Part art, part science, closing successful deals in private aviation requires superior sales skills, tenacity and business insight. Here we profile some of the top aircraft dealmakers in the Americas.

WHEN people outside the industry picture private jet salespeople they might see champagne being knocked back with celebrities, earnest meetings on business jets flying across oceans and brokers nimbly jumping aboard superyachts to join the next party.

They do not see the late nights waiting for people to call (or being woken up at two in the morning), the fourth-degree sunburn after hours on the static display at Henderson Airport in Las Vegas during NBAA-BACE, or the heartbreak when a deal you are relying on falls down for any of many, many reasons.

Although the public perception is sometimes true, aircraft brokers and advisers will tell you that closing deals is getting harder and harder. Good aircraft advisers have the experience to know when to push deals through (and when to slow them down) and know the right people to call when there are tax, maintenance, finance or other issues.

Sadly, as with buying a house, buying an aircraft is not often a fun process. But good advisers can stop it from becoming a nightmare. This Dealmakers 30 list recognises the people based in the Americas who get transactions to close. Some of them specialise in advising buyers, some prefer selling; others are dealers who prefer buying aircraft and reselling them at a profit; many do both. All of the 30 were chosen after intensive research and surveys of more than 7,000 people.

It is hard to define a Dealmaker so we have been deliberately simplistic. We have not included salespeople at manufacturers or others such as bankers, lawyers and others who also have real transactional skills. These are all crucial to the industry but do not fit this list.

Several nominated people asked not to be included and, as with all lists, we are sure we have missed really worthy candidates (apologies if one of them should happen to be you).

We always welcome feedback and if you disagree with any of the choices please email Alud Davies at

[email protected]

Jim Donath

Donath Aircraft Services, President, Chicago, Illinois

Founded: 1978 | Market Focus: Aircraft acquisitions and sales

Andre Khury

ACASS, CEO, Montreal

Years selling aircraft: 15 | Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions and management

Drew Callen

Boston JetSearch, Founder and CEO, Bedford, Massachusetts

Years buying aircraft: 36 | Market focus: Solely aircraft acquisition

Mike McCracken

Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions, President, Florida

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Jack Prewitt

Jack Prewitt and Associates, Founder, Colleyville, Texas

Market focus: Acquisitions, brokerage and leasing | Years transacting aircraft: 31

Aircraft sold: More than 1,000

Deals: Over $4 billion

Jay Mesinger

Mesinger Jet Sales, CEO/President, Boulder, Colorado

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Don & Mike Dwyer

Guardian Jet, Managing partners, Guilford, Connecticut

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Bryan Comstock & George Marburger

Jeteffect, Founding partners and MDs (West Coast/East Coast), Long Beach, California

Nick Cerretani

Cerretani Aviation, Co-founder, Boulder, Colorado

Market focus: Sales and acquisitions

Dustin Cordier

jetAVIVA, President,New Century, Kansas

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Dave Clark

Integris Aviation Consultancy, MD, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Gary Meisner

Meisner Aircraft, President, Burlington, Wisconsin

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Found: 1979

Johnny Foster

OGARAJETS, President and CEO, Atlanta, Georgia

Number of transactions: 750 deals

Value of transactions: Over $3.5 billion

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisitions

Brad Hatt

Hatt & Associates, President, Denver, Colorado

Market focus: Brokerage, acquisitions, consulting, pre-buy management and legal services

Experience in aviation: 38 years

Aircraft deals: Thousands

Ted Farid

JetHQ, Chairman, Wichita, Kansas

Years in the industry: 52

Most memorable sale: Three Citations to the Chinese government

Mitch McCune

CFS Jets, CEO/President, Cornelius, North Carolina

Market focus: Aircraft Sales and acquisitions

Deals completed: Hundreds

Years of operation: More than 30

Brian Proctor

Mente Group, President and CEO, Frisco, Texas

Market focus: Aircraft sales and acquisition

Lee Rohde

Essex Aviation Group, Inc. President & CEO, New Hampshire

Market focus: New and pre-owned aircraft acquisition, aircraft refurbishment, private jet chartering and fractional ownership

Rebecca Posoli-Cilli

Freestream Aircraft, President and CEO, Teterboro, New Jersey

Market focus: Aircraft acquisitions and services

Number of transactions: More than 375

Deborah Ann Bew Liu

Aircraft Acquisitions Inc, Founding president, Durham, North Carolina

Market focus: Acquisition of jet and turbo-prop aircraft

Jeff Habib

Intercontinental Aircraft Group, Co-founder and managing parter, New York

Market focus: Aircraft acquisitions and sales

Company Transactions over 30 years: $6 billion