The founder of private jet charter company VistaJet reveals why a recession will be good for his business

Bombardier Global 6000 VistaJet

With the specter of the next recession looming, various industries, businesses, and individuals are preparing for potential impacts.
It might seem obvious that the private aviation industry could suffer during the next recession, but Thomas Flohr, the founder and chairman of the global private-jet charter company VistaJet, thinks a recession could actually benefit his business.
Flohr says he’s now focused on the possibility of attracting customers who currently own their own jets and are looking to downsize their travel expenses without giving up the luxury of private-jet travel.
In an interview with Business Insider, Flohr explained the reasons behind his optimism.
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There are a handful of industries that enjoy the dubious distinction of being viewed as recession-proof.

Health care will always be a necessity regardless of how the market is performing. Consumer staples like groceries and household items — and even candy — typically weather the ebbs and flows of the broader economy.

One industry seemingly on the opposite end of that spectrum: private aviation.

When the 2008 recession struck, corporate jet travel fell worldwide — the UK noted a 20% drop, for instance. It was a particularly abrupt decline because private jet travel boomed in the pre-recession years, pulling in high net-worth individuals and busy executives whose time is often better spent with a client, poring over deals, or visiting a supplier, rather than slogging through the bowels of a commercial airport.

Supporting the boom were nascent online charter-booking services, making it easier and more convenient then ever to charter a plane, rather than flying one you or your employer owned.

More than 10 years later, parts of the industry have recovered, and while plane-makers are delivering fewer jets than they once were, interest is on an upswing, the charter and fractional ownership markets have been thriving, and access to private aviation has increased through online and app-based marketplaces.

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However, late August saw significant volatility in the markets, and there are lingering concerns that the next recession is imminent.

Thomas Flohr is the founder and chairman — and de facto chief executive — of VistaJet, a global private aviation company founded in 2004. The company offers long- and short-haul chartered flights to subscription members.

Flohr bought the on-demand charter flight company XOJet in 2018, and the online flight-booking platform JetSmarter in early 2019, merging them with VistaJet under the holding company Vista Global.

VistaJet offers long-range private jet charters that subscription members can book, while XO allows instant booking for nonmembers, and booking shared flights, or requesting to fill an empty seat on an existing shared charter. JetSmarter does not own aircraft or operate flights, but its backend technology helped Vista Global develop XO, a unified online marketplace for the company.

Vista Global’s investors have expressed concerns about how a recession might impact the company, but its bond prices fell drastically when commodity prices bottomed out in …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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