As already reported, building a long-term (and profitable) fractional aircraft ownership company is anything but a sure thing. In spite of this, one company called PlaneSense has continued to thrive. In fact, the company just hit a very important milestone by taking delivery of their 49th PC-12. (Is anyone else noticing a correlation between the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft and promising/successful businesses?) Founded in 1995 and launched in 1996, PlaneSense hass clearly doing some very good things for both their customers and shareholders.
Company founder and CEO George Antoniadis made the big announcement last month at PlaneSense headquarters in Portsmith, N.H. With aircraft replacements and retirements through the years, the company's current fleet has 30 of the single-engine turboprops, each with an average age of five years. PlaneSense now has roughly 300 owners and aircraft usage in July was up by 20 percent over July of last year. The company's fleet have now made 200K+ flights since it began operations, making it the largest civilian operator of the PC-12. PlaneSense is clearly firing on all cylinders.
Antoniadis was quoted as saying:
"We continue to differentiate ourselves through our focus on minute attention to service and providing what we believe is the most responsible and cost-effective solution for our owners’ travel requirements. Nobody owns a whole airplane, but we do have people who own in excess of 25 percent. We have our plan, of course, but we can also adjust it if we need to".PlaneSense has certain program features that clearly improve the fractional ownership business model to include flexible hourly programs, low capital renewals, assistance in re-marketing and surprisingly "fair deal" repurchase options. The hourly occupied rate has gone from $736 from $751, and that rate now includes standard catering and, in most cases, landing fees. Not too shabby.
In addition to amassing an on-time departure performance of 99.5 percent, PlaneSense relies on charter for less than 1 percent of its trip obligations to owners. This percentage is considerably less than the industry norm. The average passenger load is three, but many flights go completely full with all six passenger seats occupied. (The PC-12’s maximum certified seating capacity of nine passengers.) As the PlanseSense fleet continues to grow, the outlook for the company will no-doubt continue to be favorable.