Jet OUT’s business model brings nonstop efficiency to aircraft co-ownership and the charter industry
MKE-based operator has fleet of Citation CJ4 Gen2 twin jet and TBM 900 series turboprops.
By Justin Marchand
Jet OUT, based at MKE (Gen Mitchell, Milwaukee WI), is expanding access to corporate aviation for a larger segment of the traveling public. The company does so by lowering costs for aircraft co-ownership through an innovative program that brings about greater efficiency than traditional fractional ownership.
The operator has found a growing niche, and is capitalizing on structural changes that are disrupting the charter market. And harnessing nearly 10 years of experience of running a busy corporate flight department, its leadership team continues to add aircraft and hire more pilots, and has a multi-year expansion plan to scale into a national operator.
Jet OUT has operated Daher TBMs since 2015. It currently has a TBM 960, 2 TBM 940s, and a 910 model. It also operates a Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen2, with 2 more scheduled for delivery in March 2023. Plans also call for at least one more aircraft to be added before the end of 2022.
“By offering a total cost of ownership that rivals the airlines, we’re opening up private aviation to customers who previously have not used business aircraft because they believed it was beyond what they could afford,” explains Jet OUT Dir of Sales and Marketing Matt Wild.
Although similar to a traditional fractional ownership program, Jet OUT’s aircraft are not operated under Part 91K. Instead, Jet OUT sells direct ownership interests in each aircraft, starting at 1/16 increments.
Each aircraft is conformed to Jet OUT’s Part 135 charter certificate. The operator then executes a contract with the co-owners, allowing them to fly on their aircraft – or another similar aircraft in the fleet – for the same cost structure.
Direct costs like fuel are passed through at no markup, and a flat hourly fee is assessed to cover aircraft maintenance. Indirect costs like pilots and insurance are covered by a flat fee paid to Jet OUT every 4 weeks.
“Jet OUT’s tagline is ‘Nonstop Efficiency,’ and that is our promise to our customers,” Wild says. “There are 3 key areas where we’re able to deliver this efficiency. First, the aircraft shares are sold to customers who live in the city where the airplane and crew are based.
Second, we allocate usage limits by the travel day, not by the hour. And third, we have incentivized our customers to return the aircraft back to base as quickly as possible – in most cases that same day. This allows our pilots to be home most nights with their families, and our aircraft are back where our maintenance and cleaning teams have easy access.”
Jet OUT CEO Joseph Crivello adds, “Compared to our national competitors, we’re about 66% more efficient overall, and we pass those savings along to our customers. In some cases, we can go head to head against last-minute airline economy tickets.”
The company also capitalizes on the attitude change of the traveling public. “Our customers are fed up with the scheduled air carriers, and they’re ready to embrace alternatives,” says Crivello. “We fly new aircraft with 2-pilot crews.
We have made huge investments in safety, offering the very best training to our highly experienced pilots. And we’re able to deliver those advantages at a price point that is lower than that of the competition because our business is structured differently.”
Corporate flight dept roots
Jet OUT’s inception dates back to 2015, when Crivello, a commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings, designed a corporate flight department for a national commercial real estate company.
“As the commercial real estate company was growing beyond driving distance, the company realized that aviation would have to become a core competence,” he says.
The corporate flight department operated Cirrus SR22 and Diamond DA42-VI Twin Star aircraft before settling on TBMs to aid in this expansion. The flight department’s success turned into a separate business in 2018. It merged with a Part 135 single-pilot-in-command operation, which, after a manual rewrite and several key hires and certificate upgrades, became the operation that Jet OUT is today.
“At the commercial real estate business, we were operating stage lengths ranging from 300 to as much as 600 or 700 miles, with 2 or 3 passengers and potentially multiple cities visited in one day,” Crivello recalls.
“We found that the TBM’s performance capabilities – the ability to climb straight to FL310 at maximum takeoff weight and operate out of short runways in small airports – worked really well for what that company was trying to accomplish.”
