Anthony Tivnan has over twenty years’ experience in private aviation and co-founded Magellan Jets in 2008. Through his leadership, Magellan Jets has seen significant growth and more recently has navigated the challenges of covid in the private aviation world. SherpaReport talked to Anthony about his commitment to all market segments in the face of Covid, and he also explains the importance in maintaining a flexible mindset during this unprecedented time.
SherpaReport: From your mouth to our ears - how has Covid affected your company, how much growth have you seen in the past few years? Can you provide some stats?
Mr. Tivnan: I am glad you asked that, as we - meaning my teams and I - had to create different methods of pivot that we were not expecting. At the beginning of Covid - about 2020, there was a major drop-off in business, and we began to think it would be permanent: there was a drastic - 90% - decline in revenue and flight activity. But then, almost overnight, and as quickly as it declined, there was a massive wave of new business, and we again had to pivot. So, we went from the first pivot, fearing demise and loss, to an immediate opposite pivot where there was a huge demand for charters and jet cards. And, this new market segment had not been conditioned to market fluctuation, and had to be educated on many levels. They came to understand why they chose private flying - an important idea with the Covid undertone. The essence of the lesson was that private flying was now more of a necessity than a luxury.
SherpaReport: Other jet card companies have halted new card sales, but Magellan has kept its card sales open. Can you explain the rationale behind this decision? It seems noble yet somewhat dangerous, and Magellan-esque, and reflective, in terms of the ethics of the great explorer your company was named after.
Mr. Tivnan: As regards your first question, we kept the cards so we could educate. We wanted our teams to educate those who bought them to understand that early promises of immediate travel on their jets could not be instantly accomplished, but could be within a more flexible time period. It is good that 90-95% of extant jet card members, and those who were interested in purchasing, understood these jet card issues. The team also explained the more customer-centric aspects of the company culture, and how they existed to create secure travel for the customer, no matter what, no matter how long it took. I credit our team for winning the 2021 Robb Best of Best Award for best private aviation travel company.
SherpaReport: Could you describe the challenges you face in dealing with the Covid pandemic - especially as regards your Magellan Jets Preferred Network. The challenge, it would seem, is how this Preferred Network is working - is Covid having an effect on private flight crews and support staff availability? How is this handled??
Mr. Tivnan: The Network is working well, but as regards international travel, that has been the most complex, in finding aircraft flight crews. But we are doing the best possible work, and this is 24/7. Of course, we still have supply chain issues, and right now our extreme growth is more of a blessing than a curse. We concentrate on two goals during this perfect storm of growth: the well-being of our employees, and the well-being of our clients. As regards the latter, we set realistic expectations, instead of those they had when they initially made the call. They appreciate our honesty, as we keep them apprised each step of the way. These are our major differentiators, by the way.
SherpaReport: We are curious about how Magellan jet card owners, as you set realistic expectations during this Pandemic, reacts to being told they can’t have the jet when they expected it.
Mr. Tivnan: Sometimes they react with anger, but our team understands this, walks them through it, joins with them, and finally reminds them about our Magellan company culture, whose main goal is always member safety. Honesty, even in the face of member irritation, is always the best policy. And finally, they understand we are creating private and secure travel, whose goal is peace of mind. They know this is so necessary, yet so rare, in these uncertain times.