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Q&A with Andy Blundell, Managing Director of Close Brothers Aviation and Marine

Buying a luxury asset like a yacht, aircraft or helicopter may not be the obvious choice during a global pandemic; however, Close Brothers Aviation and Marine has seen strong levels of activity over the past year.

Andy Blundell, Managing Director of Close Brothers Aviation and Marine, sheds more light on strong business levels across the portfolio, from industry dealers to brokers.

Buyers have been a real mix over the last 12 months, ranging from new entrants to experienced owners either upgrading assets or rekindling their passion for yachting or aviation. With overseas travel being severely curtailed during the pandemic, the attraction of having your own yacht for a private, secure family holiday is a really attractive proposition for many prospective buyers. 

Buyers of larger yachts that would normally be going straight to Mediterranean waters have also been active and are willing to buy now in readiness for being able to return to warmer waters as soon as restrictions allow.

Aviation has seen a similar strong demand. Flying schools have reported a strong order book, with plenty of demand from students or qualified pilots needing to build up their hours. With general aviation activities resuming from April, the skies over the UK should be busy this summer.

Corporate Aviation has also seen encouraging developments and we are seeing many businesses choosing to either charter or own their own aircraft for business trips that would previously have been done via train or short-haul flight. Private charters that can avoid congested airport terminals or railway stations is seen as a real benefit in terms of employee safety & security as well as bringing a time benefit to the business.

Cash flow planning is, of course, at the forefront of most businesses, now more than ever. We’ve seen a number of customers who have decided to finance rather than pay cash or seeking to refinance previously purchased assets. Some are protecting cash flow as much as possible, while others are building up a war chest for future projects. In all areas, we are well placed for the lifting of restrictions and the return of normality.