Private aircraft auction house and US aircraft brokerage firm Assent Aeronautics created a new way to buy and sell aircraft in 2019 with the launch of the Assent live private aircraft auction series. In 2020, Assent pivoted to bring the auctions online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and saw over $180 million in aircraft cross the auction block. In 2021, Assent realised over $200 million in aircraft transactions across live private aircraft auctions, traditional aircraft brokerage and a new aviation lease management practice.
Highlights from the company's 2021 results show more than 50 aircraft transactions, including sales and lease placements, at a value of more than $250 million, with some 12 per cent through international buyers. Assent ends the year as a top ten aircraft broker globally, for the second year in a row, by volume. More than 20 business aircraft joined its aviation lease management practice, including Citation Xs, BBJs, Challengers and Gulfstreams, and over 12 are currently available for lease and delivery in 2022, for which Assent is actively accepting LOIs. It also claims that its Straight and Level TV series, produced by subsidiary Assent Media and Entertainment, is the most-watched non-fiction aviation show on television.
While demand for private travel seesawed from historic lows to historic highs within a 12 month period, Assent adapted to industry and client demands. In the middle of a global pandemic, more than $180 million in aircraft crossed the auction block its live private auction series. Now on the other side of the trough, nationwide charter operators face unprecedented demand and may be struggling to deliver, some short by dozens of aircraft, as an avalanche of holiday travel looms. Assent launched its aviation lease management practice to place lease fleet and leaseback aircraft with Part 135 operators, focusing on King Air 350, Citation X, Challenger, Gulfstream and business aircraft airframes.
“For aircraft owners who want to realise lease revenue from their jet, Assent's aviation lease management practice is the solution that guarantees lease revenue, provides maintenance and financial oversight to protect your investment in aviation and ensures you, the aircraft owner, have control over your invested dollar in the face of historic demand,” says Assent founder and president W Hulsey Smith. “Our research, analysis and industry intelligence all point to the continuation of over 30 per cent growth in demand through 2022. In the near-term, demand will undoubtedly continue to outstrip supply, giving way to higher charter rates, increasing lease rates and unprecedented asset appreciation.”
Assent Aeronautics has also tapped current AVP Jake Banglesdorf to serve as executive vice president of Assent's aircraft transaction and advisory business unit. Banglesdorf ended both 2020 and 2021 in the top five aircraft brokers under 40 by volume globally. In his new role, he will lead and manage the Assent live private aircraft auction series, traditional aircraft brokerage and Assent's aviation lease management practice. He is charged with scaling all three components of the business unit and adding brokers to meet increasing demand.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and the trust that Hulsey and the Smith family have put in me to lead this team and grow this business unit," says Banglesdorf. "They have given me all of the tools needed to be successful, including access to growth capital and the ability to add seasoned aircraft brokers to our roster. Beyond organic growth, as we look to 2022 we are considering accretive M&A opportunities as well.”