The team at Arkle Finance in Wellingborough have been flying high thanks to a new venture with a pilot and former flying instructor in Andover.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Weatherbys Bank, provides businesses with the finance they need to purchase or lease new machinery or equipment. Known as asset finance, the loan or funding is then secured against the new assets or capital equipment.
Its latest venture has seen Arkle Finance work with a company called Reborn Aviation that buys old aircraft to not only restore them, but fit them with the latest GPS tracking equipment and modern safety features, as well as extra touches for comfort and modernisation. Reborn Aviation has also patented its own display panel of dials and whistles which goes into each and every plane.
Reborn Aviation is run by a pilot who is using his own vast experience of flying planes to know what features would be useful – and essential – to have on board. The company takes aircraft that is 30 years old or more and completely strips it out, leaving a shell, which is then strengthened and corrosion proofed. It then retro-fits and restores it, re-upholsters it, gives it a new engine, propellers and lights and adds the latest safety enhancements, GPS, hill detection and sat nav technology that wasn’t around 30 years ago. The company has also created specialist glass cockpits.
Jay Lucas, Business Development Manager at Arkle and the team’s resident aviation specialist, said: “We were very excited to get involved in this project. It is an amazing idea for a business.
“To those looking to buy a light, four-seater aircraft, one of these refurbished models costs around 50% less than a brand new one, the waiting time is less, and you can select your paint colour and other specifications too.
“We worked with our client to fund the refurbishment process so there was no capital outlay for him, and he could pay for his staff to do the work.”
Arkle Finance established a funding agreement in three stages with Reborn Aviation.
- To cover work on the airframe and propeller
- To cover work on the engine and avionics
- To cover any finishing touches
The team is also working with Reborn Aviation to create a business plan that it can take to flying schools to work on refurbishing their fleets.
Brian Jerome, Associate Director at Arkle Finance, added: “We encountered Reborn Aviation following their completion of the first two planes of this type – one for the charity Aerobility, which offers disabled people the opportunity to fly an aeroplane, and another for a private client. We were glad to have worked with them on this third venture and, as each project takes around six months to complete, funding it in three stages worked both for us and the client. Unlike other finance agreements, we couldn’t secure this funding against the plane itself as it hadn’t been completed to its new true value yet, so we lent money secured against the components, such as the airframe and engine.
“It is projects like this, where we get to see real ‘out the box thinking’, which we just love. As a business idea, these planes are reaching a target market looking for an affordable plane that is safe with the latest tech that they can customise. It is also recycling to a degree which is another ‘tick in the box’.”
The two businesses are now looking forward to working together on two more plane refurbishments they have waiting ‘in the wings’.
“We are very proud of this collaboration,” said Jay. “Working with customers to achieve their dreams and business goals is the best feeling in the world. We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Reborn Aviation. The sky is the limit!”