By Mary Pauline Lowry
Photography by Paul Cordwell
For many ultra-affluent individuals, an average workday can involve three meetings in three different cities with just enough time to make it home to see family at night. Private jet ownership is what makes this lifestyle possible, and it saves the one thing that high net worth individuals have in the same amount as everyone else: time. But until recently, private jet owners had to procure fuel, insurance, maintenance, and staff training on their own in a fragmented market. This led to higher than necessary costs for private jet owners, and hours wasted wading through procurement possibilities. All that is now being changed by start-up firm AVIAÂ, a membership organization dedicated to bringing the power of group purchasing to individual private jet owners, corporate flights departments, and management companies.
AVIAÂ is the brainchild of aviation industry veteran Dustin Dryden and ultra-successful entrepreneur James Hall, who has experience forming GPOs in the healthcare sector. Hall found himself spending over $2 million a year on private jet travel for his various business ventures. It was an expense he could certainly afford, but he started to wonder if there might not be a more cost-effective way to travel in the most convenient manner possible.
Hall met with Dryden, the founder of Hangar8, which was sold to Gama Aviation in early 2015. The two men put their very experienced heads together to discuss possibilities for how to help private jet owners. They soon founded AVIAÂ, which allows private jet owners to finally unlock the power of group purchasing.
AVIAÂ lowers the cost of operating the asset of a private jet by bringing the commercial fleet “bulk purchase” concept into private aviation. AVIAÂ negotiates rates with suppliers based on volume. They take the hassle and hard work out of the procurement of fuel, crew training, aircraft insurance, maintenance, ground handling, data (wifi access), and operations. As a result, private jet owners save money—because they are able to purchase these things at a bulk rate—and time because they don’t have to sift through procurement options themselves. “There’s a membership fee to join,” said Matthew Smith, AVIAÂ’s Vice President of Business Development. “But members receive a return that’s up to 15 times the cost of their investment in membership.”
Smith, who has unparalleled expertise on both the broker and operator sides of the aviation business, also spent years working for casino behemoth Hakkasan, where he was charged with reducing spending on corporate aviation. He’s now turning his efficiency expertise to AVIAÂ to help members excel in their businesses and have time for their personal lives. “In the aviation industry, in terms of purchasing the aviation services needed to operate your own asset, the marketplace is extremely fragmented,” Smith explained. “We are here to help you procure more efficiently than you have previously, based on our volume. We work closely with our members, utilizing over 100 years of combined aviation experience. And we don’t just save money, we also offer a concierge service to provide the highest quality, individual attention.”
Once a private jet owner becomes a member, AVIAÂ’s customer success team travels on-site to the member’s location, studies what and how the new member is currently procuring, and then advises them on how to improve efficiency and dramatically lower costs. Gillian Hayes, AVIAÂ CEO said: “We have procurement and supply chain expertise. We professionalize procurement by analyzing where we can save members money and supporting our suppliers in finding and retaining their customers at lower costs.” For example, when a maintenance issue arises with an AVIAÂ member’s jet, the AVIAÂ customer success team can source that repair out to various maintenance providers. AVIAÂ can often bundle member maintenance and repair needs, taking in several jets for repair or maintenance at once, and thus driving costs down even further for private jet owners and reducing friction costs for preferred vendors.
AVIAÂ doesn’t just save members time and money. It also works to improve the community and quality across their entire network to streamline the experience of private jet ownership and use. “We check in with members to understand why and where they are buying, and to find out why they prefer certain airports over others,” Hayes said. “We then educate our preferred partners, so they can improve their service. And we educate other AVIAÂ members, so they can have the smoothest experience possible.” While AVIAÂ uses aggregated spend data that helps suppliers in their planning, they are incredibly sensitive to the privacy and confidentiality of their members. “We only share data in a de-identified way—we are dedicated to protecting the privacy of our members,” Hayes explained.
Group purchasing is such an effective tool that it only makes sense for ultra high net worth individuals to join forces in order to access its cost and time saving potential in the realm of private jet ownership. Thanks to AVIAÂ, it’s an idea whose moment has finally come.
To find out more about AVIAÂ, you can check them out online at: www.aviaa.com or contact their membership team at [email protected]
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