The Jet Business takes off in London
Like many in the aircraft sales business Steve Varsano is a pilot by inclination. He has eschewed flying for a living in favour of making bigger bucks buying and selling bizjets. However, his love of technology and all things aeronautical permeates his new showroom in Grosvenor Place London. Doorhandles are designed to look like engine cowls, branding is based on isogonal lines on aviation charts and his business address includes the shop’s latitude and longitude coordinates.
He prefers today to sit in the back, as he says, “sipping wine and enjoying the journey.” (Just as well he’s not in the cockpit then). What he’s offering clients is a supercharged broker experience and “raising the game” for aircraft sales and acquisition. 20% of his business is from new customers, so he is working with bizjet manufacturers.
People new to jet ownership, or even old hands, can source an aircraft that meets their needs in minutes, rather than months, courtesy of an app he’s designed that offers graphical comparisons projected onto a huge screen the size of a Gulfstream G550 cabin. The design is simple and takes the viewer easily through a series of questions, such as ‘how far do I want to go?”, ” How much should I spend?”, and “how many people will I have on board?’ .
Aircraft floors and cabins are overlaid on top of each other and the viewer can stand in front of the screen to get a true idea of cabin height and width. Once the field is narrowed down, Varsano pulls up a list of available aircraft on his books, for which he has lots of photographs and specs.
Like any brokerage, there is a full time team of analysts sourcing aircraft. Varsano is also offering his showroom to manufacturers should they wish to take their clients there to take a detailed look at their product range.
The back of the shop contains a full-size mockup of an Airbus ACJ, outfitted by Design Q (they of the camper jet fame), which is stunning. Varsano took me through the differences in dB levels on board, with an app that does just that. Each 5 dB really does make a huge difference. I mean I knew that – but I never really knew how much difference each increment makes. 10 minutes of playing – er testing – was a revelation.
More wizadry and fun comes with a special secret entrance behind the shop for clients who really don’t wish to be seen, and a dimmable window that clouds the front window, hiding what’s going on inside from prying eyes. Expect startled drivers for the next wee while as the hologram beaming out from the reception window engages people driving past. With offerings from each of the major bizjet manufacturers, the planes seem to fly out to the road. In the five days the room has been open Varsano has pulled in two prospects on spec -a Canadian and a someone from the Middle East.
The Jet Business is aimed at upping the customer experience. If clients are unable to meet at the shop, the team will travel to any destination in the world and bring a mobile version on a specially customised IPad. Next stop is China. Varsano is also keen to develop the app further, moving into interiors, with what he calls the “Star Trek” version.
Will it work? Having invested what he says is ‘the price of a small jet’ into the concept, Varsano believes so. If it does, it will change the face of used aircraft sales forever. Well worth a look.