Tag Archives: Air Charter Broker

Wheels Up Acquires Charter Operator Travel Management Company/TMC Jets

Floating Fleet charter operator TMC Jets with 26 light jets is acquired by Wheels Up.

Floating Fleet charter operator TMC Jets with 26 Hawker 400XP and Nextant 400XT light jets is acquired by Wheels Up.

Membership-based private flight company Wheels Up announced it was acquiring floating fleet charter operator Travel Management Company (TMC).  Terms of the deal were not released.

TMC operates 26 Hawker 400XP and Nextant 400XT light jets across the eastern half of the U.S. on a floating fleet model of one-way priced charters, focusing on the wholesale charter channel consisting mostly of charter brokers.

Wheels Up is a membership model with 93 aircraft; 72 King Air 350i executive turboprops, 15 Citation Excel/XLS midsize jets and 6 Citation X super-midsize jets, and will also arrange other ad hoc charters functioning as a charter broker.  Wheels Up program aircraft are managed and operated by Gama Aviation.  Both TMC and Gama Aviation carry ratings of ARGUS Platinum, Wyvern Wingman and IS-BAO Registered.

All 39 floating fleet operators with 435 one-way price aircraft are in FlightList PRO, the largest charter sourcing platform database.  Full access is $90 month-to-month.  Learn More.

TMC ranked as the 10th most active Part 135 operator in the US according to ARGUS International, flying 19,033 hours in 2018.  ARGUS data shows Gama Aviation was the #1 most active Part 135 operator in 2018 flying 91,195 hours.

The 26 light jets of TMC compliment Wheels Up’s existing fleet which was absent of aircraft in the light jet category.  Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter stressed that the acquisition will not alter Gama Aviation’s role in operating Wheels Up’s fleet. “We love our relationship with Gama,” he told AIN.

According to Dichter, TMC will operate as a separate subsidiary of Wheels Up and continue to provide the same service to its existing wholesale channel partners.  TMC will also continue to be lead by its existing leadership team, including CEO Phil Dodyk.

Private equity company TPG Growth bought TMC from its founder Pete Liegl in 2017. TPG also owned a significant stake in XOJET at the time. It sold XOJET to Vista Global in September 2018. TMC owned 68 aircraft when it was sold in 2017 – 36 Hawker 400XPs, 29 Hawker 800XPs, two Challenger 604s and one King Air 200. The company was launched in 2006.

“Wheels Up is officially in deal mode,” said Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO of Wheels Up to Corporate Jet Investor. “Light jets clearly go together with King Airs for entry level users and we now have 119 aircraft. We also get more than 90 great pilots and 125 employees who will stay with the business and keep all of its relationships with channel partners going.”

“This acquisition is a foundational piece in our continued brand evolution and mission to provide our members with a total private aviation solution,” said Dichter. “TMC and its light jet fleet are a perfect complement to our anchor partner, Gama Aviation, which will continue to operate the aircraft in our Wheels Up fleet.”

TMC will operate as an independent subsidiary of Wheels Up. It will stay in Elkhart, Indiana with Dodyk staying as CEO. Gama Aviation will continue to operate the Wheels Up fleet.

“The team at TMC is world-class, and we’re proud of the reputation we’ve earned for being one of the safest and most reliable operators in private aviation,” said Phil Dodyk, CEO of TMC. “By joining Kenny and the Wheels Up team, we’re excited to become part of such a renowned brand and a larger company that is deep with talented leadership, which shares our collective vision of building an industry leader.”

Sources:  Wheels Up release, AINonline article, Alasdair Whyte of Corporate Jet Investor

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Leading air charter brokers and travel professionals use FlightList PRO’s full-market resources, economical rates and marketing opportunities to grow their service level, their business and their bottom line. 

DOT Issuing Final Rule on Air Charter Brokers, Air Charter Industry

 The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is issuing a Final Rule on the role of Air Charter Brokers and consumer disclosures applying to Air Charter Brokers, air taxis and commuter air carriers, and unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition.

Timeline; in 2007 the DOT published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), took public comments, and in 2013 issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and took public comments.

Published by document in the Federal Register Sept. 17, the DOT is issuing a Final Rule “to facilitate innovation and growth in the air charter industry while strengthening the legal protections provided to consumers of charter air transportation.”

The rule has a publish date of 09/17/2018 and becomes effective 02/14/2019.

DOT Final Rule Main Points

According to the document, the final rule:

  1. Codifies and allows ‘‘air charter brokers’’ as principals or bona fide agents to provide single entity charter air transportation of passengers.
  2. Requires air charter brokers to make certain disclosures including those responsive to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation and to make other disclosures upon request.
  3. Enumerates certain practices by air charter brokers as prohibited unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition.
  4. Requires air taxis and commuter air carriers that sell charter air transportation to make certain disclosures including those responsive to an NTSB recommendation and other disclosures upon request.
  5. enumerates certain practices by an air taxi or commuter air carrier as prohibited unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition.

According to the document, The DOT is not adopting a proposal to codify exemption authority allowing indirect air carriers to engage in the sale of air transportation related to air ambulance services. Nor is it adopting a proposal to codify certain air transportation services performed under contract with the Federal Government.

The DOT’s final rule document  includes each DOT-proposed rule, summary of comments on the rule, and the final DOT Response.  It is published here in the Federal Register with a date of 09/17/2018.  The pdf “official electronic format” is published here.

Source:  Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 180 / Monday, September 17, 2018 / Rules and Regulations

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

FlightList PRO, at $90 for 3 users no contract, is a favorite of the most experienced charter brokers and travel professionals; 80% of FlightList PRO users have been arranging charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.  Free trials available.

Five Air Charter Brokers and Operators Named to 2018 Inc. 5000

Each year Inc. Magazine names the fastest-growing privately held small companies in the U.S., called the “Inc. 5000”.  The companies are ranked by overall revenue growth over the prior three-year period.  All 5,000 honoree companies are individually profiled on Inc.com.

Inc. also ranks the companies into sub-categories by industry, state, metro, city and others.

Five private air charter operator and broker companies were named to the 2018 Inc. 5000.  The below information is from the Inc. 5000, and shown in order of ranking, 3-year growth rate:

Luxury Aircraft Solutions
(charter broker) Provides private jet charter services, specializing in challenging itineraries at the industry’s lowest pricing.

  • 2018 Rank #2143
  • Leadership: Daniel Hirschhorn
  • 2017 Revenue $6.1M
  • 3-Year Growth 207%
  • Founded 2011 Employees 6

Premier Private Jets 
(charter operator) Specializes in chartered private aircraft, aircraft management, and pilot training.

  • 2018 Rank #2262
  • Leadership: Josh Birmingham
  • 2017 Revenue $6.3M
  • 3-Year Growth 195%
  • Founded 2003 Employees 20
  • A two-time Inc. 5000 honoree, 2017 – 2018

Paramount Business Jets
(charter broker) Offers private flights to and from any city in the world with as little as four hours of notice.

