By Andy Warfield
When two former Honda Aircraft Co. (NYSE: HMC) sales executives created a company in 2018 to offer fractional ownership of HondaJets to clients in North America, they envisioned a model that provides global access to boutique light jet travel to businesses and individuals.
This week, the co-founders of Greensboro-based Jet It, Glenn Gonzales and Vishal Hiremath, took two more steps in that direction. Jet it took delivery of two new HondaJets and will base its first JetClub plane in Europe and Southeast Asia.
In only its first full calendar year of operations, Jet It has grown into the largest operator of HondaJets in North America, and is on pace to grow its fleet to double digits by the end of 2021. The company, which began in 2018 with three employees including the two founders, has grown to 59. With its new Jet It and JetClub planes, its fleet of HondaJets numbers eight.
In June, the company announced plans to order 10 new HondaJets for Jet It and JetClub, representing an investment of more than $60 million. At a base price of about $5.25 million, a fully optioned HondaJet Elite can cost up to $6 million.
Shares of a Jet It HondaJet can be as small as one-tenth with increments of one-sixth, one-fifth, one-fourth and one-third available. The maximum share of a Jet It plane is one-half. Different from most fractional operators, Jet It uses days rather than hours in its accounting. One-half share equals 130 days of use.
“Well before launching Jet It here in the U.S., Vishal and I envisioned creating a global private aviation company,” Gonzales told Triad Business Journal. “The receipt of another Jet It aircraft and our first JetClub HondaJet is the continued manifestation of our initial vision. Together, Jet It and JetClub provide our owners and members with the only global experience in private aviation.”
With the delivery of the first HondaJet this week, JetClub will offer access in Europe and Asia to Jet It owners traveling abroad. Likewise, seamless private jet access will be available to JetClub members traveling to North America. JetClub will serve Southeast Asia and India as a membership-based private travel service while offering a fractional ownership service in Europe. The hybrid model will allow Individuals and businesses to fly within their regions with access to a worldwide fleet when they travel elsewhere.
JetClub expects to operate throughout Southeast Asia and Europe by mid-2021.
“We are taking the Triad to the world, and bringing the world to the Triad,” Hiremath told TBJ. “When we started Jet It, our vision was to be a regionally focused global company. With Jet It’s success in North America, the launch of JetClub is the evolution of that strategy. We are preparing to bring the benefits of our service to customers in countries around the world using another Triad product, the HondaJet.”
HondaJets are assembled at Honda Aircraft’s headquarters and manufacturing facility at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Aviators themselves, Gonzales and Hiremath set up Jet It offices in a small office suite in downtown Greensboro, and within its first year moved into larger space there. Employees, including pilots, are located nationwide — and now worldwide — at each aircraft’s base of operations.
In addition to aircraft access, Jet It and JetClub fractional owners and members can take advantage of complementary concierge services for lodging, dining, ground transportation, entertainment and more.
With delivery of the two new planes, Honda Aircraft now has 157 HondaJets in operation around the world, and the two former employees now rank among its best customers.
“It is very exciting to see additional HondaJets delivered to Jet It. We are proud that they continue to grow their HondaJet fleet to meet their strong demand,” Honda Aircraft President and CEO told TBJ. “Their expansion into Europe and Asia with their new venture, JetClub, clearly demonstrates the strength of their business model and shows international demand for a new kind of charter service made possible by the very efficient HondaJet. As JetClub continues to grow, we look forward to further expanding the international HondaJet fleet.”