Who's Number One? Maybe Everybody

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 11:15am

Which bizav provider leads the industry? Maybe it’s Jet Edge International, whose website announces that it is “the leading large-cabin aircraft-management and charter company in the U.S.” Then again, perhaps it’s Magellan Jets, “the leader in domestic and international private jet travel.” On the other hand, there’s NetJets, “the world leader in private aviation,” and Le Bas International, which is “leading the air charter industry.” And let’s not forget Talon Air, “the leading provider of private jet and private aircraft services,” and Executive Jet Management, “the leader in…private jet charter services.”

The fact is, this industry has so many leaders, you have to wonder whether anybody’s left to follow. ElJet, for example, is “an industry leader” and PrivatAir is “a leading international business aviation group.” Then there’s Tag Aviation, which “leads the world in private and business aviation services.” Priester Aviation is “a global leader in private aviation” and Air Charter Service is “a global leader in providing aircraft charter solutions” but VistaJet is “the leading global business aviation company” and, in fact, “the only truly global business aviation company,” though I’m not sure where that leaves Chapman-Freeborn’s “unparalleled global coverage.” Even fractional-provider Avantair was calling itself “the industry leader”—right up until it went bankrupt.

With almost everybody leading, you might want to rely on a more tangible measure of success when evaluating bizav providers. You could, for example, focus on growth rate, in which case there’s Vistajet, “the world’s fastest-growing private aviation company.” But apparently nobody told XOJet, which calls itself “the fastest-growing aviation company in history.” If you’re impressed by size, you could opt for Pentastar or Fair Wind Air Charter, both of which claim to be “one of the largest” suppliers of private aviation services. But why settle for “one of the largest” when you can fly with the largest? That might be Blue Star Jets, “the largest broker of private jets for hire”—unless perhaps it’s Sentient Jet, “the world’s largest provider of private jet travel.”    

Maybe you’d be better off judging companies by years of experience. In that case, the standout could be Clay Lacy Aviation, which calls itself “the most experienced operator of private jets in the world,” ostensibly because it was established in 1968. Or maybe not, because Pentastar proclaims that it was founded in 1964. Then again, there’s Air Partner, which opened its doors in 1961 and states flatly that it has “been in business longer than anyone else.” But what about Landmark Aviation, with “over 60 years’ experience”? Or Priester Aviation, “with a proud heritage dating back to 1945”?

Something tells me this industry needs a fact checker.

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Quote/Unquote

““CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work.” —David Yermack, a New York University finance professor, whose recently released study shows a correlation between when CEOs take their private jets on vacation and movements in their companies’ stock price ”

-David Yermack