  • 2018 Rank #2550
  • Leadership: Richard Zaher
  • 2017 Revenue $15.4M
  • 3-Year Growth 168%
  • Founded 2005 Employees 20
  • A three-time Inc. 5000 honoree, 2013, 2014, 2018

Private Jets
(charter operator) Provides customer service worldwide in the aircraft charter industry. Serves as an aircraft charter operator for individuals as well as businesses nationwide.

  • 2018 Rank #2776
  • Leadership: Happy Wells
  • 2017 Revenue $17.4M
  • 3-Year Growth 149%
  • Founded 1987 Employees 50

Magellan Jets
(charter broker) Provides national and international charter jet flights. Offers private jet membership programs and other services for those who require a private jet when they are traveling. One of its perks is the low 10-hour notice that is required before a flight is booked.

  • 2018 Rank #3737
  • Leadership: Joshua Hebert
  • 2017 Revenue $38M
  • 3-Year Growth 98%
  • Founded 2008 Employees 35
  • A six-time Inc. 5000 honoree, 2013 – 2018

Sources:  Inc. 5000, Inc.com

FlightList PRO, at $90 for 3 users no contract, is a favorite of the most experienced charter brokers and travel professionals; 80% of FlightList PRO users have been arranging charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.  Free trials available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Jet Charter Broker PrivateFly Acquired by Directional Aviation

Directional Aviation, parent to subsidiary OneSky LLC – which holds fractional provider Flexjet and charter brokers Skyjet and Sentient Jet – announced yesterday the acquisition of U.K.-based online charter broker PrivateFly.

Launched in 2008, PrivateFly will combine with charter broker Skyjet, “to create one of the world’s largest online booking platforms for private jet charter, one with a robust digital platform and a physical geography and assets tailored for countries on four continents,” according to Directional’s press release.  No purchase price was disclosed.

The combined PrivateFly/Skyjet entity will have a presence in both the U.S. and Europe and will leverage OneSky’s existing assets and infrastructure.

OneSky’s Flexjet provides fractional jet ownership, leases and jet cards.  Sentient Jet sells jet cards exclusively.  Skyjet sells on-demand charter and a membership program.

Charter Alerts – current news about charter operators, brokers and aircraft – are posted by FlightList PRO, serving charter brokers and operators with the largest platform of aircraft in the U.S., Europe and worldwide.

For its part, PrivateFly acquired U.S.-based broker Bird Dog Jet last November bringing with it a preferred supplier relationship to the $23.7 billion Virtuoso network of luxury travel agencies.

PrivateFly co-founders Adam Twidell and Carol Cork will lead Skyjet/PrivateFly as CEO and chief marketing officer, respectively, a OneSky spokesman told Aviation International News.  They will both report to Andrew Collins, who is now the global brand manager for Skyjet, PrivateFly, and Sentient Jet, and also retains his title as president and CEO of Sentient Jet.

Directional Aviation also holds aircraft remanufacturer Nextant Aerospace as well as various parts, services, leasing, and aircraft finance businesses and was estimated to have $2.5 billion in revenues and 3,000 employees in 2017.

Directional has been growing through acquisitions domestically and abroad. It acquired Sentient Jet in 2012 and then Flexjet and Skyjet in 2013.  In 2016, it acquired U.K. charter operator FlairJet.  Directional principal Ken Ricci last year told Forbes.com, “What I see happening is opportunities overseas more – we are starting to see a shift to more opportunities outside the U.S. than within it.”

Sources:  Company press release, AIN, Forbes.com

FlightList PRO, at $90 for 3 users no contract, is a favorite of the most experienced charter brokers and travel professionals; 80% of FlightList PRO users have been arranging charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.  Free trials available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

2017 Results and 2018 Projections from 15 Air Charter Companies

Jet Charter Fleet

Photo courtesy New Flight Charters

Air charter activity is up worldwide according to data and anecdotal reports.  US and global economies are favorable and consumer sentiment is improving.  Recent US tax law changes are providing incentive and resources for business growth in the US and helping fuel the upward trend of business aviation for 2018.

We will let the industry speak for itself; from 15 air charter companies, organizations and individuals- compiled here are their own results, projections and commentary on business now and looking forward.

Jason Middleton, CEO, Silver Air

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “For us at Silver Air, the outlook for 2018 is great in pretty much all areas.  We are seeing aircraft sales go up, aircraft charter volume is going up, and charter clients are stepping up in the size of aircraft as well. We are seeing a particularly strong upswing in the Super Mid category. Aircraft like the Citation X and Challenger 300 are in high demand for charter.


From company website and several online articles:  (PrivateFly acquired US broker Bird Dog Jet in 2017)  “PrivateFly has grown over 50% again in 2017, and we are looking to continue that growth path in 2018, in large part by U.S. expansion. We’ve grown both top line revenue and bottom line EBITDA as a profitable online platform in the digital space proving true viability. After opening our first US office in 2016, we’ve expanded our team with the recent takeover of Bird Dog Jet and received several new awards and accolades. These steps are just the beginning of our American growth, and we have big plans for 2018.”

Jamie Walker, President & CEO, Jet Linx Aviation

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Our Jet Card business is growing at a strong and steady pace as more individuals realize the need for private aviation both in their business and leisure travel. Our average growth rate over the past five years has been 30% or more for both revenue and flight hours. I expect that business growth and utilization will continue to grow at 30% or more in 2018.

Overall, we’re seeing tremendous opportunities for growth in 2018 and beyond and are looking to expand to new markets on the east and west coasts, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and San Jose.”

New Flight Charters

Leading charter brokerage New Flight Charters announced in a national release about current jet charter trends and results: 12.5% increase in charter business overall lead by growth in midsize, super-midsize and heavy jets (+16%), and also turboprops (+18%) in that growing charter market segment.  International charters increased by 40% in 2017, led by flights to the Caribbean and Mexico.  Drivers to the growth included improved pricing options with floating fleets, personnel/service level, and increased repeat clients.  January 2018, it reports, continued the same trends.  The company offers the industry’s only “best price guarantee” for jet charter pricing and quotes.

Sergey Petrossov, CEO, JetSmarter

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Business is great. We grew over 100% in 2017 for revenue and over 150% in passengers flown. We expect to double again in size in 2018. For the market, we believe the sharing economy will consume private aviation all the way from aircraft ownership to single seat bookings, and consumers will use multiple biz jet solutions for their travel needs.”

Monarch Air Group

Monarch Air Group, an aircraft management company, charter operator and charter broker based in Texas and Florida, published predictions for 2018.

