In the world of private aviation, Dumont Group is best known for parts and maintenance, often buying used aircraft for components that can be used as replacements. That has been changing for a while and will be even more so – in a big way. As the company expands its aircraft management, it is becoming a well-sized charter operator owning and operating aircraft as well as operating and managing aircraft for owners, some who use the jets exclusively for themselves and others who allow Dumont to sell charter trips on them.
In 2016 Dumont launched a broker jet card program with its wholly owned subsidiary ProspAir Jet Charter behind Christopher Tasca. Now, it’s also focusing on its Santos Jet Card Membership Program. The main difference is that ProspAir customers fly about 40% of their flights on the Dumont fleet while Santos travelers will be on fleet about 90% of the time. Virtually all operators have to use third-party operators during peak travel periods.
In terms of the company, Dumont was founded in January 2013, however, its predecessor companies – Elcorta and MX Jet Services – have a history at the New Castle Airport in Delaware dating to 1974. The name comes from the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont who in 1906 piloted the first heavier than air machine in Europe.
The idea with the Santos program is to offer a product targeting jet card buyers who want standardized aircraft interiors. Currently, the backbone is 10 ex-NetJets Dassault Falcon 2000s with 17 more set to be delivered by the end of 2019. Seating up to 10 passengers with a flight attendant, you can buy 25 hours for $225,000, or $9,000 per hour excluding Federal Excise Tax (FET), and 50 hours at $8,790 per hour on the same basis.
The day after their final flight for Warren Buffett’s fractional share and jet card provider the Falcons are delivered to Dumont where they undergo a full C-check, then get an exterior paint job and brand new highly stylish luxury interior. The current type sells new for approximately $25 million but on the used market ranges from $2.5-$7.5 million, according to Business Jet Traveler/Conklin & de Decker research. Dumont’s CEO Kevin Wargo tells Private Jet Card Comparisons by buying from NetJets the company gets a standardized configuration and by buying used, then refurbishing interiors, it can provide jet card customers a high-value and consistent new aircraft-like experience.
In terms of growing its fleet, Dumont after buying planes will resell them to owners who then hire the company to manage them as part of the deal, and in most cases, make them available for charter, earning revenue while taking advantage of the new tax laws to write off the entire cost of the jet in the first year.
There are currently four Gulfstream GIVSPs and three Falcon 50s which might provide insights into similar opportunities for growth. Dumont recently bought 15 Hawker 400XPs and 800XPs from TMC with the latter being used for parts and the former about to be part of a new program Wargo says will be rolled out in a couple weeks. The eight light jet 400XPs will be offered under an ownership and guaranteed lease income program with details being finalized right now.
In addition to the Falcon 2000 Santos jet cards, there are light ($5,000 per hour excluding FET at 25 hours), midsize ($6,250), super midsize ($7,795) and heavy jet cards ($10,900), although clearly, the unique offering is the Falcon 2000.
Key attributes for the Santos card include no fuel surcharges, guaranteed availability with no blackout dates, pet-friendly, refundable deposit, no expiration, a free interchange between jet categories, point to point pricing with no repositioning fees, complimentary Wifi on every flight, and personal travel concierge services.
In terms of operations, Dumont has bases at Teterboro, Opa Locka, and Van Nuys and uses a floating fleet mode. This year it achieved Wyvern Wingman operator status, became a member of the Air Charter Safety Foundation and IS-BAO registered. It also hired Tim Lomakin in November 2017, the chief pilot and a vice president at Regency Air, as director of operations. Lomakin says he has changed the interviewing process to add more attitudinal insights and implemented additional tools to weed out prospects in addition to extensive simulator evaluations. The result has brought the training failure rate to zero. Even in the current tight market, he says he typically has five to seven qualified finalists for each hire. Wargo adds, “The pilots are our first line of defense who our customers interact with.”
As it grows the consumer side of its business selling jet cards and seeking private individuals to buy and leaseback jets, Dumont is also revving up the marketing. In May, it debuted with Leavine Family Racing a special throwback-inspired paint scheme aboard Kasey Kahne’s No. 95 Camaro ZL1 for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earlier this month Kahne along with Team Chevy and a group of breast cancer survivors painted Martinsville Speedway’s historic curbs pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month ahead of the First Data 500 weekend at the Half Mile of Mayhem.