Henry Kim On The Future of Air Travel in The Post Covid World

See original link from Authority Magazine



Everyone assumes that private aviation is about “glitz and glamour,” but like any intense sales opportunity, it can be a roller coaster that’s full of highs and lows. For me, it’s about staying grounded and humble and putting challenges into perspective. At the end of the day it starts with my faith and ends with family. God provides me with a compass of “how” to approach my life’s work and my family provides me with the “why.”

As part of our series about “The Future Of Air Travel”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Henry Kim.

Henry Kim is the Chief Commercial Officer for Jet It. With over 25 years of aviation experience in both the commercial and private sector, he has established himself as an aviation veteran and prior to joining Jet It, was the Executive Vice President of Sales for Wheels Up, Senior Vice President of Sales at Netjets as well as Director of Sales for Flexjet.



Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My journey into the Private Aviation sector began 18 years ago, while ironically working in a Corporate Sales environment in the Commercial Sector for United Airlines. I was selected for a special assignment where my role was to develop a database of potential corporate clients that would be good candidates for United’s upstart venture into private aviation. Unfortunately that venture never materialized, but the seed had been planted, which subsequently led to me applying to every open sales position within the private aviation sector that I could find. I wound up starting my career as a Sales Director for Bombardier’s Skyjet Charter Team which launched my career and journey into private aviation.


Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Being in private aviation has provided so many unique and fascinating opportunities throughout my career and it would difficult to share just one chapter of my journey. Whether it was being helicoptered into the Indy 500, playing in Johnny Millers ProAm, private parties at The Masters, test driving Super Cars for Rob Reports Car of the Year or behind the scenes access at the SuperBowl, my favorite memories stem from the intimate interactions and engagement with some of the most influential titans of industry.


Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A number of years ago, I was invited to participate in a weekend partnership opportunity with an exclusive Golf Country Club called the Greenbrier. The culmination of our golf weekend ended with an intimate dinner that was hosted by Sir Nick Faldo. As a fan of the game, I was fully aware that Sir Nick Faldo was an accomplished professional golfer that won a number of tournaments and majors, but was unaware of his personal background. Needless to say, we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and Sir Nick shared a couple of “behind the scenes” stories of his favorite victories. Our group was fascinated and I wanted to know “what made him tick” and after a couple more intense stories, it was self-evident that he prided himself on his intense dedication to the game and a remarkable work ethic, in which I mistakenly replied “so you and Vijay have a similar practice approach to the game.” Cue the awkward and intense silence…followed by him dropping his knife on his plate. Can’t say what came out if his mouth next, but needless to say, I was verbally reprimanded in a manner that still has me sucking my thumb in a fetal position. Those that were in attendance find it hilarious to this day, but I can assure you that I’ve learned to better understand “my audience” and to avoid making personal comparisons.


Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Everyone assumes that private aviation is about “glitz and glamour,” but like any intense sales opportunity, it can be a roller coaster that’s full of highs and lows. For me, it’s about staying grounded and humble and putting challenges into perspective. At the end of the day it starts with my faith and ends with family. God provides me with a compass of “how” to approach my life’s work and my family provides me with the “why.”


None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Couldn’t agree more. As I mentioned at the beginning, my journey in private aviation began at Bombardier Skyjet and was fortunate and blessed to start my career with a remarkable boss and mentor named Stephanie Chung. Steph grew up in a military family and she ran a tight ship. She was tough but fair and gave everyone a voice. She was a tremendous motivator and continuously found creative incentives to push the sales team. As a young motivated rookie, I found success early and won Sales Director of the year and felt I knew what I needed to do in order to be successful, but I absolutely despised having to submit weekly call sheets. She provided me that latitude to express my grips and challenged me with a stretch sales goal incentive each month that would nullify my need to submit my weekly reports. Needless to say, I continued to reach my sales goal each month and was relieved to no longer have to do submit weekly call sheets, but in the end, it was Steph that accomplished her goal for me and the rest of the sales team.


Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

As you can imagine, being on the front line in private aviation provides ample opportunity to surround and expose yourself to a host of humanitarian and philanthropic causes. Here at Jet It we have recently partnered up with Be The Match in order to provide private air travel service for donors and life-saving donations for bone marrow transplants at a moments notice. Once the donor’s cells are collected, timely transportation is critical and we are honored to do what we can, whenever we can.


Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the Aviation and Air Travel industries?

At Jet It, we’ve taken one of the most innovative, reliable and technologically advanced private jets, the HondaJet and combined it with our “days based” fractional ownership model to deliver a reliable and cost effective solution to our owner base. Our value proposition is based on the simplicity, flexibility and transparency of our model since it allows our owners to seize the day, since the entire aircraft is theirs for the day and our owners simply pay $1,600 per occupied hour.


Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing these innovations?

For as long as I have been in private aviation sector, the charter marketplace as a whole has struggled with being able to provide at least one or more of the following “Four C’s”:


• Consistency — what plane am I getting / how old is it? / How experienced is my crew

• Certainty — what are my booking guarantees?

• Clarity — is my “all in” price clear and concise?

• Cost Effectiveness — is this the best price?


At Jet It, we have addressed ALL of the above pain points with our Closed Fleet of Honda Jets!


How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

By providing our owners with transparency, simplicity, and flexibility under a “days based” model in this current COVID environment, not only mitigates risk and exposure, but it will inevitably force continued innovation and healthy competition for the benefit of the consumer.


Are there exciting new technologies that are coming out in the next few years that will improve the Air Travel experience? We’d love to learn about what you have heard.

There are a number of innovative initiatives surrounding eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) that are quite interesting that I personally believe will have a dramatic impact on aerospace mobility and will usher in a new era of “air taxi” and delivery options. Bell, Boeing and Uber are just a few of names that have made substantial investments in eVTOL technology and initial prototypes are very promising.


As you know, the Pandemic changed the world as we know it. For the benefit of our readers, can you help spell out a few examples of how the Pandemic has specifically impacted Air Travel?

As depicted in the air traffic comparison chart below, the Pandemic initially had an indiscriminate impact on the entire global air travel sector, but it was the business aviation sector that has emerged and rebounded significantly due to the inherent ability to mitigate risk and exposure.



As such, the near term prognosis for the commercial sector will still have it’s challenges and there will be less frequency and fewer options via the traditional hub & spoke system.

With Federal Regulatory Guidelines that require masks to be worn aboard all commercial flights, it is also foreseeable that greater risk mitigation protocols, such as vaccination confirmation, may also be a requirement in the near future.


Can you share five examples of how the Air Travel experience might change over the next few years to address the new realities brought by the Pandemic? If you can, please give an example for each.


1. Touchless Check In process via Smart Phone

2. Touchless Health Screening at airports

3. Seating configuration changes and or removable seat barriers

4. Increased deep cleaning and sanitization procedures

5. Removal of food and beverage options


You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Would love to see more initiatives that would scale Mass Mentorship initiatives from our executive leaders down to our youth. There are so many folks that are struggling to get ahead and find their way and being able to “pay it forward” can enrich the lives of so many if we could simply find a way to scale and execute on our outreach.