  1. New clients will experience flying private
  2. Charters will lead the business aviation growth
  3. Bitcoin as a payment method will be a must
  4. Diversification as the key to withstanding shaky economies
  5. Consolidation of the very light jet segment


ARGUS through AIN Online 2/5/18:
For the first quarter, Argus predicts a 5 percent jump in year-over-year business aircraft traffic. January will lead the gains with a 5.4 percent increase, with February and March up 4.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Overall, business aircraft flights in the first quarter are expected to number 759,169.

Business aviation flights in the U.S. and Canada topped 3 million last year, reaching that mark for the first time since 2008, according to a 2017 Business Aircraft Activity Review released by Argus International. The 30-page review, which details Argus TraqPak flight activity data in 2017, reports that business aviation flights increased 3.9 percent overall and flight hours jumped 5.5 percent over 2016.

Year-over-year gains were posted in every month of 2017, Argus said, adding that the improvements were fairly consistent throughout the year. Activity in the first half of 2017 was up 3.9 percent over the same period in 2016, while activity in the second half of 2017 was up 3.8 percent.

Part 135 operations enjoyed the greatest gains, rising 9.2 percent last year. This improvement was driven by Part 135 large-cabin jet operations, which led all increases in 2017 with a 14.9 percent jump. Fractional flights ended the year up 4.7 percent, while Part 91 flights inched up 0.1 percent in 2017. Increased Part 91 large-cabin and midsize jet flights—up 2.9 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively—offset a slide in Part 91 light jet flights, down 0.7 percent, and turboprop flights, down 1.3 percent.

Joe Moeggenberg, CEO, ARGUS

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “For the first time since 2008, flight activity reached over three million flights in 2017, an upward trend we expect to see into 2018 as our TRAQPak analysis forecasted flight activity for Q1 in 2018 to increase 5% year over year. In 2017, Part 135 activity saw the largest year over year operation category increase of over 9% and large cabin aircraft saw the largest year over year increase across the industry, up almost 15%.

Steve Orfali, CEO, Jetset Group Inc. and Wholesale Jet Club

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “We believe 2018 will be another very strong year for our companies. Jetset Group saw a 30% increase in business in 2017, and we project about the same in 2018. The economy continues to flourish, and we are seeing more and more people shift to private jet travel as a result of it. I believe we will see some rising fuel prices in 2018, which could bring up the pricing on charters, but that’s why many people opt for our jet cards. They have guaranteed rates with no fuel surcharges.”

Stratos Jet Charter

Charter broker Stratos Jet Charter is calling for growth in charter, 5 trends for 2018:

  1. New aircraft models hitting the market in 2018
  2. Busy weekends for air traffic
  3. More air travelers become jet card program members
  4. Continued growth in charter market

Gary Hammes, President, Delta Private Jets

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Business is strong, and with current economic conditions and stock market patterns we are anticipating another record year in 2018. We continue to see strong demand for our product, especially in the corporate space.  We expect to grow our charter business 15-20% and we expect a 20% increase in Jet Card sales. As 2018 progresses, we will continue to expand our fleet by about 15 aircraft to meet growth targets and demand. We are developing an enhanced jet card product, and we recently launched our Sky Access membership program which offers access to empty legs and fixed hourly rate private jet travel.”

ACI jets

ACI Jet is an FBO, aircraft manager and charter operator based in Southern California with a charter fleet of 11 midsize through ultra long range jets.

From article in Paso Magazine:  “Known for its work as a Fixed Base Operator (FBO), ACI Jet has locations at airports in Orange County, Oceano, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles, but the company began when Bill Borgsmiller fueled his Piper Seneca III as the company’s first charter aircraft in 1998.

ACI Jet now employs 190 people, operates a fleet of private jet aircraft, and celebrates a banner year in 2017 with a 20-year anniversary and more growth in 2018.

“In this last year, one of the most exciting things is a new location in Orange County,” Borgsmiller said. “We are adding new aircraft to the fleet. There is big growth.”

In concert with the expansion at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, ACI Jet is building a 35,000-square-foot office complex, and an adjacent 25,000-square-foot hangar as its corporate headquarters on the grounds.”

Andrew Collins, CEO, Sentient Jet and Skyjet

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “We had an incredibly strong year at both Sentient Jet and Skyjet. Each brand saw growth in many of our key-performance measurements. We moved into new headquarters, launched new products, and pushed our brand and partnership visibility up a few notches.

I feel relatively bullish on 2018 within the major client markets that we serve, especially those in the financial sector. We’re projecting significant growth at both brands and seek to continue to push into new product categories and client segments.

Lastly, it feels like a number of upstarts that pursued significant growth models will continue to have industry visibility. However, unlike perhaps the past few years, they will have to mature their models to meet investor requests and demands and provide real insight into how they will scale and how they plan on truly impacting the private aviation buying segment.”

Greg Raiff, CEO, Private Jet Services (PJS) Group

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Our corporate and leisure business was up year over year more than 100% when we compare 2016 to 2017. We expect that dynamic growth to continue in 2018, as the geometric increase in the number of private flyers globally, and the price efficiency of our solution gains broad recognition.”

Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO, Wheels Up

From January 18 Forbes.com:  “Wheels Up is celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2018. We expect another banner year and to exit with 6,000 active members and a $400 million run rate with over 100 aircraft. We took delivery of our first three Citation Xs so we are now a three airplane type fleet. Wheels Up is revenue growing at over 35% per year, and we expect that kind of growth rate moving forward.”


Sources:  company announcements, press releases, articles, online media

FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

New Private Jet Charter Empty Legs Listing Nationwide Announced by New Flight Charters

Largest Public Listing includes over 150 Jet Charter Empty Legs Nationwide Sourced and Published by Top-Rated Jet Charter Brokerage.

New Flight Charters, a charter aircraft owner and leader in the private jet charter space since 2004, in a news release has announced the largest public listing of empty legs in the jet charter industry.  The company now is listing over 150 upcoming and available empty legs from U.S. private charter aircraft.


Hawker 800XP jet charter with New Flight Charters at Jackson Hole, WY airport.

Hawker 800XP jet charter with New Flight Charters at Jackson Hole, WY airport.

Also known as dead-heads or ferry flights, empty legs are flights without passengers on board when an aircraft needs to be moved.  Often a private charter jet will have empty leg flights associated with an existing flight schedule- when it needs to move to another location to start a charter, or return back to base after completing a charter, or the same situations for its owner flights.

These empty legs, when an aircraft needs to fly a certain direction, can be a unique opportunity for a low-cost jet charter.  Aircraft can be re-routed to accommodate a charter flight need.  For example, an empty leg from Houston to Denver can be rerouted for a Dallas to Aspen charter at a much lower than normal cost.


Rates can vary since each empty leg charter is unique, but pricing is typically 30-50% lower than standard charter quotes.

