Kenn Ricci, Principal of Directional Aviation, which includes Flexjet, Sentient Jet, FXAIR, and PrivateFly, praised innovations from competitors.
In an industry that features sniping between major players, the plaudits came during an interview with Aviation International News, celebrating the trade publication’s 50th anniversary.
Saying “necessity breeds invention,” Ricci told AIN, “What happened in the industry is we started to invent demand opportunities.”
Ricci cited fractional ownership, pioneered by archrival NetJets. He then praised “what Wheels Up is trying to do with democratization.”
He said demand innovations have “done more than anything else to push the industry.”
For his part, Ricci gave fractional a twist, selling shares in used aircraft via Flight Options. His Nextant Aerospace made its mark remanufacturing private aircraft.
In 2012, he added jet card inventor Sentient Jet to his portfolio. More recently, he led the way in the eVTOL space, ordering 200 of the new craft for his Halo helicopter unit. His goal is to connect users of his private jet services door-to-door, increasing demand.
The kind words for competitors are uncommon. Flexjet has previously poked NetJets with an ad campaign, while NetJets has issued thinly veiled attacks on Directional and Wheels Up for taking CARES Act monies.