Director of Operations Kodye Shier’s experience includes flying for a large corporate flight department and regional air carriers. He joined Jet OUT in April 2020, and helped the company upgrade to its current full Part 135 standard certificate. He has logged more than 6000 flight hours.
“After working for a large corporate flight department, I wanted to see what the Part 121 world could offer,” Shier relates. “It was a great learning opportunity which allowed me to really see that I enjoyed cockpit standardization.
It was always nice to go to work and know that I didn’t have to guess how the first officer (FO) was going to fly the airplane, because our standard operating procedures (SOPs) were so well defined.”
After joining Jet OUT, Shier got to work on establishing SOPs for the 2-pilot TBM operations. “The biggest challenge with the TBM is that it is a single-pilot certified aircraft,” he explains.
“However, we needed to define a role for a 2-pilot crew because we operate all of our flights with 2 pilots. We needed clearly defined roles for captains, FOs, pilot flying, and pilot monitoring, especially in the complex airspace in which we operate.”
Shier says the company has already had several revisions to its SOPs and checklists, thanks to its SMS and ASAP programs. Crivello adds that ASAP, an FAA initiative launched to encourage air carrier pilots to report safety issues without fear of punitive consequences, has been a productive program for Jet OUT, and it has contributed positively to the company’s safety culture. “It’s built us into a more professionalized operation,” says Crivello.
Flying for Jet OUT
Jet OUT flies to and from small, medium, and large airports – from TEB (Teterboro NJ) to TEX (Telluride CO) – and within all airspace classifications. Last year, the company completed flights to 245 different airports, with each aircraft averaging approximately 800 flight hours.
“Our pilots seem to enjoy flying for Jet OUT because it brings variety into their duty day,” comments Crivello. “They’re not just flying to the same airport every week – they’re engaging their full range of aeronautical decision-making skills on a regular basis.”
Jet OUT currently employs 24 pilots – 5 of them in management roles. In regard to hiring qualifications, Shier emphasizes that, first and foremost, Jet OUT looks for culture. “We need pilots and individuals who believe in our SOPs and our company model of professionalism,” he says. “We need to make sure that they’re disciplined.”
Jet OUT offers a different lifestyle for its pilots than they’d get working for airlines or at other charter companies. “The fact that they start and end their trips at our home base is one of our biggest selling points,” says Shier.
“Our pilots are not on call 24/7. If they don’t receive a flight assignment by 6 pm the night prior, they’re released from duty the following day.”
Shier continues, “We ask our pilots to be available 5 days a week on days that are scheduled in advance. It turns out that, on average, they’re flying on about 3 of those 5 days. Right now, our pilots are averaging only 10 overnights per year.”
For TBM FOs, Jet OUT requires a minimum of 1000 hours, and prefers experience on Garmin G1000 or similar cockpits. It’s even better if they have experience on the G3000 suite, which comes in TBM 940s and 960s, as it helps a lot with training.
Pilots are eligible for TBM captain when they have 2000 hours TT, Part 121 or Part 135 experience, and time flying in all 4 seasons of weather. Overall, Jet OUT TBM pilots average around 3000 hours TT, with some having logged more than 8000 hours during their flying career.
Pilots who want to fly the 9-pax Citation CJ4 Gen2 as captains need a minimum of 5000 hours TT. Also, a Cessna 525 type rating is preferred.
Shier points out that professional experience is a plus, so that they can mentor other pilots upgrading from the TBMs. “Our policy is to promote from within. That’s really important in our company,” he adds.
“Our pilot turnover is much lower than the industry average,” adds Crivello. “We believe that we’ve been able to achieve this because we provide a work/life balance that can’t be found elsewhere. Flying airplanes is as professionalized an occupation as they come, but we should remember that pilots are human beings, too.
We should provide not only the compensation and benefits that they need, but also the balance that they desire between their work and their personal lives.”
OEM partnerships in progress
Jet OUT recently took delivery of its first Daher TBM 960, becoming the first commercial operator of the newest TBM model. The 5th evolution of Daher’s turboprop aircraft family since the TBM 900 series’ introduction, the TBM 960 incorporates Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6E-66XT engine, a flight deck fitted with Garmin’s G3000 avionics suite with GWX 8000 StormOptix radar, fully digital e-throttle, and an updated digitally-controlled cabin.