Examples from the current Empty Legs Listing of 150 flights include:·

  • Jackson Hole, WY – Denver, CO, Hawker 400XT light jet, December 19, $6,800
  • Boca Raton, FL – Teterboro, NJ, Embraer Legacy 600 large jet, December 21, $15,450
  • Sun Valley, ID – Los Angeles, CA, Phenom 300 light jet, December 22, $6,900
  • New York, NY – Palm Beach, FL, Citation CJ3 light jet, December 27, $10,600
  • Los Angeles, CA – Aspen, CO, Gulfstream IV large jet, December 31, $13,950

“When an empty leg matches up with a flight need, there is no better value in private flying,” commented Rick Colson, New Fight Charters’ president.  “Working with the largest charter availability in the industry we use a variety of tools to source ideal aircraft options for any given charter request.”


All Floating Fleets are listed only in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform along with all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide. 

Floating Fleets are a second attractive and lower cost solution.  A fast-growing option in private jet charter is utilizing a non-based Floating Fleet aircraft for better one-way pricing, point-to-point.  These can be available in all parts of the U.S., for all types of flying, from shorter one-hour flights to coast-to-coast and international flights.  Floating Fleet aircraft do not have to return to a base, and thus can be more cost-effective charter options.

334 floating fleet jets are available nationwide through New Flight Charters; all sizes from light jets to ultra long-range jets such as the Global 5000.  Charter quotes for these floating fleet aircraft are typically 15-30% less than traditional based aircraft.

Any requested charter need can be fully customized for aircraft, size, type, and amenities along with desired ratings or registrations from ARGUSÒ, Wyvern Ltd.Ò, IS-BAO or the Air Charter Safety Foundation.

About New Flight Charters

Since 2004 charter aircraft owner and leading U.S. private jet charter brokerage New Flight Charters has arranged private domestic and international flights with top-rated operator aircraft along with its jet charter pricing Best Price Guarantee, top aircraft availability, industry empty legs list, and a perfect safety history. As a registered U.S. government contractor with an A+ rating by the BBB, and named to the Inc.500 fastest growing list four consecutive years, the jet charter company handles 1,400 flights annually nationwide and serves a wide variety of clientele including Fortune 500 companies, government heads of state, presidential campaigns, entertainment icons, private families and entrepreneurs. Extensive client reviews and industry ratings are available on the New Flight Charters website.

For charter quotes or information nationwide, call (800) 732-1653.

Colorado private charter information and quotes for Denver, Aspen, Vail, Telluride and more can be found at Jet Charter Colorado.  For private jet charter information to and from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, see Jackson Hole Jet Charter.  The nationwide jet charter aircraft listing can be found at Jet Charter Review.

Source:  company press release

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years. 

Charter Broker Horizon Air Group Acquires Operator Starbase Jet

Horizon Air Group, a charter broker and aircraft sales/acquisition broker based in Dallas, TX, has announced the acquisition of World Class Jet dba Starbase Jet for undisclosed terms, including the air carrier certificate to be rebranded Horizon Jet Management.

Starbase Jet/World Class Jet was a holding of the Randall Reed Family of Companies headquartered in Addison, TX.

Horizon Air Group launched in May 2015 as Horizon Air Charter, with what it called the industry’s first monthly Flight Equity pay-as-you-go jet card program.  The founders of Horizon Air Group, Luis Barros and Robert Rosenberg, both have employment histories with Starbase Jet.  More in 2015’s Air Charter Alert, New Broker Offers Pay-As-You-Go Card And Consulting Services

The acquisition allows Horizon Air Group to not only assist clients with charter services and aircraft sales, but also FAA licensed aircraft operation through the Part 135 air carrier certificate, which is ARGUS Platinum rated, Wyvern Registered, IS-BAO Registered, and has worldwide operating authority.

Starbase Jet’s full charter fleet is available only in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform along with all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  Free 30-day trials available here.

Houston-based Starbase Jet (World Class Jet) with its Part-135 certificate was established in 2000, and currently operates a fleet of 8 aircraft on certificate, based between Houston, Dallas and Santa Ana, CA.  Light through heavy jets, the types include Embraer Legacy 600,  Citation X, Citation Sovereign, Learjet 60, Citation XLS and Citation CJ2.

“In a time when people feel like they only have two choices, to either stick with the classic charter models that have been around for some time or buy into the trendy memberships programs that have been popular lately, it’s important to us to really forge ahead with an alternative that combines the best of both worlds,” said Horizon Air Group CEO Luis Barros.  “We’ve advanced the technology and approach of the classic models along with bringing more of a practical and aviation-based offering to the membership app crowd.”

This acquisition also makes Horizon Air Group one of the largest air charter organizations throughout the south central United States, now offering three major sales functions within the private aviation industry:  Aircraft Management, Charter Brokerage, and Aircraft Sales and Acquisitions.

Source:  company press release, company public information

All Starbase Jet charter aircraft are only available in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Forbes.com article: Air Charter, Brokers, Operators, Marketing; the digitalization and democratization of private jet travel

The digitalization and democratization of private jet travel; brokers, operators, marketing, apps, PR.

Is XOJET Finally Solving The X’s And O’s Of Private Jet E-Commerce And Democratization?

By Doug Gollan, Sept 22, 2016, Forbes.com

Forbes.com logoThis column will cover the digitalization and democratization of private jet travel, two of the hottest topics in private aviation, but one where the PR spin often operates at a much higher altitude than reality. It’s a somewhat complicated story that doesn’t fit neatly into a tidy box, so let’s start with a bit of background.

Lot’s of private jet brokers have invoked Uber in launching their booking apps. And true, like Uber, these brokers neither own nor operate the aircraft they are selling flights on. However, the process of securing a private jet is not nearly as streamlined as you tapping on your smartphone, having a driver four blocks away press accept, and show up seven minutes later.

The process of chartering a private jet involves lots of people, expensive and highly sensitive assets, and lots of moving pieces. There is you, the person who wants to charter the plane. Your assistant is probably involved as well, getting quotes, and dealing with logistics such as catering, names and IDs for the manifest, coordinating ground transport, and coordinating the FBOs (private jet terminals) you are using. There are also the people traveling with you, who need to know where to be and at what time.


If you are traveling with lots of luggage, somebody needs to check how many golf bags the plane will take? Range of planes varies based on load. Weather and altitude of the airport you are flying in and out of impacts jet performance. The heavier the plane with passengers, baggage, and fuel, the more fuel burned, thus the shorter distance it can fly. Prevailing winds might require the aircraft type you favor to need a fuel stop in certain months of the year. Do you care what type of lavatory your plane has? Some have only a pull around the curtain, others are closeted off. Some, even at that are fairly small. Do you have any extra tall travelers? Private aircraft are tubes, some of which might be uncomfortable for very tall travelers. Larger jets have more headroom. If you have pets or kids, again, that can be an issue.

All 7,598 charter aircraft and 1,633 operators are available ONLY in FlightList PRO.

