Volato ‘puts its financials out there’
One of the biggest attractions of light jets is their speed. A HondaJet Elite II flies more than 25% faster than most turboprops. This fits well with Matt Liotta, the CEO and founder of Volato, who is in a hurry.
He incorporated, the fractional jet and charter company, in January 2021. Two months later he ordered HondaJets. Volato took delivery of its first aircraft in August 2021. Last week the company went public on the NYSE American after less than 2.5 years of flying. He wanted to list the company to help Volato grow faster.
“We believe that this transaction provides not only the capital to accelerate our fleet growth and strategy, but also a level of transparency and institutional support that should make our product even more attractive to new fractional owners and private fliers,” said Liotta.
Volato has a fleet of 23 HondaJets and has 24 firm orders. This includes four Gulfstream G280s coming next year. It had sales of $96m in 2022 – helped by new fractional aircraft sales.
The company has three types of customers: fractional owners, jet card members and ad hoc charter customers. Volato has an innovative offering for its fractional owners – they can use the aircraft as much as they want, with special owner rates, or share in revenue from charter.
The company has bases in southern California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas and two in Florida. It acquired Gulf Star Aviation in March 2022 to establish itself in Houston and plans to copy this in other markets. Its next targets are Colorado, New York, Chicago, northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
After listing Volato announced a new partnership with Fly Alliance to give owners access to larger aircraft. It also launched a new partner benefits programme with companies including Spa company Canyon Ranch, concierge firm Quintessentially, Goss RV, Lacure Villas, online poker PokerGO; spirits supplier ReserveBar; Hertz and others.
Volato follows Wheels Up and Jet Ai. The next business aviation operator set to be listed is flyExclusive, which has also moved its focus from charter to fractional. Its SPAC has delayed its shareholder meeting from December 5th to December 19th.
Liotta stresses that SPACs have moved on from the first wave. He always planned to float the company (it is the second company he has taken from launch to listing) and believes that transparency is good for business aviation.
At CJI Miami this year, Liotta stressed this. During a panel he commented on an answer made by George Mattson, CEO, Wheels Up the day before.
“He made a joke about having your financials exposed for everybody to look and I think that is a really good point,” said Liotta. “It is easy to beat up on people who have their financials transparently out there. The question is what about other people who don’t have theirs out there?”
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