Financing a luxury asset, such as a yacht, private jet or helicopter may not be the obvious choice during a global pandemic; however, Close Brothers has seen strong demand for this portfolio in the last 12 months. Andy Blundell, managing director of Close Brothers Aviation & Marine, says business volumes are currently exceeding pre-pandemic levels, with industry dealers and brokers also posting encouraging sales.

With overseas travel being severely curtailed during the pandemic, the idea of having your own yacht has become an attractive proposition for many prospective buyers thinking about private, secure family holidays in the age of Covid.

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.

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.

Andy Blundell, managing director, Close Brothers Aviation & Marine

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 and security as well as bringing a time benefit to the business.

Cashflow planning is, of course, at the forefront of most businesses, now more than ever. We’ve seen several customers that have decided to finance rather than pay cash or seeking to refinance previously purchased assets. 

Some are protecting cashflow as much as possible, while others are building up a war chest for future projects. In all areas, lessors of air and sea luxury transport should be well placed for the lifting of restrictions and the return of normality.