring envy from their cousins in other parts of the Maritime industry. Over 5,890 superyachts are currently registered. Most are unique. All face similar provocations.
Superyachts are a microcosm of all the digital challenges that face seafarers.
Understanding what is needed on a superyacht to protect crew, guests and their owners from cyber-attacks is an excellent baseline for other seagoing vessels. We can all learn from superyacht experiences.
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So, you`ve made your decision to buy a private jet. You have had discussions with specialist brokers, lawyers and financiers to make sure you buy the right plane at the right price. But what of the interior of your jet? How can you personalise, style and furnish it? And what can`t you do? At a recent Quaynote Communications webinar, a panel of aircraft design and outfitting experts drew on their experience to discuss how to achieve the best interior design for your private jet.
If imprinting your own personal style on the jet is important to you, then you need to choose your aircraft carefully. Manufacturers such as Bombardier, Gulfstream or Embraer sell smaller aircraft with a predefined interior. “The customer can choose from a limited catalogue of different layout, design and material options,” points out Tim Callies of Callies Grafe Design. “If he also wants to personalise his interior, this usually costs a lot of money and sometimes dramatically affects the delivery time of the aircraft.” Conversely, If you choose a “Green Aircraft” from Airbus or Boeing from the outset, all doors are open, within regulatory guidelines, to have your jet interior designed to your liking.
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Article – Designing a business Jet interior1
For the uninitiated, the process of buying a yacht or jet anywhere in the world – then working out what tax and duty might be due in different jurisdictions – seems complicated enough. Then add Brexit into the mix and it can suddenly become even more complex. However, Brexit does bring silver linings, at least for some UK yacht and jet owners.
Providing their yachts and jets are privately owned and that everything is structured correctly, many UK owners who typically cruise in the Mediterranean or fly into the EU will now find that they no longer have to pay import VAT on their assets. As James Jaffa, partner at Jaffa & Co, observed at Quaynote’s recent online conference, The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets & Luxury Property, this can potentially mean that for these UK owners, “operating their superyacht has become 20% cheaper.”
This scenario can be compared, if you like, to a Cayman Islands ownership structure that some owners might have chosen pre-Brexit. The critical component is that the yacht or aircraft meets the conditions of Temporary Admission (TA). Where yachts are concerned, historically what has happened is that a Cayman-owned yacht that is flagged and entirely owned outside the EU would be able to enter into the EU under TA without paying any duty or VAT, provided that it doesn’t operate commercially or remain in the EU for longer than 18 months at a time.
A tax advisor we spoke to gives an example of how this works in practice. “I`m working on a transaction currently where we have a UK individual who is purchasing a yacht from a northern EU yard,” he explains. “The yard will export the vessel from the EU and the owner will take title after it’s been exported. It will be purchased by an Isle of Man company who will sail it straight down to the Med.” No VAT or duty will be payable because the yacht meets Temporary Admission requirements in the EU – ie. it is privately operated, IOM-owned and IOM flagged. It is important to note that under TA, care must be taken when inviting EU residents on board as this should be done when the owner is also present in the EU – it is even better if they are on board the yacht.
Advisors have trod carefully with this turn of events, understandably cautious about interpreting a new set of circumstances and how these might affect their clients. “We recently took delivery of a 50m yacht for a UK owner that will cruise under Temporary Admission,” reflects James Jaffa (pictured below). “The owner is established outside the EU, the yacht is structured properly and yet there is a fear as this is brand new and untested.” Jaffa`s firm have taken extensive advice and have been given the go-ahead. “We`ve been told for UK owners operating privately, go ahead and cruise in the Med to your heart’s content,” he says, adding: “It’s been a big change for us as a law firm.”
Lorna Titley is a Director at Quaynote Communications, a communications company specialising in PR & Marketing Consultancy and Live / Virtual / Hybrid Conferences & Events for the Aviation, Maritime and Security Industries. E: email@example.com
With Zoom and its competitors enjoying something of an extended “moment” during the past year, as videoconferencing and webinars replace in person meetings and conferences, you may be forgiven for thinking that such platforms have always been here, so ubiquitous have they become during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While recognising the lifeline Zoom, Google Meet and other apps have offered for remote workers, there are inherent limits to what they can offer in terms of replicating real life experiences.
So, as parts of the world start to emerge from lockdown, will executives return to business travel – and in particular to private aviation – at the same levels they enjoyed pre-pandemic? Or will organisations see the cost savings offered by conducting meetings online and move to curtail executive travel?
