Flexjet’s Mike Silvestro on Uber, fractional ownership trends, safety, and growth opportunities

Flexjet CEO Mike Silvestro covered a wide range of topics during an appearance on Fox Business Channel earlier this week

Speaking on Mornings with Maria earlier this week, Flexjet CEO Mike Silvestro covered a wide range of topics related to business aviation, including attempts to Uberize private jet travel, fractional ownership and leases, safety in the aftermath of Boeing MAX, market growth and potential.

“A lot of startups want to uberize private travel, and the model just doesn’t work,” Silvestro told guest host Charles Payne, adding, “There are some basic fundamentals of flying a private aircraft around…it’s costly.”

Fractional Ownership’s major trend

Flexjet

He said Flexjet’s current business is “split 50/50…We have high net worth individuals and corporate flight departments using Flexjet for supplemental lift,” something he called “a major trend.”

Silvestro said instead of buying additional aircraft, corporate flight departments are more and more adding capacity through fractional ownership or leases, giving the company access to Flexjet’s entire fleet of over 150 aircraft ranging from the Phenom 300 to the Gulfstream G650. Flexjet recently launched a program selling the ultra-long-haul private jet on a daily basis instead of the traditional hours-based model.

Private Jets = Time Machine

Calling private jet travel a “time machine” for those who can afford it, he said while the price of flying privately isn’t going down, the efficiency comes from being able to arrange flights on as little as eight hours notice in the Continental U.S. and saving travel time.

Flexjet CEO Mike Silvestro

He said company executives and managers, particularly in manufacturing, are going to places where there isn’t direct air service, so flying privately increases productivity. He said for executives, private travel is “like a conference call in the sky.”

Asked if the political environment is impacting travel overseas, Silvestro said Flexjet’s international flying is up 25% so far in 2019, “primarily to popular European destinations.”

He told the Fox Business hosts, “If you have the money, it’s an effective business tool.”

Private jet safety

Asked if Flexjet was increasing investment in safety in light of the grounding of the Boeing MAX fleet following two fatal accidents, Silvestro said, There is nothing safer than a well-trained, happy crew.” He said the company’s pilots average over 10,000 hours of total flight time.

He said, “At the core of everything we do is to have a safe operation for our customers and our crews so we have been over investing for a very long time.”

In terms of growth, Silvestro said Flexjet has seen over 50% growth in new customers. He added, “There’s a lot of wealth…people who haven’t chosen yet to fly privately.”

Compare Flexjet with over 50 private jet card providers and find out if fractional ownership could be right for you by subscribing to Private Jet Card Comparisons.

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
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