Travel enthusiasts are adamant to book a flight for fear of contracting the coronavirus even though with the opening of borders, airlines have beefed up their safety protocols to ensure their passengers are safe. Glenn Gonzales, owner of Jet It, put his bets on new modes of travel to set up his private jet company which now serves wealthier travelers who opt to commute via private jet charters amid the pandemic.
Some businesses cannot operate or function without travel, and private jets have become a necessity to their businesses. This Black-owned private jet company has seen a 300% boom in its revenues amid the pandemic. This comes as the travel industry, on a whole, has reportedly lost millions of dollars while it re-strategizes to adapt to the new methods of managing the industry and revamping it.
Gonzales has had a long career in aviation before venturing into running his own company. His career began in the United States Airforce (USAF) as a T-38A Instructor Pilot. His career pinnacled in the military having been an F-15C Flight Commander and 4-Ship Flight Lead.
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Gonzales was also a part of Operation Enduring Freedom while he was an active member of the U.S. Embassy Kyrgyz Republic Country Team. He currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF Reserves.
He always had a knack for airplanes. He attended the United States Air Force Academy for his undergraduate degree earning a B.S. degree in Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Human Factors Engineering.
He then switched jobs after gathering some experience to work at Gulfstream Aerospace Company, a premier business jet company as an International Demonstration Captain and it was at this point that his career gained ground.
The Houston native realized it was time to acquire more knowledge to better himself while working with Gulfstream. He attained a master’s in Aeronautical Sciences from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Gonzales then went on to earn an M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina.
In 2016 while working as Honda Aircraft Company’s sales manager for the Northeast USA, Gonzales saw a need gap in the jet industry and after two years, he conceived the idea of starting his own business.
Jet It and its international subsidiary Jet Club was launched in 2017, just a year after Gonzales worked first-hand marketing jets to potential customers. He had learned the ropes of the industry and started Jet It with his co-founder Vishal Hiremath.
Starting with just four members, including himself and co-founder Vishal Hiremath, his company now has 58 team members from extremely diverse backgrounds.
There is a growing demand for private jet services since the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the world. As always stated by research companies, the pandemic has worked in the favor of some people as well as plummeted other businesses.
On what accounts for the huge growth in revenue during times like these, Gonzales said to CNBC, “We all want to protect ourselves, protect our families and if we can live to 120 years. Unfortunately, with the coronavirus and this pandemic, it is hard for us all to stay safe.
“None of us understand where it is coming from or why and one of the ways to reduce the odds if you have to travel, when you have to be there, the entrepreneurs, the business leaders to keep everyone employed and working so hard to do so, private travel is the way to go and that accounts for our growth with Jet It.”
Jet It operates an innovative business model catered to luxury travelers. Clients can own a piece of a jet. Now, a jet does not come cheap and the demand is high in these, so Jet It offers a flexible payment schedule and gives customers lower flight costs.
“You are buying a piece of the aircraft in relation to our business in exchange for that we provide you the aircraft for a number of days. The greatness about this is you can fly everywhere and anywhere that you want within the normal crew days.
“So a lot of our owners are utilizing the planes to run errands, given that you can minimize your exposure points to the COVID-19 pandemic. The optimum distance a passenger goes is about an hour and half to two hours per our research and they usually fly with two or three people. It costs an average of $1,600 an hour with Jet It,” Gonzales said.
Everyone wants to keep their families safe because there is still no cure for the virus and life as we know it cannot be on hold forever. Jet It is therefore strategically placed to offer safer travel options for consumers even though the target clientele is not the average Joe.
However, the prices of other private jet services are five times higher than what the owners of Jet It pay. Gonzales wishes to extend the services to everyone but the cost of running an airplane does not come cheap either.