On 2nd June, Quaynote`s half-day virtual conference, “Zoom versus Business Jets” will debate the attractions – and limitations – of doing business in a videoconferencing app as opposed to hopping onto a private plane to meet important clients face-to-face.
In the build-up to Zoom versus Business Jets, we asked conference presenters for their views. For Tom Chatfield, CEO, whose company Camber Aviation is officially supporting Quaynote`s conference, business is best done in person. “Collaborating on new projects, building partnerships and creating business opportunities begins with a conversation. Video conferencing allowed us all to communicate and continue to do business during over a year of lockdowns,” acknowledges Chatfield, “but I am convinced that business is best done “live”. This is how solid relationships and trust are built.”
Michael Farley, CEO & Founder at Outlier Jets agrees that in person travel will continue in the future, especially at the executive level. Recognizing that actually owning a jet is not appropriate for everyone, his company analyzes individual client`s travel needs to assess the best solution. “Sometimes the right solution is the occasional charter while other times the Outlier Jet Card or aircraft acquisition may be the most suitable answer,” explains Farley.
Some of those we spoke to believe that zoom works well for some types of meetings, but not for others. Tim Callies, an aircraft designer at Callies Grafe Design reports that his company has successfully met with clients and contacts over zoom during the pandemic. He does however draw a distinction when it comes to first meetings between the designer and client. “Especially when it comes to presenting the emotional, artistic part of the design (sketches, materials, shapes), we believe that a direct meeting is indispensable. Moreover, at a dinner together, it is not only the professional aspect that counts, but also the more personal, private aspect,” explains Callies.
There was some acknowledgement that the ability to cut costs might drive organisations to reduce business travel in the future and replace it with more videoconferencing. A more specific concern for the business aviation industry, however, is to do with the environment. “COVID has shone a spotlight on the role business travel plays in climate change,” says Toby Edwards, co-CEO at Victor. He continues, “So the trend may change but not because of video conferencing, rather because responsible businesses will avoid unnecessary travel in the future.” In other words, businesses are more likely to reduce their travel as a result of the environmental impact of flying, than due to cost considerations alone. Tim Callies also believes that what he calls the “Great Thunberg Movement” has helped to create sensitivity regarding the environment. “Corporations are keen to use environmental protection as a “trademark” towards their customers,” he notes.
Interestingly, organizers of leading events than serve the business aviation industry have seen their audiences double or even triple during the pandemic. “The virtual audiences we’ve created during the pandemic are significantly larger than the days when we just had in person meetings / events,” confirms Jeffery Lowe, CEO at Asian Sky Media. He points to concerns about health & safety, cost savings and higher efficiency as factors that continue to drive the trend for online shows and conferences.
So, do the advantages afforded by meeting clients and other key contacts personally far outweigh the costs? “Absolutely not. 2020 saw the best business jet transaction levels in at least three years, “asserts Lowe. “And all achieved despite a pandemic, with its quarantines, lock downs, travel restrictions, you name it. We all found ways to still connect with people and get business done.”
When all is said and done, however, there`s no denying that international travel opens up possibilities and creates experiences that are not possible via zoom. “Video conferencing is great to continue to build business relationships, but are a poor replacement for vacations,” points out Tom Chatfield. “Who wants to visit the Maldives, Italy or Jamaica virtually? There was lots of time to do that during lockdown – now people want to travel, to get out into the world and rediscover the joys of travel.”
There was praise for the UK CAA /DfT negotiation team and how it handled the block permits issue – from speakers Bernhard Fragner, GlobeAir. Derek Thomson, Air Charter Scotland and Glen Heavens, Synergy Aviation.
“They have been a role model for all,” said Bernhard and deserve applause. “We had a transparent three months as EU operators coming into the UK and as the deadline neared they gave Austria notice that they needed to have a reciprocal process in place for UK operators or it would be withdrawn, he said. Yet Austria delayed – only jumping into action at the end of March when it was clear the UK would not extend without such reciprocity.
We were then being cleared on a flight by flight arrangement and it’s complex but a reciprocal position (with UK) has now been reached. The Associations have been most helpful, he added.
There was some talk about the UK aircraft registry with Martyn Fiddler’s Adrian Jones talking up importing to the UK directly – to avoid paying EU tax. (Like Channel Islands and Guernsey). The UK is actually a good closing jurisdiction he suggested. “Have an MRO company on standby in the UK to assist should there be an issue,” he said.
Glen Heavens agreed, suggesting work should be done on this to raise awareness of the appeal of the UK registry.
