The upkeep costs for an aircraft charter business are very high, so finding ways to save here and there is always valuable. However, when you operate in an industry where safety comes first (as it always should, in transportation), and customer experience second, you must make sure that your cost-cutting methods don’t affect either.
Here are a few ways you might be able to save money while keeping your aircraft in tip-top shape.
1. Shop around for an independent mechanic or shop that prices reasonably.
Before you begin operations, make sure you’ve given ample time to finding a repair shop or mechanic to entrust your plane with. Examine their billing practices; some may inflate the parts prices greatly whenever you need replacements. If you can get in touch with other aircraft owners within the area, ask them for recommendations.
2. Try to find parts yourself.
To avoid being overcharged, learn your aircraft parts and try to track down the necessary spares yourself whenever you need them. Suppliers such as Aircraft Spruce have websites that you can check. You can also call up different suppliers to shop around for bargains.
3. Buy supplies in bulk.
If you’re barely making your budget fit, this might be difficult to squeeze in, but buying maintenance staples in bulk can save you a decent amount of money over time. Consider bulk purchases for consumables like engine oil and oil filters, grease, landing gear fluid, deicing fluid, and even cleaning supplies. You’ll not only save with the wholesale price, but you’re also less likely to find yourself in a situation where you have to spring for a bad deal just because you’ve run out of something and need it in a hurry.
4. Hangar your aircraft.
Providing a hangar for your planes might seem like a large added expense, but it can save you money on repairs and insurance costs in the long run. Having the plane exposed to the elements longer than necessary means it’s more likely to accumulate sun, wind, and snow damage.
5. Learn to do “owner-assisted” annual inspections.
If your time allows for it, learn to do some of the basic aspects of annual inspections. Some A&P (airframe and powerplant) mechanics will allow you to participate in straightforward tasks such as removing the inspection plates, cowling, opening up panels, and changing the oil – and charge you less than the normal price.
6. Be open to deals.
Some suppliers of parts and services may be willing to offer discounts for bulk and regular purchases, as well as exchange deals. If your company has a website or impressive marketing materials, offer a deal for discounts in exchange for promotion.
7. Don’t try to save money when buying the plane.
It might be tempting to go for a seemingly good deal on a used plane, but know that when it comes to aircraft, you’re most likely getting what you pay for. What might seem cheap upon purchase could have you spending large amounts in the long run just trying to make it airworthy.