Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Braintree, Massachusetts: Jet brokerage's business climbs back from Recession-era lows


In 2009, Sentient Jet’s prospects looked bleak.

Less than two years after its merger with Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based private jet company JetDirect Aviation, in the face of internal financial challenges and external turmoil in the global marketplace, Sentient was sold off to Macquarie Global Opportunity Partners and the remaining company was forced to file for bankruptcy.

“Private aviation was sort of kicked around as a political term for a year or two,” said Sentient Jet President Andrew Collins.

Today, the 14-year-old Braintree-based charter jet brokerage is seeing a positive upswing in its business, after being acquired by the private equity firm Directional Aviation Capital in June 2012.

Between May and August of this year, Sentient sold 11,000 hours of flight time. Its customers flew 10 percent more hours compared to the same period in 2012, according to the company.

It has hired four new employees and plans to hire eight more, adding to its current staff of 125, according to Collins.

“One of the things we experienced was that even though there was a financial crisis, there was a core group of people that will always fly privately. Either they need it from a business perspective, or for the security,” Collins said.

A key element of Sentient’s recovery has been its 25-hour flight card, which allows customers to purchase 25 hours of flight time to use whenever they need it.

Sentient offers flight card buyers four sizes of private jets to charter, ranging from a six-passenger to a twelve-passenger plane. Two age classes are offered – 1999 and earlier or 2000 and later.

Jet Cards start at $123,100 and can go up to $347,350 for 25 hours of flight time.

According to Collins, the average Sentient customer will purchase a card valued at about $130,000. He said about 85 percent of customers are from the U.S. Over the summer, many used their flight cards for vacation getaways to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the Hamptons, he said.

Original article:  http://www.patriotledger.com

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