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For two industries with much in common, the difference in the adoption of artificial intelligence on private jets versus superyachts is stark. While aviation has used AI in engines for 30 years, the superyacht industry is yet to get started.
So, why the disparity between AI usage on large yachts and private planes? After all, the target market for both is similar, with many ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) owning one (or more) of each asset. If the owners and users of business jets are expecting the best and latest technology for their plane, then why aren`t they asking for the same from their superyacht?
To answer this, it’s helpful to have some context. “When you analyse the trends you realise how far the aviation industry is ahead of everybody,” points out Joseph Adir, founder & CEO at WinTech Marine Intelligence. Moderating the AI panel at Quaynote’s online conference, The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property, Adir holds up companies like Netjets and JetEdge whose business models are both heavily reliant on AI. “Netjets currently operate 750 planes that have no set flight schedule from one day to the next. They are all shared owners and decide at the last moment where they want to go.”
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“We`ve witnessed the single greatest wealth creation event of our lifetimes,” announced Paul Jebely, managing partner, Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman Law (pictured at the bottom of this article), at Quaynote`s recent online conference, The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property. “And apparently, there was a global pandemic,” he adds.
Whether it is individuals who have achieved new levels of wealth and now feel financially comfortable buying a business jet or superyacht for the first time, or those who desire the expediency and safety of travelling by private jet or isolating on a yacht during and after the COVID pandemic, there is now an array of new entrants in both markets and more cross-over than ever before.
So, if your ultra high net worth principal or client tells you they are thinking of buying a private jet for the first time, how can you assist them? Maybe you have already guided them in purchasing a superyacht but acquiring a business jet entails unique set of challenges and pitfalls that you and your client must successfully navigate.
Fortunately, help is at hand. We assembled a unique panel of international experts at The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets and Luxury Property who steered us through the process of buying a jet, from determining budget and whether ownership the right solution generally, to finance (and leasing) options, to aircraft operation, (re-) configuration, maintenance and preservation – and a great deal in between.
Before embarking on this journey however, how can you determine whether aircraft ownership is right for your client? Owning a jet is an expensive business, as we will see later on, so you and your client should consider carefully whether the benefits of ownership outweigh the costs. “Owning a business jet makes sense when you travel a lot, say 200-300 hours per year,” states Alexandra Asche (pictured below), European sales director at Global Jet Capital (Switzerland). If the client is travelling less than this, then it might make sense financially to look at other options like chartering a plane, rather than ownership.
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Yacht and Business Jet Finance – What does the future hold?
To the uninitiated, the adage about luxury asset finance that says: “If you need the finance, then you’re probably not eligible for it” may sound confusing. But, as many of us learned at Quaynote’s recent online conference, The Future for Superyachts, Business Jets & Luxury Property, the fact that wealthy business owners and entrepreneurs would sooner finance their jet or yacht purchase, rather than pay cash, often makes perfect sense.
Why is this? What would lead a high or ultra high net worth individual (UHNWI) to finance the purchase of an asset when they can just as easily pay for it with their own money? “If the buyer of a vessel is an entrepreneur and it’s their first vessel, they’ve not accumulated hundreds of millions of assets and their business is generating say 10-12 per cent returns, then they don`t want to be using more cash than required to buy a luxury asset,” explained Bob Atkinson, partner at B Capital Partners, who joined a panel of finance experts at the conference. With interest rates lower than the rate of return from their business activities, it can make better economic sense to finance a yacht or jet purchase and then retain any cash reserves for investing in a growing business.
Even for an established business owner or UHNWI, the principle of using finance rather than your own cash to buy a luxury asset can apply. Indeed, James Jaffa, partner at Jaffa & Co, who moderated the panel, pointed out an interesting trend amongst his clients. “I’m seeing a pattern where owners are buying with their own finance and choosing to refinance afterwards,” he notes, “And I can’t see that this is due to the pandemic. We’re getting people buying and then financing 48 hours later.” For the client, this means that life is simpler, as they buy the asset with a clean title, they save money on legal fees involved in escrow arrangements and they nonetheless enjoy the benefits that financing offers.
For some buyers, cheaper interest rates have been behind their decision to refinance. “We had a client who bought an aircraft one year ago and then this year, with the interest rates lower, he decided to refinance to take advantage of this,” reports Marie-Laure Gassier, jet and yacht finance specialist at BNP Paribas. Current interest rates vary depending on a range of factors, but via private banking a client looking for a 20million euro loan over a 5-year period would typically expect 2.5-4 per cent.
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