Most of the 7,000 private aircraft in the U.S. licensed for charter are owned by individuals or companies that then hire aircraft management companies to operate the planes on their behalf, including working with thousands of third party brokers to charter the plane when the owner isn’t using it. In other words, the broker is dealing with a management company, not the actual owner in many cases. Each owner has his or her own set of contractual rules when it comes to chartering their planes. Some don’t want pets or kids. Others only want to charter their jets for longer flights. Expensive maintenance is driven by the number of landings and takeoffs, so an owner might not want to charter her new $50 million Gulfstream for short hops between Boston and New York, but would be OK if you want to go to London or Los Angeles.

What’s more, in securing a specific plane for a charter, availability can be impacted by unscheduled maintenance issues that come up between when you book your charter and when you fly, as well as weather issues, crew availability and so forth. Sometimes the owner decides he wants to use his jet on short notice. Unlike commercial airlines with sophisticated fleet management systems and large pools of similar planes and crew they can shuffle around, owners often configure their jets slightly differently, to their own needs and tastes, of course. Cockpits are not always configured the same and differ by age of the jet, so if one jet goes tech, and your broker finds a replacement, the operator needs to find crew qualified to operate it and get it positioned to where you are being picked up.

All of the above makes the idea of a simple click-and-buy “Uber” for private jets app an oft-used, but empty analogy as management companies generally need owner approvals or need to see if they will make exceptions, a manual process.  It’s also just a very complicated process, where as a consumer, there are some true benefits of dealing with an expert broker who is familiar with the various charter fleets, where they are based, and which planes are generally available.

That said, there are exceptions to the above. Some owners give management companies carte blanche, and then there are several fleet operators that own the planes they fly and make them available for on-demand charter without any upfront fees. Two of the largest operators that own their jets are XOJET and TMC, which together have over 100 jets, 41 and 65 respectively. As of June, they now have common ownership via TPG Capital, although they continue to operate independently. Other big players in the on-demand charter market that own the jets they operate are VistaJet and JetSuite. WheelsUp is similar, with the difference is you have to pay a membership fee and its focus is turboprops.

The second issue is “democratization” of private jet travel. Another term used liberally in private aviation company press releases, it underscores that such descriptors are relative when democracy comes at a price of $4,000 per hour. Compared to shelling out tens of millions to buy a jet, millions of dollars for fractional ownership, or hundreds of thousands for a jet card, yes there has been progress.

xojetBradley Stewart, the President, and CEO of XOJET, describes the traditional market for private jet travel as “the top 10 percent of the one percent,” so folks with a net worth of $30 million and annual incomes in the multiple millions of dollars.

At the same time, SurfAir and JetSuiteX, a JetSuite offshoot, have been expanding the market with hybrid models. Each fly what are essentially scheduled services using FBOs, thus enabling customers to show up 15 minutes before their flight and jump aboard, leaving behind airport hassles, a key benefit of private travel. In the case of the former, it’s a membership model where you pay $1,950 per month, then fly as much as you want on its network, principally within California. With the latter, you simply buy a seat at prevailing fares on its website, similar to booking a commercial flight. Fares run as low as $129. Its routes right now are mainly in the West, and by next year at this time expects to have 10 Embraer 135s with 30 seats buzzing around. Travel blogger The Points Guy wrote of his JSX flight “not dealing with TSA was a huge plus.”

In both cases, you are buying a seat or the opportunity to reserve a seat. There are other passengers on the flight. Seating is closer to commercial airline economy class than Donald Trump’s Boeing 757, and there is a set departure time you need to be there for, or you miss the flight…

Full Forbes.com Article Here

The author Doug Gollan is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DG Amazing Experiences, an e-newsletter for private jet owners.

XOJet and JetSmarter Partner Up with Real-time Booking App

On-demand and membership private jet charter firm XOJet today announced a strategic partnership with online charter broker JetSmarter that will combine the former’s service and fleet operations with the latter’s digital distribution capabilities. As part of the alliance, XOJet has named JetSmarter the exclusive digital distribution channel for the company’s fleet of midsize jets.

The core of the partnership is an XOJet-branded mobile app that allows clients to book real-time charter on its fleet of Cessna Citation Xs and Bombardier Challenger 300s. It will use JetSmarter’s technology and be available early next year. In addition, XOJet clients can book shared charter flights, shuttle flights by the seat and last-minute deals via the JetSmarter app. Meanwhile, through the JetSmarter app, members will receive real-time availability and preferred pricing at XOJet, comparable to the operator’s Preferred Access and Elite Access program clients.

Access to XOJet’s charter fleet will be available on the JetSmarter app starting October 1. The JetSmarter andXOJet apps will both be available for iOS and Android devices.

Source:  AIN Aviation International News

Start-Ups Selling Seats on Private Jets Don’t Always Make It

Dannel Schwartz was agonizing over his wife’s 60th birthday gift when she proposed an idea herself.

“She said, ‘You know, I don’t want to wait on another T.S.A. line. I want a private plane,’” said Mr. Schwartz, a retired rabbi who splits time between Florida and Maine. “We laughed. Then comes this email about how it would cost $4 a flight.”

Intrigued by the all-you-can-fly model offered by BlackJet, the couple in March paid $15,000 for a membership that would allow them cheap seats on private jets with empty spots, scheduling their first trip for the weekend of April 30.

But it quickly became clear that the Schwartzes would not be making the flight to New York. The company stalled when Mr. Schwartz tried to confirm the flight a few days before it was scheduled.

A few days later came even worse news in an email from BlackJet.

“It is with great regret and personal disappointment that I need to report the following,” wrote the company’s chief executive, Dean Rotchin. “Recent events have resulted in abruptly ceasing BlackJet operations.”

The Schwartzes’ $15,000 was gone. They said they had wired the money to the company, which told the couple it was no longer accepting credit cards.

“Not even one trip,” said Mr. Schwartz, 70. “It’s embarrassing to go through this.”

Dannel Schwartz at the former location of BlackJet, a private jet broker in West Palm Beach, Fla.  Mr. Schwartz lost a $15,000 membership fee when the company shut down. Credit Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

The Schwartzes’ experience is a warning to travelers considering start-ups that offer relatively inexpensive access to private jets, once out of reach to the average customer. New companies pop up frequently, many with apps that allow travelers to book seats in minutes. But not all of them will survive.

BlackJet was founded in 2012 and aimed to apply the Uber model to private jets. It was backed by a founder of Uber, Garrett Camp, and celebrities like Ashton Kutcher. But about a year after it began, it laid off staff and suspended service. It later shifted to the membership model, which allowed customers to find unused seats on nearby jets. That is what enticed the Schwartzes, who found that travelers who join can be on the line for thousands of dollars.

In his email to clients last month, Mr. Rotchin said “inaccurate bad press” had caused BlackJet’s sudden closing, a reference to a TechCrunch article in April that incorrectly reported that the company had expired, which dented membership sales. He also blamed delays in short-term and long-term financing.

