Skyjet’s President, Greg Richman goes in-depth on the world of private jet charters. We’ll touch on Skyjet’s clout from pioneering online booking for jets, their growing requests for charters to picking the right jet for the right trip -for our lovers of all things Air, this one is for you.
Skyjet's President, Greg Richman
As the company that pioneered online bookings for private jets, how has Skyjet responded to requests for an instant booking? How are you working with apps and web based bookings?
As one of the world’s leading charter providers, we are constantly evaluating how we can best meet the needs of private jet travelers. Given that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how people choose to charter a jet, we have taken steps to ensure we offer our clients as many ways as possible to access a private aircraft. Unlike our competitors, who often focus on one point of access, our clients can book a jet instantly via our app, our website, by email and by phone.
Last year we launched Skyjet’s award-winning iPhone app, which provides users with on-the-go access to a state of the art instant booking feature that empowers them to select the exact type of jet they need from a custom fleet, see the price and book their flight instantly using Apple Pay.
This year we upgraded and re-launched the new Skyjet.com allowing for real-time booking directly via the website for those clients who prefer to book via the website.
For both interactions, once the booking is made the flight arrangements are completed by a charter expert who will engage with the client to ensure all aspects of the flight meet with their satisfaction. For those wanting a more guided experience, we have a dedicated team of seasoned aviation experts, whose sole focus is providing a flawless travel experience from selecting the aircraft to following up post flight. These aviation experts are available 24/7 via telephone, live chat and email.
At Skyjet, we offer a simple promise. We provide private jet fliers ‘Expertise on Demand’ for each and every trip, regardless of whether they book their flight using Skyjet.com, the Skyjet on-demand booking app for iPhone or through the traditional means of a telephone conversation or email exchange. No matter how you reach us, we will provide the finest and most responsive service in the private jet travel industry.
And from the agent’s side, why should a travel agent choose Skyjet when there are many other brokers available?
Smartflyer agents are simply the best at what they do. They are knowledgeable, savvy and committed to providing the best experience for their clients. So when they resource a private jet they should seek the same in a broker partner. Skyjet has assigned the Smartflyer account to one of our most experienced team members,Vice President – Ngaire Duncan. With over 12 years in private aviation she is dedicated to the ‘Smarties’ and their clients and aims to provide timely and expert advice finding the right solution for each request. She has a knowledge and understanding of how Smarties work with their clients and in every interaction wants to ensure the ‘Smartie’ is equipped with the right knowledge and choices to assist their clients.
Additionally, Skyjet requires and provides an insurance minimum of $100 Million on each flight – with the average coverage being around $142 Million – this covers the passengers and protects the travel agent.
Is Skyjet experiencing growth? Where do you see the charter business going?
Yes we have a long tradition of dedicated clients and with our developments in the tech side of our business we’re gaining new clients every day. We’re also finding is that the modern charter broker market is becoming highly saturated, and hyper-competitive. Many of our competitors have only recently emerged; they’re very price driven, and very inexperienced. As a result they are falling short of their client’s expectations, and those clients are turning to us instead because we offer charter solutions with quality service. We are very experienced, and we have very competent experts working with us. We also make sure to reach out to clients after every trip to gauge their satisfaction, and we consistently hear that we offer a service that is superior to other companies. If you’re new to the industry, it takes a lot of time to learn how it works. That’s the major advantage to having a tested, and largely veteran, team of experts on your side.
Working with an expertly trained consultant is the smartest way to navigate the multi-fragmented world of private aviation in order to find the best results, the best aircraft and the best advice.
As for the charter business itself, with all of this newer technology, a lot more information is available, as with any other industry that’s technology-heavy. Now the consumer has access to far more information on a variety of companies, aircraft and ways to fly private. At the same time the business is becoming increasingly fragmented with companies trying to offer a “new deal” of flying privately. But working out the best solution may not be as simple as a few clicks of the mouse. Similar to the luxury travel industry’s evolution over the last few years those consumers who are seeking expertly crafted, detail focused, best fit solutions and those who want a memorable, effective experience turn to experts in their field.
Like travel, private aviation is extremely complex – there are a lot of small but crucially important details, easily missed by the untrained eye.
That is a big part of what we do. So many others focus on price alone but there are a lot of other factors that contribute to the best solution.
How is Skyjet’s Safety program different to other jet companies? How does this benefit you, and what sort of safety initiatives do you have in place?
Skyjet has built a remarkable safety culture, we believe that safety is the responsibility of every Skyjet employee. We have an independent safety board that is exclusive to Directional Aviation (our parent company). The board is comprised of former leaders from the NTSB and other aviation industry leaders.
Together they have put together one of the industry’s most stringent and robust safety programs. Fewer than 25% of available aircraft can pass our thorough safety vetting and for most it can take 4-6 weeks to clear the vetting process. Once included in our program the aircraft rechecked on a monthly basis to ensure our standards are continually met or exceed and any “hiccups” that might slip through the cracks normally are identified and addressed. Each crew member is also fully inspected, checking pilot records, certifications, actual flight-time reports experience and medical training. We also have Veriflight, a safety program exclusive to Skyjet that includes real-time flight reports and standards that are in accordance with NTSB and FAA. Finally, we conduct a final safety check 30 minutes before each flight.
And finally: your favorite jet, and why?
It would depend on the type of flight. For longer international flights the Gulfstream G450. My favorite G450 has a bespoke interior, luxury amenities like Waterford crystal and an espresso machine. The long range capabilities of this jet mean I can fly overnight New York to Paris, get some work and email done with the international Wi-Fi capabilities, watch a movie sleeping in the salon double bed made up by the flight attendant and wake up refreshed for the day ahead.
For shorter domestic flights the Nextant 400XT is my personal preference. With one of the most spacious cabins in the light jet range it is a comfortable jet that has a flat floor (the small details are sometimes the most important) and a fully enclosed lavatory. The extended range of this aircraft means I can fly distances that usually require a mid size jet for the price of a light. Standard free Wi-Fi and a refreshment center complete the package to make this a very comfortable and affordable ride. Having said that, they are extremely popular so securing one can take planning and good fortune.