NBAA Convention News

JFI Ready for Russia Charter Operations

 - October 29, 2012, 12:55 PM
JFI’s hangar at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Charter/management company JFI Jets (Booth No. 2120) has announced its Moscow-based charter partnership, JFI Russia, established last year, is ready for business.

“The deal in Russia has moved into the forward mode,” said Bob Seidel, CEO of the New York City-based charter operator. “We put it on hold for a while. There was political uncertainty for some of the clients and a desire to keep a low silhouette. But now the political landscape is better understood. We’re starting to see the Russians flying again.”

Formed in October 2011 in partnership with Moscow-based handling company Best-Jets, Seidel anticipates JFI Russia will be conducting operations by the end of November. An N-registered GV available for charter (currently undergoing maintenance in Basel) will be based in Moscow. JFI is also working on acquiring an N-registered midsize jet to base in Moscow.

JFI’s Russian operation is one of the developments the company is highlighting at the NBAA show. With 12 jets under management (mostly large cabin), and East and West Coast facilities (in Farmingdale, N.Y., and Long Beach, Calif.), JFI is also touting its expanding full-service capabilities. “We may not be the biggest, but we have all the same capabilities of some of the biggest,” said Seidel. “We are one of the few companies out there that can offer bicoastal support, with the facilities, the people and the investment in Long Beach and Farmingdale, [which are] aircraft jumping-off points to the Far East and Europe. And we cover everything domestically in between.”

The company established a Part 145 repair station at its Long Beach facility last year, a service capacity also being highlighted here at NBAA. “We’re looking to bring on a full-timer in sales on the West Coast to focus on filling the Part 145 repair station,” Seidel said. “We’re going to start emphasizing that capability.”

JFI Jets is also promoting its Management Advantage program for business jet owners, aimed at lowering operating costs and enhancing the value of the aircraft under its management. Seidel described the program as “the heart of what we offer as the key differentiator” from other management companies. As an example of its drive to deliver value, Seidel said despite the fuel deals it arranges in advance, JFI arms its flight crews with fuel prices at all local suppliers and gives them the authority to negotiate deals of their own on the road. “There’s a lot of wheeling and dealing that goes on at the pump,” Seidel said. “A lot of times the presence of a large-cabin airplane on the ramp…let’s just say [the FBOs] will jump at the opportunity [to negotiate a large fuel sale].”