Mark Hardman: “For the next three years the lack of airline connectivity will drive the private aviation business.” Picture: RIGHTJET
Offering aircraft charter brokerage, sales, leasing, consultancy and management supervision services from its Dubai International Airport base, RightJet is led by CEO Mark Hardman.
He’s a familiar face in the industry, having worked with a number of private jet operations regionally over the last 10 years, including Qatar Executive, ExecuJet, Flying Group and Dubai South. Jill Stockbridge reports.
It seems a challenging time to launch a new business aviation company, but Hardman is convinced that RightJet has the right offering.
“We have already formed several strategic partnerships and this, in part, will give us a distinct advantage as the world comes out of Covid,” he said.
“We are already starting to see strong interest in long multi-leg charter flights when the world starts its journey to what I would call ‘Covid normal’, rather than ‘post-Covid’. There is also significant interest in purchasing pre-owned private jets from new-to-the-industry clients.
“What I have always found interesting is that only 10% of people who have the means to fly private are doing so. Given the lack of airline connectivity for the next two-to-three years and the need for social distancing, private aviation will certainly bounce back quickly.
“RightJet has exceptionally strong relationships across the Middle East and Asia and we believe these regions will lead the way in the global recovery.”
In practical terms, Hardman assures potential clients that they can expect super clean aircraft, crew to wear PPE, and sanitation at every touch-point. He added: “The fact that the number of touch-points in an FBO is more than 10 times less than in a commercial terminal also helps.”
The company ethos is based on providing quality air charter and aviation services at remarkable prices, with a focus on environmental concerns. Hardman said: “RightJet is an exceptionally environmentally conscious company. We will include carbon off-set options with every flight and will promote the use of newer more fuel-efficient aircraft.
“As far as I am aware, RightJet is the first charter broker to actively promote the removal of single-use plastics on-board our charter flights. We will also instruct our partner operators to use recyclable items where possible. We will be requesting that catering items are sourced from local farmers, where possible, as standard. Given there are no additional costs involved, it really makes great sense to all parties.”
Another focus will be in supporting aircraft operators in reducing positioning. Hardman said: “It is our belief that the next generation of flyers will want to use modern, fuel-efficient aircraft that respect the environment and provide sustainable transport solutions. It is with this in mind that we specialist in empty legs and point-to-point flying. This increases utilisation and reduces aircraft positioning and, in turn, cost.
“This really is a win-win-win scenario, as it increases operator yields, reduces client costs and lessens the impact on the environment. For some major private jet operators, reducing positioning by just 1%, can save $500,000 a year and this is an area where RightJet can offer its consultancy services.”
RightJet offers a full online payment platform and an online enquiry service. However, Hardman believes that the benefits of the boutique service are best delivered in person. He said: “There are often cost-reduction options available and it is important these are discussed early on. An example of one of these options may be in utilising an alternative London airport, such as Biggin Hill, where the client may make a significant saving on the trip. In turn, if the operator was planning on repositioning then there is an environmental saving too.”
Dubai Airports saw a major increase in private aviation in the last six months of 2020, and Hardman believes that this will continue and underwrite the success of the new company.
“My personal view is that for the next three years the lack of airline connectivity will drive the private aviation business. After this, the question is will the new entrants go back to flying commercial?
Openly speaking, I believe some people will return to the airlines, at least in part. However, many will appreciate the time saving, personal space and the freedom our industry provides. The future of private aviation is, in my opinion, (and that of RightJet's investors) super bright.”
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