With most OEMs reporting that first-time new jet buyers account for between one-fifth and more than one-third of their current sales, private aviation services provider Jet Aviation has announced a new product aimed at smoothing the entry of such users into aircraft operation. The JetStart program helps buyers navigate the maze of administrative, maintenance and flight operation tasks required before the aircraft can enter service.
“It’s our job to educate them about what they don’t know and to convince them that for a reasonably modest sum we can help them avoid a lot of trouble,” said Robert Seidel, senior v-p and general manager of Jet Aviation’s North American charter and management division.
Drawing on its experience managing hundreds of private jets worldwide, Jet Aviation has developed a 135-item checklist that it believes must be satisfied for an aircraft to be operated successfully, and that checklist will form the core of the JetStart program. “Somebody who has had his own airplane for years probably doesn’t need this service, but somebody who has never owned an airplane and has no idea what he is getting into could benefit from this,” said Seidel. “We’re a consultant in a sense, to help them transition so that from the moment they order the airplane to the moment it is delivered, they are ready to go flying.”
The program’s base package–with a one-time cost of approximately $45,000–guides buyers through establishing a private flight department. Included are segments on conducting a staffing assessment, setting up insurance and vendor accounts, negotiating facility leases, establishing aircraft and crew scheduling, implementing crew training to a customized operation manual, enrolling the aircraft in maintenance subscription and fuel programs, securing letters of authorization from the FAA, organizing the aircraft’s documentation and developing a support equipment and spare parts list. The program culminates with an annual operating budget based on projected usage.
As the market begins to rebound and more people who have never owned a business jet take advantage of the bargains that still exist, Jet Aviation believes its timing for this program is good. Of the approximately 10,000 business jets operating in the U.S., Seidel estimates that less than 15 percent are under management, leaving the majority operated by private flight departments. Extrapolating those numbers to include the 20 percent or more of people who have not owned jets before, the company sees a solid niche for its flight department founding program.
The initial operation is limited to domestic clients, but can be adapted for worldwide use.