Charter fleet operator FlyExclusive (Booth 1525, Static A505) is highlighting this week at NBAA-BACE its revamped Partner and Jet Club access programs, as well as new aircraft paint and refurbishment services, the latter showcased in the livery and interior of its jet on static display.
Kinston, North Carolina-based FlyExclusive owns and operates some 75 Cessna Citation light to super-midsize jets (including Xs) and large-cabin Gulfstream GIV-SPs in a floating fleet that the charter model founder and CEO Jim Segrave pioneered at Segrave Aviation. (Delta Air Lines bought Segrave Aviation in 2010 and renamed it Delta Private Jets, which is now part of Wheels Up.) FlyExclusive's fleet age averages 15 years, with none older than model year 2000.
The Partnership Program is designed for aircraft owners and prospective buyers of suitable fleet aircraft. In exchange for operational control of their jets, FlyExclusive provides monthly lease payments and 120 flight hours per year at cost on any fleet aircraft and covers all taxes, insurance, and operational costs.
Prospective buyers, meanwhile, can purchase a refurbished aircraft from the FlyExclusive fleet, or one it is acquiring, and lease it back to the company at the same terms offered to owners. Fleet aircraft currently for sale range from about $2.9 million to $6.2 million. FlyExclusive will also work with buyers and their representatives who are acquiring aircraft independently to identify aircraft suitable for its fleet and lease the aircraft once acquired.
FlyExclusive’s new three-tiered Jet Club membership provides guaranteed all-fleet access for a $1,000 per month fee, and offers low daily and hourly rates pegged to deposit levels ($75,000, $150,000, or $250,000). But unlike many other access plans that tout call-out times of 24 hours or less, the Partnership and Jet Club programs require at least four-day minimum notice and offer incentives aimed at “pushing the request for flights earlier and earlier,” Segrave said.
Based on his experience as an operator and consumer, he said the advance requirement will have little impact on customers. “I travel a ton, and I’ve got four young kids, and it’s a rare occasion that I don’t know about my trips a month in advance,” Segrave said, asserting that the great majority of customers also know their schedules well ahead but “they’re just not telling [charter providers] until the last moment.”
However, he added, “We’re going to give customers very competitive pricing, and we’re going to put them on our own airplanes, but if they book within 96 hours, the price is going to go up,” with rates rising as much as 75 percent higher if booked within 24 hours of departure.
Segrave established FlyExclusive as a wholesale charter operator, today providing supplemental lift to programs such as NetJets and Wheels Up. But it was already developing a retail offering when the pandemic grounded business aviation. Said Segrave, “We were in survival mode and decided to launch.” Exemplifying the industry’s dramatic turn, the retail business took off quickly and now accounts for some 25 percent of fleet operations.
FlyExclusive aims to meet 100 percent of demand on its own aircraft exclusively, both for efficiency and to control all aspects of the charter experience. The new access offerings, introduced on October 1, represent the next steps in its retail evolution.
Concurrently, FlyExclusive’s new paint, refurbishment, and maintenance services will support its own fleet but is also available for operators, MROs, and other business aviation clients. In March, FlyExclusive completed a $12 million paint facility with a downdraft electrostatic application system at its Global Transpark headquarters in Kinston and is now building a 48,000-sq-ft facility for an interiors shop, slated for a January opening.
The livery and interior on FlyExclusive’s jet on static display this week was applied and refurbished in-house and, like the entire fleet, bears a “JS” suffix on its N-number (for Jim Segrave). The new interiors feature muted blues and grays and contrasting white leather seats.
More than two dozen FlyExclusive team members are in Las Vegas to explain the new offerings and services. That includes the expanding maintenance side of the house.
FlyExclusive is adding space and plans to hire about 100 more technicians in the next six months to keep its own fleet airborne and offer maintenance services to other operators. Mobile service units are being added in the Northeast and South Florida, and a Cessna Caravan equipped with tools and a maintenance go-team is now based in Kinston. “Getting reliable maintenance on the road in a timely fashion is a challenge,” Segrave said.
With charter demand straining many operators, he noted most of his fleet still services the wholesale market, giving retail room to grow. Meanwhile, FlyExclusive is adding about one aircraft per week to its charter certificate. Seagrave expects to have 90 by year-end with another 10 in conformity, reaching the 100-fleet mark by the second quarter of 2022.
FlyExclusive will see $200 million to $250 million in revenue this year, Segrave said, “and shoot right through $300 million” next year. He is FlyExclusive’s sole owner, using no private equity money or partner. “It is literally 100 percent me,” he said.