Private Jet Company Volato achieved total sales of over $103 million in 2022, its first full year of operations, a 627% increase over its 2021 results. The Hondajet operator now offers a full suite of private aviation programs which have been rolled out over the last year. SherpaReport spoke to CEO and co-founder Matt Liotta.
A hundred million dollars of revenue in your first complete year is impressive for any business. So, we were curious to find out what Matt Liotta attributed this success to.
Recognizing that the whole of private aviation has seen record demand over the last couple of years Matt did note that “we timed it very well.” The pandemic drove many new flyers to try private aviation and all sectors of the industry from owning a plane, to owning a fractional share, to jet cards and memberships and on-demand charter, all saw incredible growth. By launching the company in 2021, Volato was able to ride this wave of demand.
But more importantly Matt stressed the Volato customer service philosophy. “We started as a customer service focused organization, in fact our first employee was in customer service” he stated. Adding, “the industry as a whole was having some customer service headwinds, driven by the record demand.”
He was also very proud of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 87 that he said customers are giving the company. This is based on customer surveys that Volato does after every flight. But he humbly offered “that’s not to say we don’t make mistakes, but we are very transparent” and stressed that its all about the way they handle and communicate those mistakes so as not to fall down on customer service.
At launch the company was focused on the HondaJet as their core platform and have now grown their fleet to 17 of these light jets, with plans to expand to 40 of them based on current orders. They have been very innovative in the programs that they have offered for access to the HondaJet. The key offering is fractional ownership which provides a unique revenue sharing model to share owners which we haven’t seen from any other fractional providers.
“On the fractional side we have incentivized everyone in the right way, with unlimited flying and revenue share,” says Matt Liotta.
In the middle of last year they launched a card program called the Stretch Jet Card. This has novel “Stretch Credits”, which are bonus minutes that you can earn as a cardholder if you are willing to be flexible on your flights timing or location. These credit minutes can then be used for flights on the HondaJets.
The company completed an acquisition of a Texas based aircraft management company Gulf Coast Aviation earlier in 2022, and provides private charter flights on both the managed fleet and the HondaJets.
Overall Matt says the mix of flight hours is currently about 60% jet shares and 40% cards and charter, with the average flight on the HondaJets coming out at about one and a half hours.
Hiring qualified pilots has been an ongoing task for all the major operators and Volato is no different. But Matt Liotta attributed the success in hiring over a 100 pilots to the compensation, and just as importantly the culture and lifestyle. They are very transparent on pay scales with qualified “pilots in command” (PIC) earning $150,000 in their first year, plus a bonus if they are already type rated in the HondaJet and have 3,000 hours of flight experience.
The company was originally predicting revenue of around $70m for 2022, so certainly a very good 1st full year. “The growth is a good testament to what we’re up to” Matt Liotta told SherpaReport and highlighted that they are still seeing growth in fractional shares and jet cards although the charter market is starting to become more competitive as the rapid growth has levelled off.
In a press release about the results Matt Liotta, commented “We look forward to continued growth, driven by fleet growth and utilization, increased market awareness, and the continued rollout of an exciting product roadmap.”