Kansas based Airshare is the fourth largest fractional provider in North America, with a fleet of light and super-midsize jets. It also provides aircraft management, jet charter and jet cards. SherpaReport spoke to CEO John Owen about recent growth in the programs, current demand and future plans.
“Everybody you talk to in the (private aviation) industry is experiencing the exact same thing, busy, busy, busy,” said John, to set the scene for the conversation.
“We’ve been busier than expected over the last few months,” he continued, but also added “We’ve really levelled off from a customer stand point, just to make sure we take care of everybody that is in our programs.”
Airshare has had Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 light jets in its day based fractional fleet for a number of years. And its primary service areas are the Central US, Upper Midwest and great lakes region. In 2021 they placed orders for three super midsize Challenger 350 jets, with options for an additional 17 aircraft.
The first 3 Challengers arrived at the end of 2021. “We turned on the fractional program in December and estimated it would take us a year to sell them, but we sold all the shares within one and a half months,” said John. Airshare has 3 more Challengers arriving later in 2022, and already have some deposits for shares in these new planes. “It’s been an extremely popular fleet add,” confirmed John.
He notes that the customer base for the Challengers is still the same as the Phenoms, coming from the Central US and Upper Midwest, but the Challengers fly a lot more to the coasts, “out to California, down to Florida,” and on international flights.
“One of the big reasons we wanted to add this fleet type was to expand to the East coast,” said John so the overall goal is to add several more Challengers and then open up a customer base in the South East and higher up the East Coast.
While the newer focus has been on the Challengers, there are a few Phenom 300 shares available.
Embark Jet Cards
The Airshare jet cards are also day-based programs providing ten days of travel and unlimited hours on the Phenoms. Like some other card providers, the Embark card is currently sold out. “We’re not taking any new customers on the card. Current customers can renew their card, and we’ll do that for the foreseeable future,” said John.
Airshare has had an aircraft management group for several years and over the last few years this has grown considerably. The total Airshare fleet of both the managed planes and the fractional jets is now over 50 aircraft. “It used to be quite a few light jets and even turboprops and now we are managing Globals, Gulfstreams, several super-mids, Challengers and Legacies,” stated John.
“We had a lot of customers during covid who started flying more and it started making more sense for them to own their own aircraft,” he notes and then added “we helped them find an aircraft that made sense for them, and migrate them out of the fractional program and into whole aircraft under our aircraft management division. It’s a pretty smooth transition under Airshare, if somebody wants to do that, because we do everything under one umbrella.“
John also noted that sometimes it goes the other way, if an owner hasn’t been on their aircraft for a long time, and is using it less, they may decide a fractional program makes more sense. Airshare then helps them dispose of their aircraft and bring them into the fractional model.
With the full suite of whole ownership management, fractional jets, cards and charter, John Owen says “we can do anything anybody wants.”