European jet card and charter operator Wijet to cease operations (updated) or restructure?

Earlier this year Wijet said it was ordering 16 new HondaJet aircraft to expand its charter business. Now, it’s future is unclear.

 

Updated (June 29 – 6:45pm): 

Patrick Hersent, the Group CEO of Wijet, has exclusively confirmed to Private Jet Card Comparisons that the UK side of the business will enter receivership on Monday. He said he resigned two weeks ago and officially leaves the business tomorrow, Saturday and staff were notified of the company plans today. He said the European side of the business will continue, however, he is not sure of the final plan. The UK side, which represented the former Blink, held the group’s Air Operator’s Certificate, issued by the UK authorities so even if the French side tries to continue it would have to negotiate both airplane leases and find an operator with an AOC, he says. Hersent said he is not aware of what’s owed to consumers or vendors. He said the decision was made by the Supervisory Board however, he declined to comment further.

Updated (June 30 – 7:11am) – We received the following email from Alexandre Azoulay, a co-founder of Wijet – including a press release dated for tomorrow July 1, 2018:

The Wijet Group (Luxembourg) is keeping its continental Europe operations going as usual. The UK subsidiary – one of many in the group –  is being shut down progressively because of the uncertainty caused by the Brexit. Wijet will roll out its new fleet in the next weeks and reposition its entire operations in the EU in view of Brexit.

Blackbushe, July 1st 2018 – Wijet Holding Luxembourg is announcing it is giving up its British Airline Operator Certificate, previously obtained through the Octobre 2016 acquisition of Blink UK limited . The operations of the group’s British subsidiaries are halted, as ground and air operations will be progressively transferred to Continental Europe- based partner operators.

This decision comes fifteen months after the acquisition of Blink UK, in which the Ogden family was a major shareholder. The company was found to never have been profitable, with an aging fleet of aircraft and a cost structure not fit to on demand air charter. Integration issues also triggered inefficiencies that could not be solved for. The doubts around the deadline of March 2019 from the EASA accelerated the decision to look for a solution to contionue operating flights within the European Union. Intra UK flights accounted for less that 10% of the group’s sales.

The Blink brand will disappear, and the Group will refocus its resources to the only Wijet brand, a landmark in the European business aviation landscape since 2010. Wijet was first to introduce a fixed price per flight hour in business aviation. It is also the exclusive partner of Air France for last mile connections to and from the Charles de Gaule hub.

Most recently, The Wijet group struck a deal with Honda Aircraft Corporation to introduce a new generation of aircrafts, the H420, which better matches the requirements of clients for on demand charter.

Updated (June 30 – 12:38 pm)

After a telephone conversation this morning, Wijet has provided us an additional statement from Jean Francois Hochenauer who is the Chief Operating Officer of Wijet:

“The UK market accounts for only 10% of our business, and with Brexit moving forward, it will be less significant. In terms of shutting our U.K. operations, it is like General Motors, they may shut one plant, but they are still continuing in business. Or it’s like a single Marriott hotel closing down, that doesn’t mean Marriott doesn’t exist anymore!

“We could have easily gotten another AOC in the EU, but we are moving from a full stack airline, with everything from operating aircraft and maintenance, to a model like Wheels Up, where they have their fleet of aircraft, but outsource all the operations to a partner, in their case GAMA Aviation. This is a much scalable and efficient operation. We plan on taking delivery of the HondaJet aircraft we have ordered. They will be flown by partner operators in the EU, which we will be announcing in the coming weeks. The aircraft will have the Wijet brand and will be operated by the name of the operator on the side, so they will be Wijet branded.”

Original article starts below:

Three separate sources have told Private Jet Card Comparisons that European on-demand private jet charter and jet card membership operator Wijet has informed its staff, including pilots, it is planning to wind down operations over the weekend, and it is understood the company may be placed into receivership as early as Monday. (Wijet has said that the wind-down will be for its UK operations per the above). A Wijet employee reached via telephone in Paris said the company is still operating flights and requested questions be directed via email, which have yet to be answered. Private Jet Card Comparisons has not been able to view any of the internal to staff emails.

AirChicago delays start of by-the-seat private jet flights until September

The private jet airline is hoping to offer Windy City residents a way to avoid the hassles of the commercial terminals at O’Hare and Midway Airports

 

AirChicago, which wants to make business travel easier and less timing consuming for the local market with daily return private jet flights to key business cities, had targeted launching flights by the end of June but has pushed back that the start date. “(We) haven’t inaugurated flights yet. (We’re) still working on accumulating a critical mass of cardmember depositors before we launch,” Stephen Wasko, president and COO of Air Chicago Holdings told us via email. 

What’s happening at Surf Air? A press release after midnight raises more questions than it answers (Updated)

private jet membership comes to Europe

Surf Air has switched the operator of its California flights for the second time in a year. It comes after two new route announcements that never took place and recently filed tax liens totaling nearly $2.5 million

 

Just over a year ago aviation industry veteran Jeff Potter was CEO of Surf Air, which at the time was seemingly shedding its training wheels and showing it could be a sustainable enterprise following a period of tumult when its founders left and then filed a $125 million lawsuit in 2015. Then came the acquisition of RISE, which was operating a similar concept in Texas. That is, you pay a monthly fee and somewhat like Netflix indulge as much as you would like, however, instead of movies, with Surf Air and RISE it is flights (see below), mainly short hops where you can save a lot of time by using private aviation terminals instead of the commercial ones. 

Surf Air is giving away five full-year memberships to celebrate its 5th anniversary

The first five people who recommend five new members will be celebrating the Netflix style private air service membership with a year of free travel

 

If you want a year of flying for free on a fleet of Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprops in California and Texas, get five of your friends, co-workers or enemies to join Surf Air and you could be getting a full year of membership fees gratis.

BREAKING NEWS: OneJet to acquire Ultimate Jet Charters

The two companies sell by-the-seat scheduled flights on private jets and corporate shuttles with Ultimate using FBOs

 

OneJet, which focuses on connecting medium-size markets, is expected tomorrow to announce the acquisition of Ultimate Jet Charters. Ultimate Jet Charters operates 30-seat Dornier and ERJ aircraft for corporate shuttle clients, as well as per-seat scheduled service on select routes under the Ultimate Air Shuttle brand.