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Glenn Gonzales and Vishal Hiremath first met whilst working in the sales support department of Gulfstream Aerospace. At the time, Gonzales was a demonstration captain, whilst Hiremath was a business development manager looking after Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
Having become good friends, the pair found themselves working together several years later for Honda Aircraft, where Gonzales says they saw an opportunity to apply a jet to an untapped market.
The pair then got together with an external investor to create a new type of company, which Gonzales calls a ‘hybrid fractional operator.’
Much as with a traditional fractional ownership program, clients buy a percentage share of an aircraft and, depending on the share of the aircraft they buy, are allocated a guaranteed number of flying days per year on the aircraft.
But Gonzales says that Jet It differs from other programs, partly because of the low acquisition cost of their program, but also thanks to the changing business aviation market and recent technology advances.
Initially Jet It will use a small fleet of HondaJet business jets and is planning to introduce between eight and 16 aircraft over the course of the next 12 months.
Despite the pair’s having been together at Honda, Gonzales is keen to point out that apart from being a customer, Jet It has no business relationship with Honda Aircraft and that it chose the HondaJet Elite because it is the most-suitable aircraft.
“The combination of the HondaJet Elite’s speed, cabin space and efficiency are what make it an ideal platform, but we have not ruled out the use of other aircraft in the light jet space.” Said Gonzales.
Initially Jet It will use a small fleet of HondaJet business jets and has already received a very high demand for their service of HondaJet shares.
To get to this stage, the company the company has an external investor. Although the company has chosen to protect that investor’s identity, Gonzales says that there is capital available for expansion and the company should be very much a cash-flow business.
Initially, the company will focus on the eastern half of the US and has opened offices in New York and Florida to support its operations. Operations will begin as the aircraft are delivered, which Gonzales says will be before the end of the year.
Gonzales does not see the range of the HondaJet Elite becoming a limiting factor to people joining. Although he gives examples of the HondaJet being faster on flights than turboprops, he does not necessarily see operators that utilise turboprops being Jet It’s main competitors.
“First and foremost, we have to offer a higher level of service. And then we have to make sure that we are providing a need to the marketplace that they are interested in. Although there are a number of amazing offerings, we’ve recognized a very large segment of the market that is underserviced. That said, our focus is to ensure we consistently exceed our owner’s expectations with the product and service what we said we could provide.” Said Gonzales.
Whilst the HondaJet has world speed records from Teterboro and Boston to South Florida, it does not have the range to make it from east to west. For the time being, Gonzales says that the majority of the missions that the Jet It fleet will fly will be up and down the east coast.
“We are focused on the HondaJet Elite, which has been very much in demand. In 12 months’ time from now, we anticipate that market demand will help us meet our stretch goal of airplanes in our fleet.” Said Gonzales.