Several companies with very different niches and business models seem to be taking flight above all others in the private aviation industry according to recent news reports. Among them are VistaJet, Flexjet, JetSmarter, Jet Linx Aviation and Wheels Up, who recently revealed the company had obtained $90 million in debt financing from global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) to be used for the purchase of 17 King Air 350i.
VistaJet reportedly enjoyed a 51% increase in total flight hours for the quarter ending June 30 over the same time period last year, and also says through June of 2017 they have sold 6,000 new annual subscription hours.
Wheels Up’s workhorse is the Beechcraft King Air 350i, capable of seating eight with the company focusing on short private flights, typically under two hours. Launched just four years ago, Wheels Up is on target to reach an annual revenue of $300 million by the end of 2017. Rates begin at $4,295 per hour; however, those who purchase the initial $17,500 membership through Costco can enjoy a $3,500 discount.
JetSmarter, a company that offers a variety of empty legs to members, has reportedly reached 10,000 customers who range from the uber-rich to small business owners annoyed with commercial airline issues.
Jet Linx Aviation expects its fleet to continue growing as it has in recent years, which will mean 16 or 17 bases where the company manages jets for owners and sells jet cards to put the planes in use for owners whose jets are sitting idle. Jet Linx currently focuses on 14 cities and uses a local market model, but expects to open additional bases by year’s end.
Flexjet is another company flying high in the private aviation industry due to increased demand and a 23% increase in owner referrals last year. The company recently announced that it would be hiring pilots for its fleet including a Challenger 350, Learjet 75LXi, Phenom 300, and Legacy 450.
There’s no doubt more people are choosing to fly private versus traveling via commercial airlines. At SeaGil Software Company we’re known for our BART private aviation management software and providing solutions to charter and corporate operations that make every aspect of flying easier, faster, safer, and just “plane” better.