Executive AirShare has opened a new operations base at Denver-area Centennial Airport, housed at the XJet Denver FBO. The new location is Executive AirShare’s western-most base and reflects growing customer interest in the company’s fractional-share, charter, and aircraft management services in the Denver area.
“It was one of our top five destinations across the business,” said Executive AirShare president and CEO John Owen. “It just made natural sense to set up operations there.”
As an operations base, the Denver location will house customer service specialists, pilots, and maintenance technicians to serve that region, as well as managed aircraft. The company also announced that it hired former VistaJet v-p of sales Lee Richards as sales director, and he will have offices at the Denver location.
The Executive AirShare fleet totals nearly 50 turboprops and jets, primarily Phenom 100s and 300s plus Citation CJ2+s, a Learjet 45XR, and King Air 350s. About 20 of the fleet are managed aircraft, and the rest serve owners of fractional shares.
The Denver location is Executive AirShare’s ninth operations base, and most are in the central U.S., with the eastern-most in Buffalo, New York. The fleet floats among the bases, although managed aircraft are primarily located at one of the operations bases, with some located elsewhere.
In Denver, Owen said, “We’ll start building a customer base for that area, but we’ll operate from Centennial to where we’ll do more flights from there instead of that being a destination.”
Robert Cohen, Denver-based chairman and CEO of IMA Financial Group, is the launch customer for Denver and owns a share of a Phenom 300. “He started with us in Wichita and has been growing with us in the last decade,” said Owen.
Executive AirShare’s fractional-share business model differs from that of typical shared-ownership operations, in that it sells shares with associated numbers of occupied days instead of hours. A shareowner can thus schedule their aircraft for a roundtrip and stay in the same aircraft instead of flying one-way somewhere then one-way back. The hourly rate for roundtrips is about 40 percent lower, Owen explained, so owners save a significant amount if the trip warrants sticking with the same aircraft, he said, “because they don’t have to pay for all that deadhead time.” For example, during an out-and-back trip, an owner would pay $1,800 per hour, but if it were a one-way trip, the hourly rate would be $3,000 per hour.
“We are competitive on the one-way trips,” Owen said, “but extremely cost efficient on roundtrip legs, which is where the model is centered. If the customer hits up multiple locations or does a roundtrip within a day or two, our costs are significantly lower than others we’re compared to.” Shareowners can also interchange within the fleet, moving into a smaller or larger airplane when needed.
The Executive AirShare model works because of its nine operations bases and the local regions that they serve, which means that it doesn’t need to fly empty airplanes all over the U.S. to serve a distant customer. “We will do that if you need to,” he said, “but that’s not what the model is based on.” The model also benefits pilots, who end up flying more out-and-back trips and spend less time away from home. “Our pilots love that they are home more often due to our day-based model,” he said.
Executive AirShare, which is headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, is also an Embraer authorized service center, so it does most of the maintenance on its Phenom 100s and 300s. “We do like the size and mix of our fleet,” Owen said, “but we continue to analyze both fleet types and the size of our fleet to ensure that we are continuing to offer aircraft that our customers need and like. There are thoughts of expanding into other aircraft at some point, but we’re not sure what that may be.”