Volato launches aircraft management program

Atlanta-based split-jet company Volato launched its aircraft management program after merging with Gulf Coast Aviation (GCA), a Houston-based aircraft management company it purchased in March.

Volato’s executive vice president of business development, Tom Chapman, said closing the acquisition and launching the management division was a “significant milestone” for the company’s growth. While many companies try to reduce overhead by reducing overlapping staff in mergers and acquisitions, Chapman said he was especially pleased that Volato retained all GCA employees during the transition. This will help the startup as it seeks to leverage GCA’s 25 years of aircraft management experience.

Now, through the new Volato Aircraft Management Services brand, Volato has strategically gained access to a larger fleet, opening the door to customers in the broader charter market.

Like other well-known management programs, Volato’s offering will allow private aircraft owners to partner with the company to manage its aircraft through a bespoke agreement covering all aspects of ownership, including crew, payroll, maintenance, hangar accommodation and reservations. Even amid a slower pace of aircraft purchases compared to 2020 and 2021, Volato hopes to tap into new aircraft owners who don’t intend to use their equipment all the time, in order to be able to offer on-demand services to other customers. The benefit to owners comes from the residual income through the fees they will earn from Volato.

Indeed, Volato can also charter owners’ aircraft through GCA’s Part 135 operational certificate to generate revenue and offset costs. Volato says it will launch its HondaJet-focused management program and select large cabin aircraft including Gulfstreams and Beechcraft King Airs. Recently, Volato CEO Matt Liotta announced that his company would offer first-year HondaJet captains $150,000 as part of a recent pay raise and provide pilots with stock options to share the company growth.

HondaJet: a market favourite?

Since its launch in September 2021, Volato has aimed to conquer the HondaJet charter market by accelerating rapidly. In January, it announced it had ordered 15 HondaJets to add to its fleet through 2024 (to bring its total ownership to 22 HondaJets) and said it would expand operations nationwide. Volato now has locations in San Diego, CA; Houston, TX; Fort Lauderdale and St. Augustine, Florida; and Baltimore, Maryland. It also has IS-BAO Stage 2 and ARGUS Platinum safety ratings and has an accident-free history. The company says it now plans to handle HondaJets from anywhere in the United States

According to figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), in December 2021, Honda Aircraft Company claimed that with 200 total deliveries, the HA420 series aircraft was the most delivered in its class five years in a row. However, it does not distinguish how many of those jets went to North American customers, individual owners, or charter companies. However, one company that uses the HondaJet fleet for its business model – which Volato will have to compete with – is Jet It, which is growing rapidly. As of January 2022, the fractional company Jet It was the largest HondaJet operator with 23 aircraft. He will likely be looking to stay ahead as Volato rounds out his fleet through the ownership and management program.

Acquisition pays off for Volato

Regarding the management program, Volato says members will have access to a concierge team to manage personal travel and access to a range of aircraft for different missions, including the HondaJet fleet, financial savings through economies of scale and streamlined, timely reporting. The acquisition of GCA has undoubtedly helped. In a statement, Clinton Holmes, president of AMS of Volato and former president of GCA, said: “In the four months since the closing of the acquisition, we have increased our fleet by 40%. He attributes this to Volato’s business model and the team’s experience. Volato’s split program focuses on missions for up to four passengers in a fleet of HondaJet Elite aircraft and uniquely offers flexible flight times and revenue sharing.

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