The company is also an authorized TBM service center, and possesses the capability of carrying out almost all heavy maintenance on the TBM, including major inspections and engine removal. The TBM follows a phased schedule with major inspections every 200 hours over an 800-hour cycle.
“For the TBM 960, that inspection schedule has been extended from 200 hours to 300 hours, which we’re very excited about,” says Crivello. “For a high-utilization operator like us, that’s a meaningful increase in the efficiency of our flight operations.”
The Citation CJ4 Gen2, on the other hand, is on a 600-hour maintenance interval. “The CJ4 is new to our operations, but, in that time, we’ve found Textron product support to be outstanding and responsive,” Crivello adds.
“We’re excited about having access to the Milwaukee Citation Service Center, which is a great resource, given its scale, depth of experience, and proximity to our operations. The great thing about Textron is that they’ve been doing this for a long time and they understand what is needed to keep a Part 135 operator like Jet OUT running smoothly.”
Everyone at Jet OUT was generous with praise to both Daher and Textron. “They’re a huge part of our success,” insists Crivello. “Jet OUT has strong partnerships with Daher and Textron Aviation, and both have been outstanding in terms of supporting us in our high-utilization operations. For example, in our mission to expand our TBM operations, Daher has worked tirelessly to keep us supplied with what we need to keep each of our airplanes flying at a utilization rate of 800 hours per year.
On occasion, Daher employees have come in to work on evenings or weekends, to make sure that we have the parts and support when a rare AOG situation has arisen. You can sense their passion in everything they do.”
Jet OUT plans to add more TBMs before the end of 2022, and has recently ordered 2 more CJ4 Gen2s from Textron Aviation, with deliveries in Q1 2023.
Capitalizing on marketplace changes
Jet OUT is confident that it is positioned to capitalize on changing travel trends post-Covid, which have seen record charter demand. The company is at the forefront of the growth in electronic charter markets. These changes have led to the development of efficient supply of empty leg charters.
“We believe that these are structural changes in the charter markets which will achieve permanence with time,” says Crivello. “Demand will be more efficiently matched up with supply, and this will convert empty legs from being an inefficiency to a strength.”
One area of growth that Jet OUT sees developing is what the company’s leader has labeled “the middle market.” This new middle market is bookended by the entry-level and luxury charter markets. It consists of travelers who desire the conveniences, safety, and dependability that private aviation can offer, at a price point that is high enough to pay for quality but competitive enough to sway them from the airlines.
The TBM not only allows Jet OUT to compete and win business in the typical charter markets, but has also opened the door for new customers who have never chartered before. On average, the cost to charter the TBM from Jet OUT is about $2000 per hour, all in.
Growing in the future
Jet OUT has a multi-year expansion plan that will transform the company from a regional activity into a national operator with multiple bases across the country. Chicago is slated to be the first additional location by end of 2022. “We plan to add bases of operations every year for the foreseeable future until we reach a point at which we’re able to serve the majority of the markets throughout the United States with this product,” reveals Crivello.
The company is currently leasing space at MKE while its sister company, Jet IN, completes its new FBO development at the airport. This new FBO complex will include a 10,000-sq-ft hangar which will be leased exclusively to Jet OUT for its maintenance operations, as well as a 40,000-sq-ft hangar which will be used for the FBO tenants and Jet OUT’s Milwaukee-based fleet.
The complex also includes a state-of-the-art 10,000-sq-ft terminal building with all of the amenities you would expect from a modern FBO. This development incorporates many environmentally friendly construction techniques, materials, and equipment.
“We’re really excited that Jet OUT will soon be operating out of a facility that is under common ownership,” says Crivello, “because this will allow us to control every aspect of the customer experience, from the moment that the customer parks, walks through the front door, and boards their airplane, to the moment when they return back home.”
Crivello continues, “We feel that we’re going to continue to be very successful, given all of the changes that are taking place right now.”