NBAA Convention News

Marquis Jet sees demand on rebound

 - October 21, 2009, 9:53 AM

Marquis Jet’s Randy Brandoff said his jet card company is well positioned to take advantage of the shifting sands of the corporate jet market. Brandoff, the newly appointed executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Marquis Jet (Booth No. 291), said the company’s business is down slightly for the year, but demand is actually on the rebound.

“We are in a very good place on the aviation pyramid,” Brandoff told NBAA Convention News. “During the thriving years of the economy we were in the logical spot for people trading up from airline first class. Now in a tougher market, when people are getting out of whole [private] aircraft and certain fractional arrangements, we are the logical trade down–still with the same level of service, safety and security, but in much more manageable, bite-size arrangements.”

Marquis Jet is the exclusive provider of jet cards for fractional giant NetJets and NetJets is Marquis Jet’s only provider of lift. NetJets has not been immune to the downturn in the economy. As has been heavily reported, Richard Santulli, NetJets founder, chairman and CEO, resigned on August 4. Santulli had acquired Columbus, Ohio-based Executive Jet Aviation in 1986 as a platform upon which to launch NetJets, which began growing substantially in the mid-1990s. Berkshire Hathaway chairman and billionaire Warren Buffett, a NetJets shareowner, was so impressed with NetJets that he bought the firm in 1998 for $725 million, keeping Santulli as CEO. But this year, NetJets reported pre-tax losses of $602 million for the first six months, compared with gains of $447 million in the same time frame last year. When Santulli resigned, David Sokol, the chairman at Berkshire-owned MidAmerican Energy Holdings, was named chairman and interim CEO of the fractional provider.

“This is a great year for Marquis to take market share,” Brandoff continued. “This past September was very bullish and we are optimistic that the fourth quarter will be very strong. In down markets there is a flight to quality, especially if a person is worried about [his or her] charter company cutting corners.”

Brandoff said that Marquis’ customers also were less likely to defer or reschedule travel due to economic considerations, as opposed to a whole aircraft or aircraft share owner. “If you buy a 25-hour card, typically you are buying it for specific flights in the upcoming year and you are probably going to take those trips,” he said. “It is different if it is your own plane and you decide, ‘Yeah, I’ll take that trip next month when the price of fuel is down.’”