Airspace Africa had the privilege of conducting an exclusive interview with Raphael Haddad, President of Jetcraft Commercial, during the recently concluded AviaDev Africa event in Nairobi. Jetcraft Commercial, a prominent player in the aviation industry, specializes in aircraft inventory acquisition, providing valuable expertise and guidance to airlines worldwide.
Haddad was part of a panel discussion on how Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have helped airlines adapt their strategies during and after the pandemic. In this interview, Haddad explains Jetcraft Commercial’s unique position as an aircraft inventory buyer and highlights their role in assisting airlines with sourcing and pricing aircraft.
AA:Can you explain what Jetcraft Commercial does and how it differs from OEMs?
RH: Jetcraft Commercial is not a traditional broker or trader of aircraft. We specialize in buying inventory by taking on the risk associated with acquiring fleets from airlines. We ensure that the aircraft we purchase have proper economic, technical, and legal conditions. Our approach is similar to an OEM in that we control the inventory, perform maintenance when necessary, and eventually sell the aircraft. We act as intermediaries between OEMs and airlines.
AA: What are the terms under which you sell the aircraft?
RH: Most of the time, we sell the aircraft without the lease attached. However, we also engage in lease structuring when appropriate. Currently, we are considering developing our own asset management and lease portfolio. We are in discussions with customers to explore this possibility.
AA: How large is your aircraft portfolio at the moment?
RH: Currently, we control approximately 30 aircraft. However, this number can increase to 45 in the near future.
AA: How do you assist your customers in sourcing and pricing aircraft?
RH: We offer a wide variety of aircraft types, which gives us the flexibility to meet our customers’ specific needs. We recommend aircraft that best suit the customer’s requirements and environment. For example, if a customer is considering a wide-body aircraft but is actually a startup airline, we would advise against it and propose more suitable options. Our goal is to share our expertise and experience with our customers to help them avoid mistakes.
AA: Do airlines listen to your advice?
RH: Yes, in most cases, airlines are rational and make decisions based on economic conditions. They prioritize profitability, cost control, and acquiring high-quality aircraft that provide reliable service to their customers. We provide valuable guidance, and most airlines appreciate our expertise and take our advice into consideration.
AA: Where is your market currently based?
RH: Our market is global. We have offices in various locations around the world, including Johannesburg, South Africa, for our commercial aircraft division. We serve clients in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.
AA: How do you view the African market in relation to your business?
RH: The African market is crucial for our commercial aircraft division. Currently, 40% of our activities are focused on Africa, with 4 out of 10 ongoing campaigns targeting the continent. We observe a demand for aircraft such as Dash 8 Q400s, ATR 72s, CJ200s, CJ900s, and E170s.
AA: Could you mention some partners you are working with?
RH: As an intermediary between OEMs and airlines, we collaborate with various partners in the aviation industry. Our extensive network allows us to source a wide range of aircraft models to meet our customers’ needs.
Jetcraft Commercial plays a unique role in the aviation industry as an aircraft inventory buyer, offering airlines the expertise and guidance they need to make informed decisions about their fleets. With a global presence and a focus on the African market, Jetcraft Commercial continues to assist airlines in sourcing and pricing aircraft to ensure profitability, cost control, and reliable service to their customers.