During the Corporate Jet Investor conference taking place this week in London, Boston-based Sentient Jet offered a tweet hinting at something.
It read, “Sentient Jet in Europe? Hmm…”
So is Sentient Jet planning to launch a jet card for customers in Europe?
It already offers fixed one-way rates and guaranteed availability in Europe for its U.S. membership. In other words, while it is buying flights in Europe already, Sentient doesn’t currently sell jet cards in Europe.
However, there are a few indications – besides the tweet – that one might be in the offing.
Last year its CEO Andrew Collins made it clear new products were in the pipeline.
Sister company Flexjet is expected to formally announce its membership program during EBACE at the end of May. Last year it opened a London sales office. Flexjet has also been hiring pilots across the Continent.
In launching its Gulfstream G650 program, Flexjet announced London as one of two markets where it would target customers.
Like Sentient, Flexjet offers private jet access in Europe mainly to serve its U.S. customers who are traveling there.
But clearly Europe is front and center. In 2018, Directional Aviation snapped up PrivateFly, a tech-led U.K.-charter broker that had been expanding in the U.S.
To bolster its growth in the on-demand charter segment, PrivateFly hired former XOJET president Gregg Slow to lead the U.S. Slow, a NetJets alum, is widely credited with building XOJET’s off-fleet brokerage program to over $100 million before its acquisition by Vista Global Holdings, also in 2018.
Flexjet, Sentient, and PrivateFly are all housed in a unit called OneSky, which last year launched a B2B platform for brokers and operators called Tuvoli.
While Flexjet does sell jet cards, its main focus is fractional shares and leases. And while PrivateFly has been rolling out fixed-rate as available pricing between city pairs in the U.S. and Europe, its focus is on-demand charter.
Sentient Jet only sells jet cards, arranging on-demand charters for members when they are flying outside the fixed price service region.
In other words, Directional takes a segmented approach with each of its brands targeting a different segment of private aviation. For fractional shares, you have Flexjet. For on-demand charter, PrivateFly. If you are in the market for jet cards, there’s Sentient.
Since PrivateFly sells on both sides of the Atlantic, and Flexjet soon will be rolling out a more robust program across the pond, one might assume that Sentient Jet is working on a jet card to fill its gap in Europe.
Asked about the tweet, Sentient CEO Andrew Collins replied, “All I can say is that I find myself in Europe quite a bit these days.”
If Sentient does launch a jet card in Europe, it will have some company. Air Partner, Air Charter Service, NetJets, Starflight Aviation, and Vistajet offer fixed-rate, guaranteed availability memberships in Europe and the U.S.