ProspAir may be new to Jet Cards, but its sourcing and programs provide wide options and attractive policies.
ProspAir’s entry into the Jet Card market in November 2016 represents that these programs have become the sweet spot of private aviation with the number of providers having more than doubled in the past 10 years. The business is an offshoot of The Dumont Group, which was founded in 2013 by financier Kevin Wargo and Dan Piraino, an airline pilot with more than 14,000 flight hours. It started with one plane and a parts business, which has grown into a multi-pronged private aviation provider with bases in Texas, Illinois and Delaware, the headquarters. ProspAir’s birth came about when Christopher Tasca joined from another card seller. The Jet Card programs are designed to feed traffic into the 30+ aircraft The Dumont Group has under management. Its fleet is expected to grow significantly through both ownership and management.
Dumont today has over 180 employees ranging from mechanics and pilots to schedulers and support staff. In its first full year ProspAir generated about $8 Million, says Tasca, who describes its Jet Card product as the best of both worlds: a membership supported by a fleet of aircraft with Dumont Jets, with the on-call personalized service of a boutique broker. About 65% of flights are with Dumont aircraft, with the remainder sourced out to third-party operators.
Tasca says he built the program based on addressing the shortcoming he saw with other programs. That means no annual dues or membership fees, no CPI escalators and no fuel surcharges. You can refund up to 75% of your deposit if you want to cancel or you can opt for a pay as you go program where you pay 50% up front and then are billed for the remaining 50% as you fly. There is also an escrow account option. There is no expiration for funds and taxi time is the standard 12 minutes per segment. Heavy jet pricing includes a flight attendant.
Three attributes that makes the ProspAir Jet Card really standout are: 60 minute segment minimums (reduced earlier this year from 90 minutes) for all size categories, but specifically SuperMid and Heavy Jets; including Alaska and Hawaii in the service area, meaning you fly at your contracted rate with no ferry fees; and the most generous roundtrip policy we’ve seen. Fly roundtrip starting and ending in the same place and you get a 10% discount regardless of how many days you are away. For example, fly Teterboro to Vail Saturday and then return a week later, you still get the roundtrip discount.
The roundtrip discount is a true gift as most programs only give it if you return on the same day or with consecutive days where you bill at least two hours of flying before returning to origin, the idea being that you are saving the provider ferry expenses. There is also a further 5% off for flights over four hours, on customized cards. Tasca says these perks are possible as Dumont operates a floating fleet, adding, “We wanted to do some things in our program that really provided a definitive difference from anything else we had seen.”
The eight-hour call out and 72 hours for peak days is also very attractive, and Tasca says last month he was able to get a jet for a member in just four hours. “With the support from Dumont Jets, many times we can get a plane in less than eight hours,” he says.
ProspAir’s business is split about 50-50 between cards and on-demand charter and last year it did close to 500 segments last year. It offers an introductory card for first-time buyers with 15 hours that has the same benefits as the 25-hour card. The 50-hour cards offer two bonus hours, with other concessions available on a bespoke basis.
There is a Light, Medium, Super Medium and three Heavy Jet Cards, and if you wondered why three Heavy cards, that’s because when accessing Dumont’s fleet there are aircraft specific, plus a third option which is category-wide, while for flights via third-party operators they are category based. Aircraft that support the various programs are the Learjet 45, Hawker 800XP, Falcon 50, Falcon 2000 and Gulfstream GIVSP. All Dumont aircraft have WiFi.
Non-peak cancellation is 72 hours, longer than others but shorter than some programs. Caribbean, Mexico and Canada carry a 10% surcharge as do the 23 peak days. For non-weather delays, ProspAir guarantees a four-hour recovery. WiFi is only guaranteed on the Dumont fleet, but Tasca says he tries to source WiFi-enabled aircraft when going off the fleet. The minimum age for minors traveling unaccompanied is 18, however, Tasca says that is under review. Either way, if you need either Super Mid or Heavy Jets for shorter flights or have travel to Hawaii or Alaska, ProspAir should be on your shortlist.