Corporate Jet Investor Power List 2015

Kenn Ricci, Directional Aviaiton Capital

Kenn Ricci, Chairman of Flexjet

Picking out the best sports stars, films or songs is always fun. Over the next two weeks we will be counting down the 10 individuals that we think will change the business jet market in 2015.

We have deliberately left out OEMs. This is not because they are unimportant – OEMs have the power to reshape the market – but they would have dominated the list.

The list also favours start-ups over established companies. This is especially true in finance; large lenders like Bank of America, CIT, PNC, RBS Asset Finance and the private banks are very important, but we feel that new start-ups have the potential to impact the market more. In the last five years we have seen the market survive the loss of large individual lenders, and banks have less room to suddenly reshape the market than other less regulated financial institutions.

Obviously picking out individuals is unfair. Everyone on the list is only there because of their colleagues and in many cases their co-founders. But it makes the list more industry.

While business aviation is a bigger industry than most people realise, the connections between the people on this list is fascinating. Nearly everyone has a venture or relationship with another of the top 10.

We have not told any of the people on this list about their place (all the quotes are from unrelated interviews) and we will be releasing one name each day. We hope you enjoy reading it and – of course – would love to hear who you think we should have included.

10. Kirsten Bartok: the innovator

Kirsten Bartok’s CV is impressive. She has worked as a banker (Goldman Sachs), an operator (XOJET), a manufacturer (Hawker Beechcraft) and as an entrepreneur (Airfinance).

[Read more]

9. Wang Fuhou: Mr China

No other finance company dominates its market like China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing. Wang Fuhou recently replaced Johhny Lau as the new vice president of aviation at Minsheng Financial Leasing and faces several challenges.

[Read more]

8. Nick Sandler: the young gun

Nick Sandler is not as well known as his former Guggenheim colleagues, but in 2015, Sandler – who is still in his thirties – will have a far higher profile.

[Read more]

7. Patrick Hansen: the empire builder

No other private jet operator has approached opportunities for acquisition with as much fervour as Patrick Hansen’s Luxaviation.

[Read more]

6. Claude Franco & Robert Gates: global ambitions

As odd as it may seem, the most covered business aviation start-up from the past six months was actually an aircraft financier: Global Jet Capital.

[Read more]

5. Robert Molsbergen: the global manager

Last year was an exciting year for NetJets, with growth for Executive Jet Management in Europe and the US and the launch of NetJets China.

[Read more]

4. Marwan Khalek: the strategist

Hangar8 is the ninth sizeable company that Marwan Khalek’s Gama Aviation has acquired. Now he has access to the equity markets, this is really just the start.

[Read more]

3. Kenny Dichter: the democratiser

When Corporate Jet Investor first met Kenny Dichter in 2013, he told us that his new venture Wheels Up would become “private aviation’s number one brand in the next five to six years.”

[Read more]

2. Thomas Flohr: the maverick

Thomas Flohr’s VistaJet achieved a lot in 2014. It expanded into the US and took delivery of 24 Bombardier jets. But it did not surprise the market.

[Read more]

1. Kenn Ricci: the investor

Since making his first aviation acquisition when he was 25, Ricci and his company Directional Aviation Capital have bought (and occasionally) sold companies across the whole of the industry.

[Read more]

Have your say…

Did we miss somebody out? Please let us know by e-mailing: [email protected]

If Twitter is more of your thing, you can also fire a 140-character missive to: @CorpJetInvestor