Auto dealers put private aviation to work

Auto Dealer

Running an automotive dealership requires travel for acquisitions, OEM meetings, and industry conferences that can sap dealership owners of the time and focus they need to keep their business on track. As your dealership business grows and your time becomes increasingly valuable, flying privately for your business or even leisure can help you put that time to best use.

The benefits of flying privately

When taking commercial flights, even at the most convenient airports, you’ll likely spend hours getting to the airport, clearing security, retrieving your baggage, and traveling to your destination. Smaller airports that cater to private aircraft are more widely distributed geographically—often closer to your destination—and can significantly reduce your travel time.  While on board, you’ll have the privacy to hold business meetings, be able to stay connected via Wi-Fi, and arrive more relaxed after traveling in a more comfortable setting.

Besides time, crowds, and hassle, there are the pervasive health concerns of flying in an age of global pandemics, and that’s created many first-time aircraft buyers. Smaller airports, smaller planes, and less time in crowded public places (whether at the airport or on commercial flights) add up to a reduced risk of exposure to germs.

Lately, travel delays have been more than mere inconveniences—they can disrupt your business commitments and schedule. In the first six months of 2022, 24% of commercial flights in the US have been delayed and 3.2% have been canceled.Disclosure 1 What happens when cancelled flights lead to missed meetings or a change of plans at the last minute? Private aviation can help protect you from the opportunity costs of lost time.

The comfort of traveling in your own plane makes a difference when your business depends on your leadership. A flight in a cramped seat next to a traveling companion you didn’t select likely won’t leave you rested and ready for business.

How much will it cost?

Choosing the private aviation that’s best for you starts with your approach to what types of trips you’ll want to take, where you need to go, how often you’ll travel, how many other passengers will travel with you, etc.  Your plans will determine what type of aircraft would best meet your travel needs—turboprop, light jet, or large cabin aircraft.

You may choose to buy an aircraft and offset a portion of the ownership expenses by placing the aircraft on a Part 135 certificate with an aircraft management company. Consult with your financial and tax advisor as it relates to current bonus deprecation benefits for new and preowned aircraft as well as Part 91 and Part 135 usage.

By the Numbers
Typical Aviation Purchase

Aircraft: Turboprop or jet

Age: 15 years or less; up to 20 years on an exception basis

Financing: 75-85% loan-to-value

Term: 5-7 years with a balloon (amortizations vary based on usage)

Rate: Fixed or floating

Structuring the transaction

A financing partner with extensive experience in aircraft transactions can provide a wide range of financing options and will work with you to tailor a financing arrangement that meets your needs.  There are several banks and lending sources, including Truist, that have a dedicated team of aviation financing specialists that can share their expertise and provide a smooth transaction.  These sources are typically active members of several associations including NBAA and IADA which are like the auto industry’s NADA. NBAA hosts their annual conference in October.

Your financial advisors and attorneys can help you structure the transaction in a way that yields optimal incremental depreciation and other potential tax benefits for your business. Most dealers set up a limited liability corporation (LLC) or another entity specifically dedicated for the purpose of owning the aircraft.

If you fly regularly on behalf of your dealership, it’s worth consulting your advisors about whether private aviation makes sense for your business. Talk to a Truist Dealer Services relationship manager about how Truist can help you explore options to structure aviation financing for your business. For more information, visit

Does private aviation make sense for your business?

Talk to a Truist Dealer Services relationship manager about how Truist can help you explore options to structure aviation financing for your business. For more information, visit