The Enlightened Personal Traveler
Your Turn to Take to the Skies
Written and Produced by Mark Patiky
Money isn’t the only thing in short supply these days. Most people will tell you that time is their most precious commodity, and Shye Gilad has a way to save both.
Gilad is chief executive officer of ProJet Aviation, a bespoke aircraft charter and management firm based in Winchester, Va. His company manages a Piaggio Avanti P180 turboprop for a client in the hospitality business. The client also has a large-cabin, intercontinental-range jet, but has been using the much smaller Avanti because of its amazing economy, the modest impression it makes at the airport, its remarkable practicality for trips as distant as halfway across the country, and a multitude of unique features.
The Avanti features a fully enclosed lavatory, which is unusual for turboprops or small jets, and a spacious stand-up cabin rivaling that of a midsize jet, as well as exceedingly low operating costs (it is about 35% more fuel-efficient than many small jets). Its price tag spells thrift, particularly relevant in the current market, says Gilad.
The Value Proposition
If the Avanti is big on performance, it’s huge on value. It flies faster than many small jets, has remarkable short-field capability and operates at weather- and traffic-topping altitudes of 41,000 feet. With up to four passengers, the operating cost is comparable to commercial airfare without accounting for critical timesaving and other productivity advantages. What shareholder wouldn’t applaud that? Gilad asks. “It’s a unique aircraft, and we think it’s a very appropriate aircraft for the times,” he says.
The Avanti is in high demand. It’s logging more than 400 hours annually, providing the owner’s management team with flexibility the airlines do not. On a typical flight, executives might depart the local Winchester airport in the morning, make multiple stops in places like St. Petersburg, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., and return that evening in time for dinner. Most flights are easy one-day trips anywhere from Maine to Miami. The Avanti can also land at airports too challenging even for small jets — for example, the short runways at Lake Placid, N.Y., and Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas; or the altitude- and heat-challenged strip at Sedona, Ariz. That means you’ll be landing much closer to where you really need to be.
When Less Means More
Although this owner’s Avanti is flying an impressive number of hours annually, for those with lesser needs, fractional ownership can make tremendous sense.
Avantair, one of the nation’s top fractional ownership firms, offers shares exclusively in the Avanti, and its cost-effective program has attracted budget-conscious owners with flying needs as limited as 50 to 100 hours per year. Avantair has significantly lowered the cost of entry to business and personal flying and enabled thousands to gain the benefits a business aircraft can provide.
In addition, the company recently launched the Edge Card program, which allows buyers to acquire Avantair fractional ownership benefits 25 hours at a time. The low-cost, no-commitment card is a perfect introduction to Avantair’s exceptional service. Another easy way to get started is Avantair’s Axis Club Membership, which offers the flexibility and benefits of a card program with none of the market risk or long-term investment concerns of fractional ownership. With hourly pricing similar to what fractional owners pay, Axis Club Membership is a big winner.
Discover Timesaving Convenience
Former property developer Marc Pinto was a frequent airline flyer until he discovered Avantair. At six foot four, he felt like a pretzel in most small jets, but the Avanti gave him space and comfort at an affordable price. Now he flies between Denver and Cabo San Lucas in about 2 hours and 45 minutes, which means he touches down in Mexico sooner than he would be boarding his commercial flight from Denver. Not losing two days for travel also means a four-day weekend can be a four-day vacation.
“It’s a much more convenient way to travel,” he says. “If you’re scheduled to depart at 9:45 a.m., you get to the airport at 9:45 a.m.” He began with 75 hours annually and immediately added another 50 hours because Avantair made travel so practical and cost-effective. He also raves about Avantair’s impeccable service. “All you have to do is ask, and somehow or other, they’ll make it possible.”
Ramsay Gillman, chairman of Gillman Car Company, owns auto dealerships throughout Texas, with main showrooms in Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen and Austin. There is limited commercial service between the four cities, and he can drive between Houston and San Antonio in less time than it would take to fly commercially. But with his Avantair fractional share, he can be at all four locations in a single day. His team can also use two airplanes simultaneously, if needed.
Avantair has also added another dimension to his life. Gillman and his wife have a second residence in Aspen, a challenge to reach flying commercially. If he lacked the ability to fly nonstop direct in the Avanti, he says, “it just wouldn’t be practical to have a second home there.”
This economy has forced people to look more closely at their spending habits and focus on value. An essential part of that value equation is time and physical wear and tear. The ability to easily see an important client, complete a critical negotiation unpressured by an airline schedule, reconsider that once seemingly impossible weekend getaway or simply see the grandchildren grow up is priceless. A business aircraft will make all of that possible, but the Avanti makes it truly practical. It’s simply a more affordable way to fly.
Written and Produced by Mark Patiky • firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Allison Lurker
Designer: Jon Prinsky
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