But in an interview late last month, he said the collapse happened mainly because a BlackJet official who was crucial to operations left the company, though he would not name the executive.

Mr. Rotchin acknowledged that the private jet business was inherently risky and said that the company stopped accepting credit cards late last year because of high fees.

“Everybody knew when they signed up that there would be no refunds,” he said. “There is some risk when you pay upfront for anything.”

Another company, Beacon, shut down this year after finding that its membership-based, all-you-can-fly model for private flights between New York and Boston was not sustainable.

The BlackJet app provided information on available seats on private jets.CreditBlackJet, via PR Newswire

For travelers looking into private jet services, Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst and consultant, suggests considering companies that have a history and own their own planes, as opposed to BlackJet, which acted as a broker, matching travelers with empty seats. Several major or developing players — some of which have evolved since their founding — have their own fleets, including the 10-year-old XOJet and the 2013 start-up Surf Air.

Too many start-ups are playing fast and loose with both safety and finances, said Mr. Mann, citing the 2005 crash of a Platinum Jet plane at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. Federal authorities said the accident, which led to several felony convictions, illustrated the need for better oversight of charter companies.

“It really is the Wild West,” Mr. Mann said, referring to recent charter jet accidents in Massachusetts and Ohio.

Executives who have tried — and sometimes failed — to “democratize” private aviation are not giving up. Mr. Rotchin first tried out the plane-hailing concept with Greenjets, which fell into financial trouble and reorganized, becoming BlackJet. He is now considering his next move, but he said he realized that failures like these raise investors’ skepticism and make it more difficult for start-ups to raise money.

A founder of Beacon, Wade Eyerly, is now at Wheels Up, which counts the tennis star Serena Williams and the sports broadcaster Erin Andrews among its members. Mr. Eyerly, Wheels Up’s managing director, acknowledged that Beacon had miscalculated the demand for flights between New York and Boston.

“Beacon was a failure to execute,” he said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat that.”

But he remains optimistic about consumers’ desire for private air travel, he said. Wheels Up, he noted, is offering a range of memberships and more destinations, and it operates its own fleet through contractors. He also advised consumers to conduct thorough research before choosing a company.

“In a technology-driven world, little companies and big companies can look similar,” said Mr. Eyerly, who also helped start Surf Air.

With so many competitors in the private aviation world, travelers can have difficulty telling the difference between stable and shaky companies. Mr. Schwartz, for example, said he looked into BlackJet before buying a membership, but nothing he found indicated that the company would crumble so suddenly.

“Red flags should have gone up, but they didn’t,” he said, adding that he should have looked deeper into the company before paying.

Those kinds of failures threaten to erode trust in the industry, said Alex Wilcox, chief executive of JetSuite, a seven-year-old jet charter company based in California with its own fleet.

“We’re all going to be painted with the same brush,” he said. “But I think people understand the difference between Spirit Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Hopefully, we can distinguish ourselves in the same way.”

Mr. Wilcox, Mr. Eyerly and others in the industry said potential customers should look as closely as possible at a company’s financial backing before paying. Talk to the executives and ask tough questions, they said, which is more easily accomplished at small start-ups.

A lot of newer companies just do not have a chance of surviving because the cost of operating jets is so high, said Sergey Petrossov, the founder and chief executive of JetSmarter, which several industry insiders said was a successful example of an aviation start-up, allows members to reserve seats on charters and other private planes using an Uber-like app. Although it allowed nonmembers to book seats until last week, only members may use the service now.

“This industry as a whole really operates in an unsophisticated way,” he said. “Anyone who isn’t implementing sophisticated math and yield management isn’t going to survive.”

Source:  New York Times online article 6/13/16
Full article here:  Start-Ups Selling Seats on Private Jets Don’t Always Make It

Private Jet Service New Flight Charters Is Awarded A+ Rating From Better Business Bureau

Jet Charter Company Also Awarded BBB Accreditation, Affirming It Meets And Will Abide By Certain Standards of Practice and Ethics.

private jet charter flightsU.S. air charter industry leader New Flight Charters announces the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has awarded it an A+ rating, according to a company press release.

The BBB has been tracking New Flight Charters since 2011, and the rating is based on 13 different factors revolving around customer satisfaction.  According to the BBB, factors that raised the rating for New Flight Charters include length of time in business (12 years) along with no complaints filed.

In addition, as of 2016 the BBB has determined that New Flight Charters is now a BBB Accredited Business, affirming that it meets and will continue to abide by the following BBB standards;  Build Trust, Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises, Be Responsive, Safeguard Privacy and Embody Integrity.

Details on each of these and New Flight Charters Accreditation are available at the BBB review of New Flight Charters.

According to the BBB, their New Flight Charters Business Review includes background, licensing, consumer experience and other information, such as governmental actions, that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

Source; company press release

Online Charter Broker Stratajet Gets $8M Influx For Booking Platform

Private jet charter booking platform Stratajet announced an influx of $8 million in additional funding. The new investment, which adds to $6 million in capital previously raised, came from London-based venture capital group Octopus Ventures, with support from Stratajet’s existing backers Playfair Capital and JamJar Investments.

stratajet logoUK-based Stratajet launched its platform to consumers earlier this year and according to the company has since generated more than 2 million charter flight quotes.

“This milestone of Stratajet generating two million quotes proves how effective our system can be at giving a wider range of travelers access to the private jet industry,” said Stratajet founder and CEO Jonny Nicol. “Unlike other online brokers, we can provide all customers with accurate prices without wasting the time of the operators.”

Sources:  AINonline, company press release

Other Charter Alerts for StrataJet: 9/17/15 Stratajet Set To Launch Online Charter Booking Engine

Why Are Some Private Jet Startups Failing, With Commercial Airlines Soaring?

— Private jet charters Blackjet, Blue Star Jets and Beacon, among others, have ended operations in recent months, citing funding difficulties as well as problems securing planes, among other issues. —

With commercial airlines soaring, why have some private jet start-ups failed?

By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2016

The nation’s commercial airlines are reporting soaring profit margins and enough revenue to invest billions of dollars in new planes, airport lounges and even designer-made employee uniforms.

So why hasn’t that success extended to the fleet of private jet start-ups that launched in the last few years?

Private jet charters Blackjet, Blue Star Jets and Beacon, among others, have ended operations in recent months, citing funding difficulties as well as problems securing planes, among other issues.

Many of the new jet charter businesses have tried to jump on the popularity of the “shared economy,” with some comparing themselves to the ride-hailing business Uber. The private jet businesses have also promoted themselves as a way to avoid long airport security lines.


Captain Chris Pimentel, right, waits for passengers to board the SurfAir airplane at the Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Hawthorne last year. SurfAir is an all-you-can-fly membership airline. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

“There was this feeling that we have this unmet demand,” said Brad Stewart, chief executive and president of XOJET, a San Francisco-based charter jet business.

