XOJET recently conducted an extensive interview with its Chairman & CEO Bradley Stewart for the blog of its website providing an annual report from the private aviation provider. Below is the wide-ranging interview in full.
Throughout its 11-year history, XOJET has always been prepared to make bold decisions, adjust in the face of adversity, and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of private aviation. Founded as a trip-based, debit model in 2006, it survived the financial crisis of 2008 by reinventing itself with an on-demand approach based on dynamic pricing and a floating fleet of aircraft. Equipped with more cost-effective jets, it soon found success through smarter aircraft utilization and passenger-centric service, eventually laying the foundation for what the company embodies today.
So when Chairman & CEO Brad Stewart describes 2017 as a year of evolution, not revolution, what he really means is that XOJET is proudly coming of age, growing into the best version of itself, and unwavering in its current flight trajectory. “Maybe it’s just my personality,” says Brad, “but I celebrate this continuous improvement and constant refinement so much more than some humdinger strategy shift.”
Hence the beauty of 2017, a year that truly solidified XOJET as one of the preeminent players in the private aviation industry. Steadfast in its position as the trusted adviser and service provider of choice for sophisticated private aviation consumers—and the leading alternative to fractional and jet cards—the company stayed the course but never stopped fine-tuning its service offerings and whole-hearted commitment to clients.
The overarching theme of 2017 was a continued progression into what Brad calls a full-service private aviation platform. To complement its owned fleet of 41 super mid-size jets (24 Citation X and 17 Challenger 300), today’s XOJET provides clients with seamless access to a vast partner network consisting of more than 1,300 business jets, covering the full spectrum of aircraft categories—light-, mid-, and large-cabin—the combined offering gives XOJET clients a complete choice of exactly which jet is best suited for their mission. The result is a versatile service platform that’s ideal for clients who fly 25 or more hours per year.
“We want our clients to increasingly see us as a one-stop shop,” says Brad, adding that XOJET’s off-fleet business grew by over 36% year-over-year. “We’ve gone from a fleet operator with a wholesale front, to a fleet operator with a retail front end, to now becoming a full-service, on-demand private aviation platform.”
To fully embrace this new identity, 2017 inspired significant investment into XOJET’s company-wide operational efficiency. Powered by its world-class operations team, the company continued to optimize its internal infrastructure while adding cutting-edge resources to maximize fleet utilization. Among the year’s many highlights was the palpable impact of Noodle.ai, an artificial intelligence firm that XOJET leverages to make informed decisions about demand patterns and dynamic pricing. Using historical data to make predictions about the future, it’s a revolutionary analytics tool that 1) allows XOJET to intelligently operate its on- and off-fleet aircraft and 2) helps clients understand precisely how much they’re paying and why.
The net-net, from Brad’s perspective, affirmed many of XOJET’s targets going into 2017: “Better organizational structure, better algorithms, and more dynamism in our model.”
Most importantly, 2017 was the year of superior client delivery. To uphold its promise of elevating the travel experience, the company inked numerous new partnerships to extend the XOJET lifestyle to well before takeoff and long after touchdown. Joining the company’s growing roster of partners in 2017 were esteemed brands like health resort Canyon Ranch, The Private Suite at LAX, and the cradle of American golf, Pinehurst Resort, each of which provide exclusive benefits to XOJET clients.
Better yet, to operate effectively as a true full-service platform, the company introduced a first-of-its-kind, subscription-based program called Access Solutions. Exceeding enrollment targets by 18% since its launch in July, the program offers three groundbreaking flying solutions based on each client’s individual flying needs: Select Access, our entry-level membership program that works like a debit card; Preferred Access, our flagship program that employs the best of on-demand flight services; and Elite Access, our fixed-rate program that provides guaranteed flights with minimum advanced notice.
Besides providing sophisticated flyers with the most innovative flying programs in the industry, the premise of Access Solutions is to build deeper, more intuitive relationships between XOJET and its clients. Members aren’t just paying for the convenience of flying XOJET—they’re paying for a service team that works tirelessly and advocates fiercely on their behalf. An XOJET Aviation Advisor is always on the client’s side, coordinating with operations, scheduling, and maintenance to ensure every flight experience goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
“If you look at industry over the last couple decades,” explains Brad, “it’s been mostly about planes, and then it was about programs. Now it’s about the people. There’s a warmth to our business—the individuals who deliver our product are truly our differentiator.”
Going into 2018, Brad expects XOJET to follow the same formula that brought success in 2017: exiting the year looking like a better version of the company that entered it.
“We’re a business that has just come so far and gotten so much sharper,” he says. “We’re going to continue our culture of winning in service, creativity, and entrepreneurship. We’re going to look out for our clients’ best interest at every turn, keep refining our product, expand the nature of our client services, and complement our experience with more partnerships.”
In other words, the evolution continues—and we look forward to serving you again in the year to come.