An ex-Fleet Air Arm Commander, the founder of BAS Jets Monaco brings knowledge, passion and discretion to the world of business aviation
After a long career flying helicopters in the Royal Navy, undertaking many fascinating military roles at home and overseas, David Lewis has become a master in the art of discretion and diplomacy. When he left the military after 27 years’ service, he combined his love for aviation with a philosophy of respect and discernment to found BAS Jets, a company based in Monaco that buys and sells business jets and helicopters, focusing on “off-market transactions”.
“As with a lot of high-end products, whether it’s property, art or yachts, assets that come to market tend to be splashed all over industry media and that exposure isn’t necessarily what the sellers or the buyers actually want; they prefer to remain discreet,” explains David. “When I entered the business aviation industry, it was evident to me that there were clients who were interested in purchasing aircraft that weren’t advertised, and there were clients selling assets who didn’t necessarily want it known by the entire world that they were selling or changing their aircraft. These discerning individuals simply prefer to sell their aircraft through a trusted adviser, a confidant, representing the sale through a discreet network of private clients or like-minded trusted brokers around the world.”
David joined the Royal Navy in 1985 as a pilot, yet he earned his wings as a Lynx observer –enjoying many roles as a co-pilot, helicopter warfare instructor, special forces aircrew and senior staff officer. He finished his military career as a Commander, having been stationed around the world, including secondments in Brazil and Pakistan and on operations in Afghanistan.
His change of career came about after meeting a key player in business aviation at a friend’s wedding, a chance encounter that opened the door into this fascinating industry and ultimately led to a role selling business jets for a representative of the aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.
After five years in the industry, working in Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, David decided to establish his own business, building on his success and trusting his ability to maintain and develop a network of clients and trusted partners who understood and appreciated his straightforward, transparent and honest approach. “Over time, I have developed relationships with strategic partners around the world who, like me, prefer to operate slightly “under the radar” when it comes to sourcing aircraft for clients. I routinely reach out to clients and discreetly enquire about whether they are prepared to sell or upgrade.”
David guides buyers through the process to ensure they purchase the aircraft that most suits their requirements, and he also supports them when it comes to aircraft management and operations, using trusted regional partners.
“I offer a degree of integrity that is slightly different to other brokers,” says David. “Success in the world of business aviation is built on trust and the strength of personal relationships as you are engaging directly with clients, finding them real solutions to their requirements, with a very personal service. I may work with single individuals or a team if it’s a company, and although there are often lawyers and family offices involved, it’s the person at the top, the principal, that you need to satisfy and that’s a very rewarding achievement. In my experience, high-net-worth individuals respect people who deliver the highest standards of discretion and service, which is something I respect in kind.”