Flying high

By
From the December 2013 issue of Columbus CEO
  • Photo by Ryan M.L. Young

Aboard the new carbon-composite Learjet 85, Flexjet president Deanne White explained the virtues of the new jet of which Flexjet is the exclusive launch customer.

“The maintenance is a lot easier because it’s one full piece. That makes it easier to maintain. It’s also light weight so it’s more fuel efficient. There are a lot of benefits to for us,” says White, who has been with the company for eight years and was appointed president in October, 2012.

The 18-year-old Flexjet manages a fleet of private jets available for purchase through a variety of fractional, charter and on-demand ownership packages. Flexjet was acquired from Bombardier by private investment firm Directional Aviation Partners in September; the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013.

Following the acquisition, Flexjet placed the largest private aviation order in history for up to 245 Bombardier aircraft, including 60 Learjet 85s valued at approximately $1.2 billion. The total value of Flexjet’s Bombardier order will be $5.6 billion if all options of the deal are exercised.

White says Flexjet had “90% growth in new business” the first half of 2013 compared to 2012. The company is hiring, which White says indicates the health of the company. Private aviation in general is making a post-recession comeback among businesses clients, she says.

“A lot of our customers and owners…move out of this commercial space and find this a very, very good business tool. In fact 60% of the use of our product is for business purposes,” says White. “We have many, many companies, C-level executives (and) young entrepreneurial types that use this.”