Having just launched in August 2020, the premium on-demand charter provider has seen rapid growth. FXAIR ended the year having arranged more than 4,000 premium on-demand charter flights for more than 8,000 passengers to 600 destinations.
FXAIR is the newest member of the Directional Aviation family of companies, which also includes fractional jet provider Flexjet, jet card provider Sentient Jet and PrivateFly offering charter in Europe and around the world. 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.”
In 2020 both business and leisure travelers reduced their use of commercial airlines to minimize their risk of exposure to the coronavirus. FXAIR offers an alternative with a network of premium aircraft and a refined level of service. The planes include second generation Flexjet aircraft, maintained and flown by Flexjet, which are only available for charter through FXAIR.
Looking ahead to 2021
FXAIR expects the air travel market to remain extremely sensitive to the pandemic at the start of the new year. Accordingly, the company says 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. The FXAIR network also includes individually curated aircraft ranging in size from light cabin to ultra-long-range jets. Operators within the FXAIR network are carefully vetted to meet the charter industry’s highest standards of safety and quality.
Experienced Team in New York
Led by Slow, who previously 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.
FXAIR chose to locate its operations in Midtown Manhattan, among the nation’s largest concentration of private aviation travelers.