The young jet card and fractional operator plans to add the super-mid Gulfstream G280 to its growing fleet of HondaJets. First deliveries for the G280 will be in 2024.
Volato started their HondaJet fractional program in 2021 and added a jet card program on the HondaJet earlier this year. They currently have 11 of these light jets but are planning to add 5 more before the end of this year. Plus, they have additional planes expected to be delivered in 2023.
In addition, they also manage a fleet of aircraft for third party owners. The planes fly all over the USA from the six bases, consisting of Atlanta, Baltimore, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, San Diego and St. Augustine.
The Gulfstream G280 is a super-midsize jet for missions of up to eight hours and capable of carrying up to ten passengers. As an example, with four passengers the plane has a range of about 3,600nm. The aircraft has a full galley and the large and spacious baggage compartment measures 120 cubic feet of usable space and can carry over 1,000 lbs, all accessible from the cabin.
Volato will be the first company to fractionalize the Gulfstream G280, preselling fractions in multiples of eighths, and will take delivery of its first G280 aircraft in early 2024. For the HondaJet the smallest share is 1/16th, but Volato is using the larger 1/8th for the G280, with an exception if someone also has a share in the HondaJet then they can buy 1/16th in the Gulfstream.
Matt Liotta, Co-Founder and CEO of Volato, told SherpaReport that fractional share buyers can make a “position commitment” eg pre-reserve a share, for a $75,000 refundable deposit.
Volato are also working on obtaining some G280’s in 2023, so that potential future share owners can start flying on them next year. The G280 fractional owners can also fly on the fleet of HondaJets and so can pick the most appropriate sized aircraft for their mission requirements.
"When we launched Volato, our strategy was to initially target the largest segment of the market that was not being directly addressed: short haul flights with only a few passengers," said Matt Liotta. "From listening to our customers' needs and recognizing that our innovative business model is not just limited to light jets, we are excited to expand our model to larger aircraft so that HondaJet owners can fly their edge case missions that are farther or with more passengers, while welcoming a new category of luxury private jet customer to Volato's superior experience."
Stretch Jet Card Update
The company launched its Stretch Jet Card earlier this year, saying that it will offer bonus time for holders who can be flexible with their schedules.
Matt Liotta noted they sold ten cards within the first week, but then stopped selling in order to assess the impact on operations, and to make sure the system works. Once they were comfortable, they sold another 10 and watched the impact. “We are being conservative and want to watch the model,” Matt Liotta told SherpaReport, “It’s also 100% refundable, so folks can back out at anytime.”
Pilots & Staff
In addition to growing its aircraft fleet, the company has also been hiring and now has over 160 employees to support all aspects of the flights. They have been busy hiring pilots and recently announced that first year captains on the HondaJet will be paid $150,000 a year and $170,000 in the second year, plus they are offering a signing bonus of $20,000 for type rated Captains, so they can effectively make $170,000 in their 1st year.
Most of the Volato staff are at one of the six base locations, but Matt noted they have staff at some of the popular destination airports that are not bases. These service staff members greet passengers who are arriving and departing, they watch flights and make sure aircraft are stocked with passenger requests and ready for flights. They also get know the people at local FBO’s to help ensure all aspects of travel flows smoothly. The extra service staff coverage areas include around Tampa, FL, and Atlanta, GA.
Between the fractional program that has a unique revenue share component for owners, and a jet card that offers “Stretch Credits”, Volato are certainly trying new approaches. “We like being different” said Matt Liotta.