MOORESVILLE – Tony Ryan has a passion for aircraft.
That passion has led to great things for Ryan, the president of Carolina Corporate Jet, a Mooresville-based company that buys and sells used turbine aircraft.
Carolina Corporate Jet specializes in Cessna Citation and Raytheon brand jets. Under Ryan’s leadership since 2002, the company has developed relationships with corporations like FedEx and Blockbuster Video in addition to selling personal jets for local NASCAR drivers, aviation enthusiasts and national celebrities.
Ryan has been involved with more than $400 million worth of jet and turbine-propelled aircraft sales in his time as a sales guru. Some of the most expensive jets he’s sold with Carolina Corporate Jet are used Bombardier Challengers, which can sell for $10 million each.
He said his business – which partners with Greensboro-based Carolina Aircraft – underwent a lower sales rate during the late-2000s economic downturn, but business, like the jets he sells, is on the rise.
“We’re seeing an uptick in business this year,” Ryan said. “We’ve already had good sales and we’re hoping for more the rest of the year.”
The sales growth the company, and the overall jet-selling industry, is enjoying shows the on-going desire people have to own and operate their own aircraft.
According to a FlightGlobal report quoting aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia, corporate jet sales are expected to grow by 8 percent this year and 12 percent in 2014.
The increase in jet sales comes following the economic crisis, in which deliveries of jets costing as much as $25 million fell by 56 percent from 2008-11, the FlightGlobal report said.
“Corporate profits and other global wealth indicators are up very nicely,” Aboulafia was quoted as saying. “Used jet availability has fallen to a healthy level.”
Ryan admitted things were tough for jet dealers, in part because they rely on people with disposable income to buy new jets. He said half of his sales come from that group.
“We went through some tough times like everyone else,” he said, “but we’re making the best of it now. Things are on the upswing.”
Carolina Corporate Jet’s profile is also gaining steam. The company’s corporate offices relocated from Yeager Road to a new office off Brawley School Road in mid-March.
Ryan said the part of his client base that comes from NASCAR had no bearing on his decision to start his business in Mooresville. Instead, it was just an added bonus of being in a market close to a major hub with a good climate.
But building relationships with drivers and other clients has been one of the most positive experiences of keeping his business in the area.
“We sell jets all over the world: Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, everywhere,” he said. “(Developing relationships) is key to what we do. You’ve got to have repeat customers, so traveling across the globe and meeting a lot of new people is important. But it’s fun. We’re hoping to keep moving up.”
Want to learn more?
Carolina Corporate Jets is located at 862 Brawley School Road, Suite 204, Mooresville. Visit www.carolinacorporatejet.com or call 704-662-8680 for details on available jets and more company information.