In a market short of supply, Jet Edge International is adding 27 super-midsize and large cabin private jets that will be flying by December. Here’s how…
Charter operator Jet Edge International has used its $150 million war chest from KKR to quietly snap up 11 Bombardier Challenger 300 and 350 super-midsize jets, five Challenger 650s, and 11 large-cabin Gulfstream G450s. It is also finalizing an order for 15 to 20 new super-midsize and large jets. Deliveries will start at the end of next year.
By December, Jet Edge will be flying the 27 preowned aircraft it has been buying and refurbishing. That will bring its AdvantEdge fleet to 74 aircraft and 110 overall.
We bought the market– Bill Papariella, CEO, Jet Edge International
Jet Edge CEO Bill Papariella tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, the company started acquiring the aircraft on a one-off basis in January. It is spending $1.2 million per Challenger and $1.8 million on the G450s to refurbish the aircraft. Renovations include a branded exterior and standardized interiors (below) from Gulfstream veteran Autumn Duntz.
The cabins include updated Gogo 4G streaming Wi-Fi, USB ports, Airshow upgrades, inflight entertainment options, sound systems, and Bluetooth connectivity. Starting next year, the AdvantEdge fleet will be upgraded to Gogo 5G.
Papariella says eight of the new jets will be flying by the end of September, a dozen will be in service by the end of October, 18 in November, and all of its acquisitions by mid-December in time for the holidays.
Private jet shortage
The news comes as aircraft brokers say there is a shortage of desirable aircraft for sale in the used market.
The International Aircraft Dealers Association reported a 52% increase in second-quarter sales. Members sold 320 preowned private jets in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 211 in the first three months of 2021.
In July, IADA executive director Wayne Starling noted, “The only negative on the horizon is that there is a shortfall of inventory.”
“We bought the market,” Papariella quips.
He says the plan to begin accumulating the aircraft was formulated last August. “I woke up one morning and said, ‘This is 2006, 2007 all over again. Let’s get out ahead of it. Let’s raise some money, and let’s get a jump on everyone else.'”
Prior to the Great Recession, OEMs had multi-year waiting lists for new jets and there was a gray market selling delivery slots.
In 2006, deliveries of new jets set a record with 887 units, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. In 2007, it climbed to 1,137 and peaked in 2008 at 1,317. After falling to 874 deliveries in 2009, shipments of new private jets dropped to 666 in 2016. They recovered to 809 in 2019. Last year, deliveries fell to 644 units, impacted by the pandemic.
Since its announcement in June that it had secured funding from KKR, Jet Edge has added the equivalent of 15 managed aircraft into its AdvantEdge program The program is currently sold out.
Owners stipulate how many charter hours they want per year – 250, 500, or 900. In return, they commit 14, 28, or 52 weeks of access to Jet Edge charter clients without owner approval on a trip-by-trip basis.
Papariella says the 27 aircraft announced today are not currently for sale, so Jet Edge will own and operate them. The upcoming order of new jets will be resold to owners who commit them to its AdvantEdge fleet.
Deposits in its Reserve jet card program, launched late last year, are on track to increase eight-fold compared to 2020, says Papariella.
However, he says, Jet Edge plans to continue its B2B focus. “There are about a half dozen (charter brokers) who are the reason we are here. They are friends, and they are part of the family. Right now, supply is tight, and we are going to be there for them with availability,” he says.
Taking a swipe at NetJets, Papariella adds, “As many private jet travelers face waitlists, halted fractional sales, and phased out aircraft product offerings, Jet Edge is providing access to these state-of-the-art Challenger and Gulfstream models before year-end.”
The world’s largest operator has been throttling back sales as it seeks to keep up with record demand. Last week it said it will add 100 new jets by the end of 2022.
Through June, Jet Edge is currently the eighth-largest operator in our top 30 list. The ranking is based on fractional and charter flight hours from Argus TraqPak.