Jet Linx has ambitious plans to expand its current 14 markets for its pay-as-you-go jet card membership program

 

Omaha-based Jet Linx is on the verge of becoming a significant national player in the fast-growing and competitive jet card market. Earlier this year Private Jet Card Comparisons exclusively reported on the jet management company’s ambitious plans to add Boston, San Jose, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and possibly even two bases in New York. For example, it has bases in both Forth Worth and Dallas. So far we know there is progress in the Northeast where former NetJets and Marquis Jet executive John Daut joined in February. Now, we have learned industry veteran Cameron Gowans has come onboard in Chicago.

 

“We are excited to welcome Cameron to help support the launch of our future Jet Linx Chicago Base. We see a unique opportunity to provide our guaranteed services and personal experience to local aircraft owners and jet card members in the area. Gowans’ appointment is the first of many preliminary steps we will take in the coming months to successfully enter the market. We look forward to sharing an official announcement and more news in the weeks to come,” Jet Linx CEO Jamie Walker told us in a prepared statement.

 

Last year Jet Linx marked its 100th aircraft under management, and unlike most card programs that sell nationally, its model is focused on specific airports or bases. At each base, it manages aircraft for local owners, then selling jet cards using fleet time not needed by owners. The set-up entails having private lounges, which provide a more intimate experience than FBOs. With only jet owners and card members, the local staff sets up the favorite spirits and snacks for members on the day they are flying. While you are away they detail your car and when you return it’s waiting, engine running with air conditioning or heat turned on as appropriate. Each base has its own mechanics, pilots and president. Walker has previously told us, in a market where there is a shortage of highly qualified pilots, he believes the base model is more appealing than floating fleets, which he says means being away from home more often.

 

Jet Linx hasn’t disclosed which Chicago airport it will use for its base. It is believed that in New York both Teterboro and Westchester County are under consideration. Jet Linx’s membership is a pay as you go program with a membership fee of either $12,500 or $17,500 and then fixed one-way or roundtrip rates with guaranteed availability.

 

For Gowans, it marks a return to the Windy City after a stint as VP-Sales & Marketing at JetSuite. Previously, he had spent 10 years there with Embraer Executive Jets and before that he held senior positions at Flight Options and Delta Private Jets. Gowans was also part of Avolar, an attempt by United Airlines to enter the private jet charter market, that was derailed by its labor unions as part of post-9/11 concessions negotiations.

 

Jet Linx isn’t the only player seeing opportunity in the Chicago market. Air Chicago is planning a launch next month of shared private jet flights it will sell on a by the seat basis. It is hoping to attract local business travelers who would save time bypassing the commercial terminals and be able to make same-day returns to places like New York. JetSmarter has also said it intends to build up its semiprivate shared shuttles in Chicago. The company recently changed its membership model to include both a membership fee and per seat charges it says are equivalent to first class fares.

 

For Jet Linx, its current network spans as far west as Denver and Scottsdale, and to the East in Atlanta and Washington D.C.

About the Author Doug Gollan

I am Founder and Editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons, the only independent buyer's guide to jet card membership programs, and DG Amazing Experiences, a weekly luxury travel e-newsletter for private jet owners. I am also a contributor to Forbes.com