But according to industry experts, too many of the charters either overestimated the demand or underestimated the funding needed to keep the businesses in the air.

Commercial airlines can squeeze more seats into each cabin and use each jet as extensively as possible to keep costs down, but private charter jets don’t have that option, said Seth Kaplan, managing partner at the trade magazine Airline Weekly.

“The economics of small private jets are not the same as the economics of commercial carriers,” he said.

The most publicized failure was the sudden closure of Florida-based BlackJet, which was backed by tech executives and Hollywood celebrities including Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z and Will Smith. It collected annual membership fees of $3,000 and up plus fares starting at about $950 to share a ride on other people’s jets.

BlackJet Chief Executive Dean Rotchin wrote a letter to members of the business May 5, saying he was “abruptly ceasing Blackjet operations,” citing “bad press,” the departure of a “critical team member” and finance problems.

Source:  Los Angeles Times

Texas Aviation Start-Up Rise Adds Crowd Sourcing of Private Flights

By Mary Grady, Robb Report, May 10, 2016AdTech Ad

The private-flight service Rise, based in Dallas and launched last year, does not own any airplanes but has created a system to help travelers “crowd source” a charter flight aboard eight-seat Beechcraft King Air 350 twin turboprops.

A Rise Beechcraft King Air 350

With Rise, users pay a $750 deposit and a monthly fee starting at $1,650 for unlimited flights between five Texas cities. The flights are reserved online and scheduled on demand. Multiple users filling up the empty seats on the private plane effectively crowd source each trip and lower the cost compared to a traditional whole-aircraft charter. The company estimates that each private flight saves a traveler 3 hours round-trip compared to commercial flying or driving. Passengers board minutes before takeoff at general-aviation terminals equipped with free Wi-Fi, snacks, a comfortable lobby, free parking, and a bespoke concierge—saving time and energy compared to the main passenger terminals.

8-passenger interior of Rise’s Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft

To date, Rise operates 60 flights per week between the Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Midland airports, but the company says they will expand to six more cities, in Texas and beyond, this year. The company also recently added a new feature, Rise Anywhere, that enables members to crowd source a flight to select destinations including New Orleans, Aspen, and Telluride.

Rise partners with charter flight companies to ensure members will have access to planes, pilots and flights.  The Rise-branded King Air is operated by Monarch Air, a Part 135 charter operator based at Dallas’ Addison Airport.

Source: Article in Robb Report online

Other Charter Alerts about Rise:
All-You-Can-Fly ‘Rise’ Startup Nearly Doubles Texas Flights – Expands Cities
Texas’ All-you-can fly Rise Adds More to Fly
Private Jet Membership Set To Take Off In 2016

“Top 150 Empty Legs” Nationwide Listed by New Flight Charters

Source:  Company Press Release

All types of empty leg charters –  business turboprops through long range jets – available throughout the U.S.

New Flight Charters announced today that it is making available over 150 jet charter empty legs focused on the top private jet destinations nationwide.

These empty legs are available across the country, and are created when an aircraft needs to move for one reason or another, such as to pick up its owner, or returning home from a factory servicing, or returning to base after a charter flight.

This need to move the aircraft can result in low point-to-point pricing, and can be the absolute best values in private jet charter.

For example, a typical empty leg can be booked at around 50% the cost of a regular jet charter.

Currently, a Los Angeles to Las Vegas empty leg in a Beechjet 400A seating 8, lists at $2,900. While, a normal charter rate for this routing is around $6,000.

Click to view the complete list of available empty legs.

“The most common misperception is that empty legs are available between only those cities or airports listed,” said Rick Colson, President of New Flight Charters.

“Empty legs are usually listed as between two certain airports or cities because this is actually the departing and arrival points the aircraft is going, “he added.

“However, a charter can be flown anywhere along that very general route and direction. For example with a empty leg listed from Scottsdale, AZ to Philadelphia, PA, the aircraft can fly a charter from Los Angeles to New York at a discounted one-way price,” said Colson.

One-way charters may have a special cancellation clause because of their price advantage and their need to arrive at the other end.

The aircraft may have a charter booked after the current one-way, which is dependent on it being in that vicinity.

At any given time, hundreds of empty legs are scheduled in the jet charter industry.  New Flight Charters has culled them to 150 of the most popular destinations.  Any other destinations and routings can be searched by request.

Generally speaking floating fleet aircraft have a standard cancellation policy and true empty leg charters are non-cancelable upon booking.

Visit the nationwide empty legs list at NewFlightCharters.com or the specialty location Denver Jet Charter or Colorado Empty Legs for Denver, Aspen and other Colorado private jet charters.

Source:  Company press release

Broker and Membership Company BlackJet “Abruptly” Ceasing Operations


Fortune.com May 5, 2016:

BlackJet, an on-demand private jet service created by Uber co-founder and chairman Garrett Camp, yesterday informed members that it is “abruptly” ceasing operations.

The Florida-based company was launched in 2012, with the financial backing of venture capital firms (including First Round Capital and CrunchFund), tech executives (including Mark Benioff and Matt Mullenweg) and celebrities (including Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, and Will Smith).

The idea was basically to be Uber for the jet-set, eventually settling into a membership model whereby people paid an annual fee in exchange for access to a network of private jets on which they could book seats. But there were numerous hiccups (including layoffs and a prior service suspension), largely due to capital constraints that seem to have persisted. During the reorganization, Camp was among those who moved on (and gave up his investment).

In fact, TechCrunch inaccurately reported last month that the company had shut down, an incident that BlackJet CEO Dean Rotchin appears to have cited among the reasons for today’s decision (the story was later updated with a correction). A bigger one, however, was financing.

“We probably did more with less than anyone but it’s a critical mass business… There’s a reason why ‘critical’ is part of ‘critical mass,’” Rotchin tells Fortune. “The members were super supportive, the VCs wanted to see our progress continue over a longer period prior to jumping in. There are some aggressive interesting models out there today, someone will make this work.”

Below is Rotchin’s full email to members:

Dear Member:

It is with great regret and personal disappointment that I need to report the following.
Recent events have resulted in abruptly ceasing BlackJet operations.

In the last few days, there was some inaccurate bad press that stunted membership sales, a critical team member stepped down unexpectedly, near-term and longer term financing opportunities were delayed, and it became impossible to continue.

I personally appreciate the amazing support from most of our members. Perhaps I did not do a good enough job of reinforcing the fact that the membership was the key to the ability to deliver the service. Some members were so supportive, and I feel it is important to highlight this aspect because it became evident how most members tried to be as helpful, flexible and cooperative as possible. This was and is very much appreciated.

We are widely considered the pioneers in this field, and we know someone will leverage our learning and crack the code for making the private airfields and private jet fleet affordable and accessible as a part of the US transportation system. Your vision and involvement as early adopters helped to progress this ideal closer to fruition.

