The general aviation market is always changing, but there are always a few players that make the biggest difference. While choosing these individuals was not easy with many talented people and friends in this industry, we are confident we’ll see these names making news. Here are four people we think will shape the market in 2015:
- Of all the people who may shape the business jet market this coming year, Thomas Flohr may make the biggest impact–especially with expansion into the United States. His company VistaJet has acquired 24 Bombardier Globals and Challengers and phased out its fleet of Learjets. One of the biggest reasons for his success is VistaJets’ commitment to customer service and experience. Flohr has taken luxury to a new level with his uniquely decorated fleet of aircraft that continues to impress the industry.
- A year ago there was a tiny operator out of Luxembourg called Luxaviation. Its owner Patrick Hansen managed to become the third largest operator in Europe through a series of strategic acquisitions. Starting with the purchase of French company Unijet, then with the purchase of Fairjets in Germany and the Belgium firm Abelag, he has become a force in private aviation. His latest acquisition of London Executive Aviation has grown Luxaviation’s aircraft count to 90. He now has 470 people on his payroll. He shows no signs of stopping, with plans to acquire more firms in Asia and Europe in 2015.
- NetJets’ play in the Chinese market has been the project of Chief Operating Officer Robert Molsbergen. While the verdict is still out on the timing and volume of private aviation adoption in China, NetJets is poised to continue its fractional ownership and management prowess in this frontier as well. While spearheading Asian operations for the company, Molsbergen also oversaw the growth in both Europe and the US.
- In 2013 Kenny Dichter made the claim that his company Wheels Up would become “private aviation’s number one brand in the next five to six years.” So far, he is making good on that promise and is about a quarter of the way to meeting his goals. In the last year, his company hit the 1,000-member mark and left the doubters shaking their heads. Wheels Up aircraft can be found on FBO ramps any time there is a major sporting or entertainment event, and the celebrity tweets have reinvigorated the popularity of flying on turboprops.
We’re hoping for great things from these and other business leaders who have great vision for private aviation.