By Dana Givens
The travel industry has been severely impacted by the spread of COVID-19, causing new travel restrictions to go into effect. The airline industry has already reported millions in losses as executives learn to adapt to the new reality and how to keep their customers. In other areas of the sector, many companies have seen a surge in revenue like private jet companies. As wealthier travelers look for ways to travel safely for business and protect loved ones, many are looking at private jet charters. One black-owned company is recording numbers with a 300% increase in revenues as a result of the public health crisis.
Glenn Gonzales is the owner of Jet It, a business jet fractional ownership company, and is betting big on the new future of travel. The Houston-native got his start in aviation after working as a pilot instructor with an interest in learning more about planes and how they function. His experience eventually led him to work for Gulfstream, where his career took shape. “At the time, Gulfstream was the premier business jet company, and I would fly prospective customers on these demonstration flights around the world,” said Gonzales in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“While at Gulfstream, I completed my master’s in Aeronautical Sciences from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and subsequently an M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina. In 2016, we relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina, where I transitioned into HondaJet as a sales executive. While there, I recognized a void in the marketplace, and after two years there, I left in 2017 to launch Jet It and JetClub (our international company), along with my co-founder, Vishal Hiremath. We started with just the two of us and 2 employees and currently have an extremely diverse group of 58 team members.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Gonzales says he has seen a dramatic increase in new clients interested in private travel allowing him to invest $60 million to expand his company including his private charter company Jet Club amid the growing demand.
“We have seen our business grow 300% in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of this year. And while the private jet travel industry has not increased in total volume, Jet It has seen exponential interest in prospective customers actively seeking a solution to their travel needs,” he said.
“Our value proposition is based on having access to an entire private jet for only $1,600 per hour. Additionally, there are tax incentives of ownership and additional daily hours available for the usage, which creates an unmatched value. We are blessed that business is strong and we believe we will continue to set new records as the year proceeds.”
The innovative business model that allows clients to own a piece of a jet offering them a flexible schedule and lower flight costs has put the company on track to grow its North American fleet to double digits by the end of 2020. “We believe that the consumers will continue to seek additional forms of alternative travel that will allow them to protect them and their families from the potential effects of the virus. As a result, we believe this will heighten awareness around companies such as Jet It, further driving our growth,” says Gonzales.