FXAIR looks back at hugely successful debut year and looks ahead to 2021 with optimism
New York, 6 January 2021 – FXAIR, the premium on-demand charter provider and the newest member of the Directional Aviation family of companies, has had tremendous success since its launch in August 2020. FXAIR will end the year having arranged more than 4,000 premium on-demand charter flights for more than 8,000 passengers to 600 destinations. In addition, the company has doubled its 2020 goal for sales of its innovative Aviator program.
With the launch of FXAIR, Directional Aviation’s North American on-demand charter segment grew its revenue by 55% in 2020 when compared to the year prior.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated change in a number of industries, including private aviation. While there was growing demand for premium on-demand charter service, travelers wanting to avoid exposure to the coronavirus have sought out private air as an alternative to crowded commercial airliners and terminals,” said Gregg Slow, FXAIR’s President. “From a timing standpoint, FXAIR was perfectly positioned to meet this demand and raise the bar for charter service within the US.”
With the launch of FXAIR in August, the industry finally had a charter provider to meet the growing need for premium, on-demand services that had accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic. With both business and leisure travelers turning from commercial airlines to minimize their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, FXAIR offered an alternative: Private jet travel with the flexibility of charter, access to a more consistent network of premium aircraft and a higher, more refined level of service.
The Aviator program: A step up
In September, FXAIR introduced its Aviator program, offering clients preferred access to second-generation fractional aircraft even on peak travel days. The Aviator program delivers a flying experience unmatched by other charter providers that also includes complimentary catering and domestic Wi-Fi; shortened call-out and cancellation times; streamlined bookings and payments; and access to dedicated 24/7 FXAIR travel advisors to simplify each flight. Clients flying on second-generation fractional aircraft additionally benefit from complimentary de-icing and international Wi-Fi.
Experienced leadership team
Led by Slow, who earlier held senior positions at other private jet travel firms including XOJET, NetJets and PrivateFly, Directional’s international on-demand charter provider, FXAIR has brought on an experienced team to lead the firm’s growing staff.
The role of Senior Vice President of Sales was filled by Robert Shaplen, who previously held the same position at PrivateFly and before that served as an award-winning advisor at XOJET. Michael Hall, who over the past decade has held senior sales roles for a variety of Directional Aviation companies, transitioned from sales to serve as Senior Vice President of Operations.
In addition to filling these key leadership roles, FXAIR grew its team to 45 people in 2020 and plans to increase its staff by another 10–15% in early 2021.
Headquartered in New York City, the heart of the nation’s largest private aviation market
Deciding it was critical to establish a physical, client-facing brand, FXAIR chose to locate its operations in Midtown Manhattan, among the nation’s largest concentration of private aviation travellers. The renowned 605 Third Avenue address that serves as its base is conveniently located near Grand Central Terminal, the United Nations and Manhattan’s Midtown and Midtown South business districts.
The new location is not only FXAIR’s headquarters but also its central national sales and marketing center, accessible to the thousands of current and prospective clients who live and work in New York. In addition, clients participating in the FXAIR Aviator program can arrange accommodations at FXAIR headquarters for a conference room or a temporary worksite while in the city.
In November, as a gesture of support to its new community, FXAIR made a $20,000 donation to the Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants (ROAR) New York City Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The fund benefits local restaurant workers, the backbone of an industry hit especially hard by the pandemic.
Looking ahead to 2021
During the distribution phase of the new COVID-19 vaccine, the air travel market will remain extremely sensitive to the pandemic to start the new year. Accordingly, travel will remain mostly focused on leisure and private functions, as families and friends fly together in personal “bubbles” while businesspeople continue to avoid travel altogether.
However, during the second and third quarters of 2021, FXAIR expects to see demand for business travel take off. There already is strong anecdotal evidence of businesspeople having “Zoom fatigue,” and businesses have been relying on relationships fostered before the pandemic. Building new relationships will require face-to-face interaction.
“We are very confident business travel in all forms will have a strong comeback once vaccines are distributed and coronavirus risks diminish,” said Slow. “And when that happens, the thousands of people who experienced private jet charter during the pandemic will likely continue to utilize it into the future. Once someone enjoys the efficiency, comfort and safety of a premium, on-demand charter program, they rarely want to go back.”
FXAIR’s network of premium aircraft includes the Bombardier Challenger 300 and the Global Express, second-generation fractional aircraft that are available for charter only through FXAIR. The FXAIR network also includes individually curated aircraft ranging in size from light cabin to ultra-long-range. Operators within the FXAIR network are carefully vetted to meet the charter industry’s highest standards of safety and quality.