VistaJet takes on the US with help from Jet Aviation and Wheels Up

CJI Team

VistaJet will place 12 Global business jets on Jet Aviation’s air operator’s certificate.
VistaJet Wheels Up
Left to right: Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of VistaJet; Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO of Wheels Up; and Don Haloburdo, vice president and general manager of Jet Aviation Flight Services.

VistaJet revealed today that starting from next year, Jet Aviation will operate and manage 12 new Bombardier Global business jets in the US on the Swiss company’s behalf.

VistaJet has also teamed up with Wheels Up, which was was only launched this August by Marquis Jet founder Kenny Dichter, to offer VistaJet’s Flight Solutions Programme on all 12 of the aircraft to US customers.


Not a gambling man

In November 2012, Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of VistaJet, told Corporate Jet Investor that the US was a “very significant market place” and today he reiterated his position that “we have seen a very strong demand from US corporations.”

The sheer weight of VistaJet’s financial commitment – the value of the 12 aircraft totals $600 million – and the fact that by law, no more than 25 per cent of a US airline may be owned by a foreign company, could be said to represent something of a gamble, but this is something that Flohr strongly denies.

“I would distance as far as I can from the word “gamble,” said Flohr. “We have teamed up with the two best businesses in this industry and we have made some very, very calculated decisions.


Record-breaking order

The new aircraft are part of VistaJet’s record-breaking $3.1 billion order for 56 Global jets plus options placed in November 2012 and Bombardier is expected to deliver one aircraft per month starting from January 2014.

Service on the first three jets is scheduled to begin in March 2014. The first aircraft will be based at Jet Aviation’s facility at Teterboro, New Jersey but additional aircraft could be located at any other of the company’s US bases, depending on demand and seasonal traffic.

Flohr confirmed that the aircraft will be used purely for domestic flights within in the US and said the longest journeys were likely to be Seattle to Miami or San Diego to Boston.


Warm words for Wheels Up

Although Wheels Up is still very new to the market, this is not the first time Flohr has worked with Kenny Dichter, who he spoke very warmly of.

“I feel like I have teamed up with the old Marquis Jet,” he said. “It is my personal belief that Kenny has the most experience in sales in the industry. He has sold $4.5 billion of guaranteed availability over the last ten years and has built the most amazing sales and management team.”


Nobu and further growth

Flohr confirmed that VistaJet is enjoying a good year so far and is on track to grow by a further 20-25 per cent by the end of 2013.

He also revealed to Corporate Jet Investor that the company had recently teamed up with Nobu Restaurants and will soon offer their Michelin starred Asian cuisine on VistaJet flights leaving London, New York, Los Angeles and Dubai.

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