Gaining an Edge
As demand for private charters grows, Jet Edge flies high and rises to the occasion.
Private aviation bookings are at an all-time high, according to Jonah Adler, Chief Commercial Officer at Jet Edge, a boutique but growing membership-based charter provider that is taking this unprecedented pandemic-induced uptick in stride. Much of the industry is struggling to keep up with the increased demand for private air travel, caused in part by the rush to private flights of the past two years paired with supply-chain delays and subsequent lack of available planes, both new and preowned. Jet Edge—which is relatively new to the market, having commenced operations in 2011—is thriving, offering its members access to a fleet of newly appointed aircraft, simple and economical pricing packages, and (unlike many of its competitors) flight availability.
“As crazy as it sounds,” says Adler, “one of the things that is really driving people to our platform is the fact that we actually have availability and are delivering amazing service. We have airplanes. We have room in our system to service new members at a very high level—it just happens to be that we’re able to do it on the best equipment in the industry.”
This past summer, Jet Edge added to its charter fleet 27 super-midsize and large-cabin jets, its first wholly owned and operated aircraft, where previously its fleet consisted entirely of aircraft it managed and operated for individual owners. The new planes—Challenger 300s, Challenger 350s, Challenger 650s, and Gulfstream G450s—follow a $150 million line of credit Jet Edge received from the investment company KKR in June and an influx of $100 million in new member deposits it garnered last year, representing an 1,800-percent year-over-year membership growth. Adler says Jet Edge plans to continue growing its fleet into next year, with the help of an additional $40 million that KKR invested in the company in September.
“We’ve made the planes gorgeous,” says Adler of the new fleet, which are branded as Jet Edge aircraft and feature a consistent look and feel from plane to plane. “We used a designer who came from Gulfstream to design custom interiors. Jet Edge now offers the only all 5G WiFi fleet, with Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, new sound systems, plus the latest USB ports at every seat.”
Adler says that Jet Edge members have responded incredibly well to the new planes, which are attracting new members, as is the company’s simple and economical pricing. Jet Edge’s Reserve Membership model is especially attractive in a market where, according to Adler, consumer discontent has risen due to the high demand and low supply for private flight, especially for new entrants into the market.
“Some of the service levels of flying private aren’t what people think they should be. We’ve followed in the footsteps of some of the great hospitality brands, and don’t sell the last plane available. We focus on delivering amazing service, while our competitors are stranding people at the FBO. That’s been a big part of our growth,” he says, adding that the Jet Edge Reserve Membership program is the simplest in private aviation: Members add funds to their accounts—from $100,000 to $500,000-plus—which are not charged until they fly. There are no fees, funds are 100-percent refundable, and only members have access to the fleet. Members also receive benefits like capped hourly rates, set rates for coast-to-coast flights, and discounts on empty legs. Other benefits include discounts at Montage Hotels & Resorts properties and Four Seasons properties in Hawaii. Additionally, Jet Edge Reserve Black Members—those who deposit $500,000 or more—receive a 7.5-percent flight credit from now until the end of the year.
At a time when demand is far outpacing supply, to the point that even the industry’s largest players are turning away new customers, Jet Edge is growing its fleet to meet demand and maintain its industry-leading service standards. “So, here we are, a relatively new entrant with a simple program requiring essentially no commitment,” Adler opines. “We’ve made it very simple for people to walk up the steps, turn right, and enjoy our product.” flyjetedge.com