Success with managed aircraft / floating fleet model
Latest Global Express takes charter fleet to 16
Planet 9, the Van Nuys, CA. based private charter operator and aircraft management company, celebrated its third anniversary on June 22nd by taking the keys to its latest ultra-long range business jet. Global Express BD-700 (N9103J), a managed aircraft, is ready for charter on Planet 9’s Part 135 AOC, from the UK’s Southampton Airport.
With a second Gulfstream GIV-SP coming online later this month, it will have added five managed, charter aircraft during the first half of 2021.
“It has been a very interesting year, full of operational challenges, but the global pandemic gave us the chance to shine and demonstrate that when time matters – business aviation can deliver,” said Planet 9 Cofounder and Director of Business Development, Matt Walter. “Our people are our biggest asset. We retained all 75 of them during the disruptions,” he said.
“The majority have been with us from the outset, so turning three is quite a milestone,” Matt added. “Everyone has worked incredibly hard since the pandemic hit in March 2020. We performed countless repatriation flights; flew medical equipment/PPE and, in a race against the clock, just before the US border closed in the first lockdown, we delivered a mother-to-be to her surrogate as the birth date was brought forward. That was an especially rewarding flight.”
Matt Walter and his cofounder, Director of Operations, James Seagrim, attribute the company’s success to growth in its aircraft management business these past 24 months. “Owners have come to us when they haven’t had such a good experience before, or, because of the pandemic, they’re flying less and want to put their aircraft up for charter,” said James.
Planet 9, which marks its anniversary with an enhanced website and logo (by aviation brand agency Design Inc.) has built its niche in the ultra-long-range market.
“We have an impressive list of regular clientele, who know we can respond quickly when they want to make nine-hour plus flights,” said Matt.
Planet 9’s Falcon 7X, Bombardier Global Express/Global 6000 and Gulfstream Series aircraft are all capable of landing at smaller airports, eliminating the need for connecting flights. The floating aircraft model P9 operates saves clients’ money on positioning. “In any given day we will have a jet available for charter on either side of the Atlantic,” said Matt.
Partnerships built along its journey have also benefited the business. Among them is the management and staff at its Van Nuys Airport, CA Headqaurters and FBO partner Castle and Cooke Aviation.
Van Nuys is leading the way in the US with sustainable aviation fuel provision and Planet 9 is increasingly offering it to environmentally- conscious clients. It also works with Flight Terrapass for carbon offset initiatives.
Back to 10% of pre pandemic levels
Planet 9 has seen its business return to within 10% of pre-pandemic levels. US, Caribbean travel is especially strong. Bahamas and Mexico have been the biggest hotspots, as popular summer destinations in their own right, but also serving as convenient gateways for Europeans. (After spending 14 days there they can cross US borders.)
“With France and Spain opening up to US travellers without requiring quarantine on arrival, we expect good demand from US to Europe. Now we’re hoping other countries will loosen their entry requirements for those who’ve been fully vaccinated,” said Matt Walter.
This will benefit a relatively new sector of clientele – the film industry.
“Film studios are travelling again to film new productions in Europe. There is a desire to fly actors and crew safely and securely on optimum itineraries,” he added.
Planet 9’s latest Global Express aircraft features a generous cabin layout seating up to 13 passengers for daytime flying and five beds, sleeping six in night-time configuration. With a range of 5,830 nm / 10,797 nm, up to 12 hours’ flying time, it can fly direct from Los Angeles to London or Tokyo. It has a generous galley for food and drink preparation, two bathrooms and offers inflight Gogo Wireless Internet.
About Planet Nine
Planet 9 is headquartered at the iconic Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, California and also maintains a presence in New York, London and Lisbon. It flies corporations, family offices and UHNWs from the West and East Coasts of the USA to destinations including Europe, Russia and the Middle East. It is led by a highly experienced team of aviation professionals and its business plan utilizes a ‘floating fleet’ model. Planet 9’s aircraft all feature sparklingly refurbished cabin interiors, including high-speed WiFi.
Its managed aircraft division comprises four Global Express, one Gulfstream G550, one Gulfstream G650, three Gulfstream GV, two Gulfstream GIV-SP, three Falcon 7X. Two Falcon 7Xs are owned.
Planet 9 holds ARGUS Platinum safety certification, closely followed by the endorsement of IS-BAO Stage 1 (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), duly satisfying IBAC it is consistently delivering high operational standards in all aspects of its business. Previously, it obtained Wyvern Wingman status, under its onsite flight leader program.
Kirti Odedra, Director of Sales
Tel: +44 (0) 207 048 2292
Alison Chambers/Liz Danner
Tel +44 (0) 1420 560094