VistaJet, XO parent Vista reports 'strong 2023 performance'

Vista Global spent over $100 million in refurbishing aircraft gaining a 20% increase in program hours and member base last year.

By Doug Gollan, February 5, 2024

Vista Global, the parent of VistaJet and XO, is classifying 2023 as a “robust performance” despite continued press speculation about its finances.

Recently, it has been the subject of articles by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, citing a decline in bond prices, although the latter noted “a partial recovery in recent weeks.”

In a press release earlier today, Founder and Chairman Thomas Flohr said, “2023 was another year of successful performance in our business. Despite having to react to deep economic shifts and complex geopolitical uncertainty, we produced double-digit growth across all markets — achieved while refurbishing and upgrading our fleet ahead of schedule, further improving our service standards and significantly increasing aircraft availability.”

He continued, “Today, Vista is a truly global and recognizable brand all around the world thanks to the 20 years in which we have delivered an unmatched service to our clients, and we are well placed to further increase our market share over the next two decades.”

Vista Global 2023 highlights

Among the statistics from the company:

  • Vista has increased the proportion of flight hours coming from program members (its version of a jet card) who sign three-year contracts, now making up around 60% of the total on-fleet revenue for the group.
  • There was a 20% gain in subscription hours and member base.
  • Against an overall industry decline, Vista saw a 17% growth in on-fleet hours globally, bringing it to over 200,000 flight hours, including double-digit growth in all territories.
  • Over 50% of Vista’s flight hours today come from outside the U.S., emphasizing the global nature of its business.
  • Ninety-three aircraft refurbishments were completed, 50% more than initially planned, giving it a fleet of over 230 jets with standardized interiors and its silver and red striped livery.

The privately held flight provider has been under scrutiny since a Financial Times report last May using data from its $500 million bond offering.

The offering, which sold out in several hours, was oversubscribed, according to the company.

Flohr dismissed net losses due to how it depreciates aircraft while touting its robust EBITDA.

He also answered its deferred revenue to cash deficit, saying it was related to timing and the direct cost to fly members is under 25 cents per dollar.

$100 million on refurbishments

During an interview in London, VistaJet Chief Commercial Officer Ian Moore pointed to the company’s unique asset-light alternative to fractional and whole ownership while at the same time offering customers guaranteed availability, contracted rates, long-flight discounts, and via the refurbishments, standardized experience not available via traditional charter.

He responded to the negative articles by noting the company spent over $100 million last year on refurbishing aircraft.

It also opened an African base for its global floating fleet.

Both moves, he said, point to Vista’s stability as well as its ability to move its fleet to take advantage of both programmatic and on-demand opportunities.

It recently transferred one of its Global 7500 ultra-long-range jets to the U.S. market.

Moore also disputed that the company spent too much money growing capacity right before the market started contracting.

Currently, VistaJet is the only provider to offer a guaranteed availability, fixed-rate program worldwide.

READ: Here’s what you need to know about VistaJet before you buy

End of CAPEX phase

In the release, Charlotte Colhoun, the Group’s Chief Financial Officer, noted, “Strong growth across all regions demonstrates the global diversity of our business, which in turn supports resiliency to external market dynamics.”

She added, “Through 2023, our focus has been on optimizing across all aspects of the business to drive efficiencies and reinvesting cash generated to uplift our fleet globally. With a CAPEX phase behind us and no near-term debt maturities, we go into 2024 in a position of strength and will focus on maximizing revenues from our existing assets and infrastructure.”

In other news, Moore said XO has no plans to restart its fixed-rate Elite Access jet card program; instead, it continues with dynamic pricing memberships.

READ: Business aviation execs bullish on fractionals, jet cards

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