Old Feb 13, 20, 5:03 am
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 56
Question Advice on private aviation for a new business?

I'm helping a friend think through the operations for a travel business he's been in the process of developing. The business would be seasonal, operating 10 weeks a year. (10 consecutive weeks.) For simplicity, let's say he anticipates having 96 members, i.e. customers, split evenly between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. (So 32 members in each city.) Further details...

• Each week, the members would be flying to a different destination. Half the members would be departing their home city on Thursday evening and returning to their home city on Sunday evening. The other half would be departing their home city on Friday evening and returning to their home city on Monday evening.

• Let's use San Francisco as an example and say the destination one week is Flagstaff. 16 of the members in San Francisco would fly to Flagstaff on Thursday evening and return to San Francisco on Saturday evening. The other 16 members in San Francisco would fly to Flagstaff on Friday evening and return to San Francisco on Monday evening.

• A key nuance is that the destination each week wouldn't be decided on until four or five days before departure.

• The one-way flight distance to destinations would range from about 150 nautical miles to about 1,000 nautical miles. Destination airports would likely be a mix of regional and international airports.

My friend was originally thinking of having members fly commercial, but I'm wondering whether it might make more sense for him - from an operational and customer experience standpoint, and perhaps even from a financial standpoint - to negotiate a deal with a charter jet service. I don't have a lot of expertise in private aviation, so I'd be grateful for any advice folks have on how they would approach this. Some initial questions I have...

1) Assuming that in each city the business would have 16 members needing to fly out on Thursday evening and then another 16 members needing to fly out on Friday evening, what aircraft would make the most sense? The groups of course could be split up if it makes sense to use multiple smaller aircrafts.

2) Roughly speaking, what would be the all-in cost per roundtrip? Obviously, this would depend in part on mileage, but is there a good way to estimate this? And would the business be able to negotiate favorable pricing since it would be committing to a substantial number of flights over the course of the 10 weeks? (Assuming one aircraft per 16 members, that would be 4 one-way flights in each of the three cities over each of the 10 weeks, making for 120 one-way flights in total.)

3) If the business were to move forward with this approach, are there any companies in particular that it should explore working with? Are there companies that specialize in this kind of thing? Are there consultants, brokers, or other specialists who work on setting up these kind of partnerships? Open to any recommendations.

I'd be grateful for any guidance folks have. BTW, I realize this business probably sounds a little quirky. I promise it makes sense in the context of what my friend is doing; I'm just not at leisure to reveal the specifics, though I'm happy to provide any further information that would be helpful with regards to my inquiry.
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