Tim Barber: Redefining Aircraft Acquisition Strategies

Tim Barber
Tim Barber

Tim Barber, presently positioned as Aircraft Sales and Acquisition at Duncan Aviation is a distinguished figure, bearing a career trajectory rich with diverse experiences. Unlike many in his field, Tim’s journey transcends the realms of conventional brokerage. From being a part of the leadership team in a management buyout to navigating the intricacies of the London Stock Exchange, he wielded his expertise as a PLC Director, responsible for 2,000 personnel and a staggering GBP 200 million in turnover.

Venturing into the entrepreneurial sphere, Tim Co-founded JetBrokers Europe, a venture that burgeoned into JetBrokers Inc. marking his exit in 2015. His tenure with Air Partner offered a brief interlude before the allure of Duncan Aviation beckoned. Tim’s career is marked by a distinct departure from the corporate tumult he once inhabited. Stepping away from the confines of boardroom politics and mass employment dynamics, he embraced the realm of aircraft brokerage with fervor.

For Tim, professional fulfillment transcends the mere transactional bounds. He is one with deliberate choices, eschewing the conventional for the bespoke, where each aircraft sale exemplifies his ethos.

Let’s delve into a conversation with the paragon of seasoned expertise, offering a bespoke touch in an industry pulsating with transactions!

Tell us more about your company and its mission and vision.

Duncan Aviation is the largest, privately owned service provider in business aviation worldwide. Started in 1956 as an aircraft sales business it has grown and diversified and now employs close to 3,000 team members, with most of these being focused on the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations of the most popular business jets in use today. Our mission and vision are clearly and publicly stated:


Provide industry-leading business aviation products and services through the engagement and development of our team members while investing in equipment, facilities, new capabilities, and technologies to further extend our leading position and enduring legacy.


Connect with people and build relationships worldwide by expanding and empowering our aviation family to provide safe, efficient and high-quality products as well as services while promoting personal growth and a healthy life balance.

What methodologies do you implement that contribute to new growth opportunities?

I am constantly networking within the business aviation sector as well as amongst ultra-high-net-worth advisors. Much of my business comes from Family Offices and other advisors, so ensuring I’m visible both physically and online is important. In terms of online presence, my primary focus is on LinkedIn, where I post a few times each week but only ever on Business Aviation, and 99% of these posts are related to the sale of business jets. I don’t watch the countless self-promotional videos that are constantly on my timeline, quite simply because I’m too busy.

What strategies do you implement to promote gender diversity for various leadership positions at your company?

At Duncan Aviation, fostering diversity is not just a value, but a commitment deeply ingrained in our ethos. We recognize the profound impact that a diverse team brings, amplifying creativity and enhancing problem-solving capabilities. Our dedication to diversification extends beyond traditional boundaries, reaching out to communities where awareness of business aviation as a viable career path may be lacking.

Through partnerships with educational institutions spanning middle and high schools, trade schools, universities, and cultural centers, we endeavor to introduce a broader demographic to the opportunities within our industry. Our Apprenticeship Programs exemplify this commitment, offering hands-on skill development and clear pathways to obtaining vital certifications.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) statement articulates our unwavering stance on these principles. We define diversity not merely as a surface-level attribute, but as a holistic amalgamation of individual differences encompassing characteristics, values, beliefs, and experiences. Equity is not just a buzzword but a practice embedded in our hiring, evaluation and promotion processes, ensuring equal access to opportunities for all team members.

Inclusion, for us, is intentional; it’s about fostering a culture where every voice is heard, respected and empowered. Our commitment to DEI is not a standalone initiative but a collective responsibility upheld by every member of our organization, endorsed by leadership at all levels. Rooted in a culture of listening, learning and proactive action, our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion at Duncan Aviation is steadfast.

What values do you incorporate to enhance the work culture of your company?

On the corporate side, here are Duncan Aviation’s stated values. We:

  • Deliver the highest-quality products and services.
  • Communicate with transparency.
  • Charge fair prices and provide efficient turn-times.
  • Lead through action, innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Focus on solutions and act as trusted advisors.
  • Respect others and are accountable for our actions.
  • Maintain an inclusive team approach.
  • Value honesty, integrity, loyalty, and trust.
  • Promote safety, health and wellness.
  • Support our communities and respect the environment.
  • Are proud to be the best at what we do.

What, according to you, could be the next significant change in your sector? How are you preparing for the change?

The Business Aviation sector is always at the forefront of technology in the aviation sector and not surprisingly the emergence of new, low-carbon technologies will be pioneered within the sector. Whilst there was much media coverage of the first flight across the Atlantic by a Virgin airliner flying entirely on SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel), the reality is that it was a Gulfstream aircraft that completed it first.

We’re seeing e-VTOL (Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft being developed at a phenomenal pace as well as electric aircraft. What’s more, research into the use of hydrogen for business aviation is also advancing well.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for your company?

I’m closer to the end of my career than the beginning, so my future is very much more about supporting others in the sector to achieve greater results. I have a fantastic network that I want to continue to work with for the benefit of my colleagues.

The company will continue to develop and grow as the sector evolves. Over recent years we have expanded our operations and now have a manufacturing division. We also continue to invest in additional hangarage and new paint facilities. No doubt one of the big changes will see Duncan Aviation supporting the new technologies as they come online.

How do you approach mentoring and sharing your business insights with younger individuals interested in aircraft brokerage or entering the business aviation sector?

I am often contacted by younger people seeking guidance on how to become an aircraft broker or how to break into business aviation and I’m always happy to offer some guidance. I’ve been a mentor to students at one of my former universities, and that is something that has proven mutually beneficial. However, despite my broad business career, I’ve never been motivated to lecture others on how it should be done or offer lifestyle advice.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders willing to venture into the modern business arena?

As a father of 3 daughters, I think it’s an exciting time for women in the workplace. I think the opportunities are there to be seized and most of the prejudices that have existed throughout my career have now either disappeared or been significantly reduced, fortunately. It’ll perhaps take some more years for all of the misogynistic dinosaurs to disappear from business but the days where it was the ‘norm’ are behind us, which is a good thing.