Please accept my thanks for your support, and also my sincere apologies for the inconvenience and disappointment this causes.


Source:  Fortune online article May 5, 2016

Exclusive Charter Launches Fixed-Rate Flights to Cuba

Exclusive Charter Service is introducing special fixed-rate charters from various U.S. airports into the country’s main gateway, José Martí International Airport, according to a release from the company.

Flights in one of the company’s seven-passenger Piaggio Avanti II twin turboprops from Palm Beach International will be priced at $9,000 each way, or $10,000 from Fort Lauderdale or Miami and $11,000 from Orlando.

In a Hawker 800XP, the Palm Beach rate is $10,500, rising to $13,500 from Fort Lauderdale or Miami and $15,500 from Orlando.  The same aircraft charter from New York’s JFK International Airport is priced at $19,500.

Exclusive’s clearance to operate into Cuba extends to 17 other airports in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Key West, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Fort Myers, Tampa and Washington. It can also offer another 10 different aircraft types, including the Gulfstream G650.

Cuba flights are operated by Custom Jet Charters, LLC.

Meanwhile, the Florida-based company recently launched a membership program called Aero Club. With an annual membership fee, members receive fixed point-to-point flight-hour pricing for various categories of aircraft.

Source:  AIN Online

Flight Options Preps Move To Charter Operations

Flight Options moved forward on Friday with an offer of voluntary separation packages to its pilots as the company lays the groundwork to transform from a fractional operation into an on-demand charter business over the next 12 to 18 months. Flight Options sister operation Flexjet previously made the offer as the two companies begin to reshape their operations, retiring some of the older modelaircraft and moving others into charter.

SkyjetFlight Options will rebrand as Skyjet, a former Bombardier brand that parent company Directional Aviation recently revived to provide charter brokerage services.

The moves are made as parent company Directional Aviation realigns its more recently acquired Flexjet and Flight Options into complementary services rather than competitors. To help differentiate itself as a planned charter-only entity, Flight Options will rebrand as Skyjet, a former Bombardier brand that Directional initially revived in 2014 to provide charter brokerage services.

Voluntary separation packages are being offered to Flight Options pilots through April 30 as the companies seek to reduce the pilot workforce by 70 positions. Directional principal and Flight Options chairman Kenn Ricci told Aviation International News that this comes as on-demand requires less staffing than fractional. The packages were initially offered to Flexjet pilots, who recently voted for representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) but were not yet under a collective bargaining agreement.

Flight Options, which previously had been represented by the IBT, sought union approval to make the offer to its pilots, but the union rejected the request. Flight Options moved forward regardless, and between Flexjet and Flight Options, had 80 pilots indicate plans to accept the agreements—exceeding the company’s goal.

The union has, instead, been pushing for a furlough protection plan that would give all furloughed pilots the equivalent of 12 months of compensation. The IBT had expressed concerns that the voluntary program would primarily affect less senior pilots who would not qualify for the maximum benefit.

The company management, however, disagreed with the IBT stance. “I refuse to accept the notion that a pilot, under the employ of this company, does not have the right to decide his or her own future,” Ricci said in announcing plans to move forward with the voluntary package offers. “It is unconscionable that the Teamsters should unilaterally try to take away a voluntary and materially beneficial option.”

Source:  AINonline, by Kerry Lynch

Wheels Up Expands Flight Offerings, Partners With Broker Apollo Jets

Wheels up

Wheels Up dedicated fleet of King Air 350 and Citation Excel aircraft, operated by Gama Aviation.  Photo: Wheels Up

Private aviation membership company Wheels Up announced new product offerings and the launch of a new 8760 Membership tier, both of which enhance the Wheels Up brand, according to a press release from the company.

“Wheels Up is a forward-thinking company always looking to be ahead of the curve and we are committed to delivering innovation to our membership,” said Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up Founder and CEO. “Our members tell us what they want and how they want it. Our mission is to simplify their travel in a complex world.”

New Wheels Up Membership Features:

  • Shuttles: the opportunity for members to purchase seats on scheduled private shuttles traveling to and from popular events and destinations.
  • Hot Flights: a selection of one-way, “empty-leg” flights that are posted daily to the Wheels Up App and updated in real-time.  According to Dichter, “This feature has taken off and our members tell us that they now check Wheels Up Hot Flights before Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.”
  • Flight Desk for charter flights: a dedicated flight desk with offerings to complement the Wheels Up signature fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft. Wheels Up Flight Desk arranges charter flights for members who are traveling longer ranges, with more than eight passengers and/or desire a larger plane. Wheels Up requires stringent safety standards, working only with FAA and DOT licensed operators who pass a full onsite audit. “With this addition, Wheels Up is now a total private aviation solution and can fulfill any request, continued Dichter.
  • 8760 Experiences: a new unique lineup of experiences available to Wheels Up Members that include private “meet-and-greet” opportunities with top athletes and entertainers, as well as complimentary tickets and suite access to world-class sporting events, in-demand concerts and family shows in cities across the country. “This is a new roster of events available to our members, in addition to our Wheels Down roster of events, which we offer. We are building a lifestyle brand and we want to be in our members’ lives both in the air and on the ground,” Dichter added.

8760 Membership Tier

Wheels Up launched the new 8760 Membership which allows its members a lower cost of entry through a partnership with charter broker Apollo Jets, and access to multiple benefits: Wheels Up Ride Share, Hot Flights and Flight Desk programs; non-guaranteed access to the Wheels Up fleet at higher occupied hourly rates; a lineup of 8760 Experiences, select Wheels Down events, a member benefits program; a members only 8760 app.

“8760 Membership creates the opportunity for more people to join Wheels Up and is a benefit to existing Wheels Up Members specifically for ride-sharing.” said Dichter.

Memberships are also available from Costco; Wheels Up membership price.

With Gama Aviation, operating its flights, the Wheels Up fleet numbers 45 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops and 15 Cessna Citation Excel/XLS jets. As of April 2016 Wheels Up is reporting 2,300 members.

Source: company press release

U.K. Charter Broker Opens U.S. Office

privatefly jet charterJet charter brokerage PrivateFly has opened a dedicated U.S. office at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.  The European company says the launch is a key step forward in its ambitious U.S. growth plans, following strong sales over the past two years.

The new team in Florida will handle U.S. client flight sales for any global route. PrivateFly says the location of Miami/Fort Lauderdale was also chosen specifically to target a growing private jet audience in the area – a popular luxury travel destination in its own right, and a key connection point for the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.

“PrivateFly’s model is attracting interest from U.S. business aviation customers, who now represent a third of our flight sales,” said PrivateFly CEO Adam Tidwell.  “Florida is the third busiest state for business aviation, after Texas and California.  Its private aviation traffic rose by 3 percent in 2015 following the overall U.S. trend, but we expect the first half of 2016 to see greater growth of around 6 to 8 percent. ”

Source:  company press release