The Kansas-based regional fractional share, lease and jet card company plans to focus on building its Phenom 100 and 300/300E fleet, increase management contracts and enter major markets
Executive AirShare is now Airshare, rebranding for what the company calls a “new era of providing the most cost-effective option in private aviation for both business and leisure customers.” In a press release, the company said, “The new name represents the company’s desire to aggressively expand their client base by attracting more leisure customers, in addition to increasing recall among their core business targets. The evolution of the brand reaffirms Airshare’s commitment to shareowners in delivering greater productivity at a lower cost per hour the more they fly.”
Andy Tretiak, the company’s recently appointed chief marketing officer tells Private Jet Card Comparisons the move reflects the fractional and managed fleet operator wants to appeal to a broader market, be it owners of businesses, retirees and aforementioned leisure fliers as well as executives, a word he viewed as being too narrow to represent the wide variety of reasons customers should choose its programs.
One thing that’s not changing is the company’s interesting approach of selling both jet cards, shares and leases in a by the day formula, starting at its Embark jet card program that covers 10 days of flights in one year or 20 days over two years. The formula entails a membership fee that begins at $48,505 then adds on an hourly rate. Tretiak says if you fly at least 2.5 hours on those days, Airshare offers better pricing than competitors. Since that might mean two 45-minute legs and a 30-minute hop, then a 90-minute flight or some other combination he says it’s a strong proposition against programs that have segment minimums.
While Airshare continues with its Embark jet card memberships, the focus Tretiak says is selling fractional shares and leases as well as expanding its managed fleet. Currently, Airshare has about 30 aircraft in its fractional fleet and another 20 under management contracts. Exiting the King Air 350i and soon the CJ2+ means the future will be built around the Phenom 300, 300E and 100, although in passing Tretiak mentions the just announced Embraer Praetor 500. The 100s are currently getting upgrades, which should mean they will all have Wifi by the end of 2019. While the company manages a variety of aircraft, there is a strong interest in earning more contracts for Phenoms as that will add extra capacity for its share and card fliers as it seeks to expand.
Airshare’s New Branding
According to its press release, the new logo combines a contemporary wordmark with an iconic stylized aircraft. The color palette features a similar rich blue from the original mark, complemented by old gold as a secondary color, representing luxury and elegance. The plane’s eagle wings honor the heritage of the company’s previous logo, which incorporated an eagle’s beak within the center of the mark. The negative space in the slits between wing feathers symbolizes the core attributes of the brand – strength, vision and trust. The aircraft ascends in front of a gold-colored ring, evoking Airshare’s unique days-based program.
“While we are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished throughout our history, we felt strongly we needed new branding to emphasize the incredible growth opportunity ahead of us,” Airshare president and CEO John Owen says. “Our new name and logo essentially reflect a new mindset for the company. We are going to be more vigorous in promoting Airshare as the ideal private aviation program for businesses, as well as leisure customers.”
“The name change is a natural transition for the brand, but also a means for changing perceptions of the company among current and future customers,” Tretiak adds. “We have a great story to tell through our days-based model and unparalleled customer experience. Our visual identity needed to be more effective in supporting our value proposition and increasing awareness of our brand.”
Beyond the marketing speak about its new brand, the big story is that under Owen, who took over earlier this year after being elevated from his CFO role, and its new marketing boss, expect to see the company get much more aggressive in marketing, sales, and its footprint. Former Flexjet and Embraer executive Dylan Haynie joined in February as head of the sale team, and while Tretiak was consulting with the company for about a year, he only officially came onboard as CMO in August.
Expanding With A Local Market Approach
Airshare currently serves shareowners and jet card members in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Buffalo and recently added a base in Denver. Next year the company will open Chicago with Nashville on the planning board and aspirations to serve the New York market via Teterboro. Tretiak says Airshare has a strong but small customer base in Buffalo, so expanding its bases east makes its flying more efficient since customers are traveling around the country anyway.
The fact that Airshare has built its customer base – over 200 card members and shareowners – in local markets and it is not a national program gives it an edge Tretiak now wants to leverage. For example, in Kansas City where the company has a relationship with burgeoning Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and its highly respected coach Andy Reid, you’re likely to see more private events where its ambassadors will share insights about competing and leadership at the highest level while at the same time discussing how flying privately has contributed to their success. Much of its increased marketing push will be localized, digital and event-based, still Kansas Citians will see an Airshare billboard on the major highway is used to access KCI Airport. Also in the works are partnerships with lifestyle brands.
As part of its new website, the company has posted testimonials from clients, including Reid and Mahomes, along with golfing legend Tom Watson as well as Conax Technologies CEO Robert Fox and Pam and Edmund McIlhenny of Tabasco fame. There is also a new travel assessment form plus an interactive estimator, which factors in round-trip flights, average flight times and the interchange program rates.
In terms of the operations side, the company recently received a Platinum rating from ARGUS while renewing its Stage 2 level certification from IS-BAO giving it strong credentials as it seeks to grow its managed fleet, mainly in Kansas City and Fort Worth. The expanding managed fleet also provides more opportunities to grow the brokerage side of its business where it offers both midsize and super-midsize jets, as well as increasing off-fleet charters via other operators.
“Airshare has made incredible strides in recent months,” says Owen. “We’ve answered the demand for greater travel options in the Rocky Mountain region by expanding service to Denver. We’ve taken delivery of a new, technologically advanced Embraer Phenom 300E, becoming the nation’s first fractional provider to add this next-generation light jet to its fleet. The new branding continues the momentum our company is currently experiencing and positions us very well for the future.”
For Tretiak who before joining Airshare held leadership positions in the world of advertising and marketing, including professional sports, he says the company is primed for growth. “When you talk to our people, and then you talk to our customers, there’s really a connection. When you look at the high standards of our operations, there is just a lot of opportunity for us.”