With all of the private jet transportation companies operating today and the array of services they offer—taxi and air charter, leasing, fractional ownership, jet cards—you might think new market opportunities are scarce. That may be true in the U.S. but not so much for the rest of the world.
“There are some 700 aircraft of all types chasing the charter market in the U.S. but just 125 to 150 serving international clients,” according to Daniel Jennings, president of The Private Jet Company, a Palm Beach, Fla.-based firm that specializes in the purchase and sale of mid-size and large business jets. “Africa, China, Russia, the Middle East—these are all large and growing markets, and they’re all underserved.”
This business opportunity hasn’t been lost on FlexJet. It recently took delivery of its first Gulfstream G450LXi aircraft, part of an order placed late last year for up to 50 Gulfstream jets. In early 2016, the company will take delivery of its first Gulfstream G650LXi. The G450 has a range of 4,350 nm with eight passengers, while the G650, Gulfstream’s flagship product, has a range of 7,000 nm with 12 passengers.
The acquisition of large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream aircraft is core to FlexJet’s growth strategy, which is focused to a large extent on the demand for long-haul missions, Jennings said. “Prices for charter in those markets are double what they are for the same aircraft in the U.S., so there is a lot of [profit] margin. With the G450, FlexJet can begin capturing some of it.”
VistaJet already operates internationally, providing on-demand charter service with an all-Bombardier fleet of Global and Challenger business jets. However, Jennings believes FlexJet will have a price advantage with its fractional-ownership offering compared to the live pricing model of on-demand charter.