Flexjet sees charter business grow during first half of 2010
Fractional share provider Bombardier Flexjet is celebrating its 15th year in operation. “Over the past 15 years,” said Flexjet president Fred Reid, “the company has progressed immensely.” Last year, he said, “We did lose some money, a small fraction of what our competitors lost. But since the end of last year we’ve been back in the black.” Reid emphasized that this includes full allocation of items such as interest, depreciation and the burden of used aircraft. “Some people think Bombardier is supporting Flexjet,” he said. “I’m measured like any independent business. We’re managing cash flow, equity and paying debt.” Flexjet is also responsible for selling used aircraft when they are no longer needed for the fractional or charter fleet, something that Bombardier used to handle. “Now we’re responsible for the whole life cycle.”
During the first fiscal quarter of this year, Flexjet share sales climbed 11 percent compared with the same period last year, according to Reid. “Our volume of fractional sales doubled over the previous year. It is a recovery, but it’s a slow one. The trends are positive.”
Recent developments at Flexjet include Flexjet Connect, under which Flexjet is the airline’s exclusive partner for private jet services. Korean Air passengers will have access to Flexjet Connect charter flights operated by Flexjet partner Business Jet Solutions. Flexjet owners will receive elite status and incentives to fly first class on Korean Air flights.
Flexjet will soon roll out a new customer service program that consolidates all customer contact into one person. All internal processes have been revamped so that the single point of contact at Flexjet can deal with any customer issue, backed up by the company’s various departments such as marketing, accounting, scheduling and so on. This fits in with Flexjet’s folding in of its sister company Skyjet, which brokers charters. Now customers don’t have to call separate numbers to book fractional flights or buy jet cards or charter flights, Reid said.