5 Things to Look for in an Aircraft Management Company
When it comes to managing assets like private jets, there can be no second-best choice. Such valuable and highly-prized machines cannot be handed off to any operator, they need to be put in the hands of a dedicated and invested management team. Because of the nature of this complex process, due diligence is an absolute necessity. The time it takes to find a proper aircraft manager will pay off in the long run, as there are material differences between operators in regard to services, performance, and capability.
When shopping for a private aircraft manager, be sure to match your specific needs with the service offerings of an operator. Take in consideration your aircraft model, your typical mission profile, your preferred operating base, and your own crewing and maintenance requirements. Above all, find an operator that you trust, and one that is transparent and willing to speak about the details of their operations. Finding the right operator is important but finding the right business partner is just as crucial.
On top of your own personal needs, there are some other things that all great aircraft management companies have in common.
1. Safety Certifications
Safety should always be a top concern, and Jet Linx boasts some of the highest safety certifications in the industry with the International Business Aviation Council Stage 3 registered operator, ARGUS Platinum rating, and Wyvern Wingman safety rating. These three accomplishments are earned by less than one percent of all aircraft operators in the world, placing Jet Linx on a high perch in the private aviation industry. Jet Linx is dedicated to safety, evidenced by the annual safety summit, where all flight operations are suspended in order to educate all employees on updated safety protocols.
Cameron Gowans, Jet Linx Chicago Base President, explains, “We don’t seek these ratings just for the sake of ratings. We’re a large enough operator to invest in a safety infrastructure: a dedicated safety team, a full-blown SMS, FRAT, and a Safety Summit. This all makes passing 3rd party audits a breeze.” Gowans added, “This should be the standard to look for when seeking aircraft management. Safety should always be at the top of the list of needs.”
2. Operational Capabilities vs. Your Specific Needs
Private jet management companies come in all shapes and sizes. Some cater to specific kinds of jets, and others are more full-service. Operators vary widely in what they offer and what services they provide, from pilot training programs to maintenance and management, there are a range of considerations to make. Some operations hire full time pilots, and others will contract them out. There is no ‘perfect’ way to run a jet management company, you just need to determine your own specific needs and find the provider that can fulfill all of them to your standards.
You’ll likely need a team of advisors to compare your needs with the wide array of options for aircraft management. Will you allow your private jet to be used for commercial charters in order to generate revenue? Or do you want it specifically for personal use. Noncommercial operators run their business differently than commercial (Part 135) operators. Subsequently, their services will vary accordingly.
Consider some questions for a prospective aircraft manager:
- Does this company manage and operate a diverse fleet?
- Do they have experience with your specific aircraft type?
- Do they have international operational experience?
3. Financial and Accounting Ability
Owning and operating private jets is expensive, but it is equally complex from a financial perspective. There are flight crew salaries, fuel costs, maintenance, parts, insurance, hangar fees, and many other costs to factor in. Discrepancies are not uncommon, so there should be a high level of scrutiny and attention to detail with all financial statements. As an owner, you should demand transparency and the right to audit, as well as the right to dispute unfamiliar charges. Trust and transparency are key to all aircraft management companies, and this should be reflected in their finance and accounting departments.
Gowans of Jet Linx Chicago added, “People often forget about the complex taxes that come along with aircraft management, like bonus depreciation, expensing, and sales tax. Because of the sophisticated financials, you need a transparent team with no markups on services or parts. Jet Linx does not add surcharges outside of the agreed-upon contract.”
4. Revenue Generation
Generating revenue from third-party commercial flights is a popular option, and one that Jet Linx leads the industry in. Many people understand the upfront cost to own an aircraft, yet some fail to grasp the ongoing and long-term costs of ownership. Allowing an operator to charter your aircraft to third parties is a viable way to offset the costs of ownership, as well as forge valuable relationships with like-minded individuals capable of using private charter services.
In explaining the Jet Linx difference, Gowans stated, “Unlike retail charter services where anyone might be on the aircraft, Jet Linx offers a membership program. The people on our planes are extended friends, family, and business associates.” Even if the aircraft owner doesn’t directly know the passengers, they will be vetted and approved through the Jet Linx Jet Card Membership program.
5. Facilities and Local Bases
You want your aircraft management company to have a presence at your home airport. Although Jet Linx has the power of a national operator, there are eighteen local Base locations dispersed throughout the country from Scottsdale to New York City. Jet Linx teams across the nation operate locally but are also supported by a National Operations Center, where flight coordination, crewing, HR, marketing, accounting, and all senior staff are housed. Because of the support from the National Operations Center, it allows our local teams to provide world-class customer service.
When you call to book a flight, you will dial a local number and speak with the same Client Service Specialist. They will know your name, your likes and dislikes, your typical mission profile, what you like to eat and drink – and they may even know your dog’s birthday. Forming a relationship with local clients matters to our teams.