June was a big month for Planet Nine Private Air, which saw the delivery of its fifth Falcon jet and in the latter part of the month celebrated its first year in business. “We said at the outset our goal was to steadily grow to support a fleet of five company-owned ultra-long-range aircraft to complement our managed aircraft fleet, and we are delighted to have accomplished that inside of a year of revenue operations,” Planet Nine co-founder and head of business development Matt Walter said.
The Van Nuys, California-based Part 135 operator and aircraft management company in early June announced delivery of its fifth Dassault Falcon 7X, with a 14-seat executive interior and Swift broadband Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment. A 2012 model, the sale of which was brokered by Freestream Aviation Ltd., the jet joins four other 7Xs owned by Planet Nine. It will be positioned for global charters between Van Nuys; Teterboro, New Jersey; Miami, Florida; and London.
Walter told AIN the company’s focus is on what he said is a niche market for “premium, long-range charter” and complex, multi-leg international and domestic flights, and is the reason behind Planet Nine’s fleet of large jets. “All our aircraft are less than 10 years old, and of the 2,000 or so [Part] 135 operators in North America perhaps only 10 could operate the complicated multi-leg flights we specialize in. And less than five have modern available aircraft that do not require owners' approval and have multiple crews,” he explained.
Owned Aircraft Fleet
Planet Nine favors the Falcon 7X because it tends to hold better value than its competitors in the class, according to Walter. “It is a true, 12-hour-range aircraft, and it is much more fuel efficient than its competitors,” he explained. “By having just one aircraft at the core of our fleet, we can pool pilots and generate…savings on maintenance and parts.”
Owning and managing aircraft for charter—including a Gulfstream G650 and Bombardier Global 5000—are the core parts of Planet Nine’s business model. “We aim to own our aircraft for between two and eight years, and throughout an eight-year cycle we can fully depreciate the aircraft and expect there to be a residual value at the end,” Walter said.
Its roots are with Advanced Air Management, which also was based in Van Nuys and specialized in managing long-range business jets. In 2016 it was acquired by Singapore-based Zetta Jet, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2017 and a little more than two months later ceased operations.
Some of Planet Nine’s 63 staff, including Walter, have worked together for more than a decade, including at Advanced. It’s those relationships that have created “a fantastic culture” at Planet Nine, which Walter views as a sort of replication of Advanced. “Rebuilding the business we created at Advanced Air Management, and earning the trust of our customers and suppliers was never going to be easy, and it could not have happened without the goodwill built up over multiple years of operating Advanced Air Management with total integrity and honesty,” he explained.