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Jet Aviation Profile

Taking a definitive name often advertises a trait the company can’t reach – like Villa del Mar for a housing development on the plains of Iowa or giving an airport an “International” moniker because passengers and freight can connect to an international gateway.

Dave Higdon   |   1st March 2002
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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Jet Aviation service encompasses the world.

Taking a definitive name often advertises a trait the company can’t reach – like Villa del Mar for a housing development on the plains of Iowa or giving an airport an “International” moniker because passengers and freight can connect to an international gateway.

After its 1967 inception as a corporate name- the phrase “Jet Aviation” grew to mean far more than a term for a type of flying. In 35 years- Jet Aviation has grown into an influential presence throughout the world of business aviation.

Today- the company’s scope- reach and quality make it a leader among corporate aviation service providers.

That’s an across-the-board statement in a global community – a position few others enjoy. And fewer companies can still boast of Jet Aviation’s international credentials: A company started in Switzerland that expanded globally- Jet Aviation moved its headquarters to West Palm Beach- FL- in the United States- and yet conducts more than half its business in Europe. Clearly- that profile qualifies Jet Aviation as one of corporate aviation’s most-unique players.

Swiss Traditions of Quality and Precision

To understand the success of any company- it helps to understand something about the philosophy of its founders- or to gain insights into why it exists – in other words- something of its roots. And while it may sound like a stereotype- there’s something to be said for that form of character typing when you see the match between a company’s history and that stereotype.

Given what I knew of Jet Aviation from business flights in the U.S.- it came as little surprise to learn that the company’s ancestral home is Switzerland. Founder Carl W. Hirschmann opened Jet Aviation in 1967 after acquiring the old Globe Air hangar in Basel and the new enterprise quickly established its growth pattern and expansion in an ever-broader array of business aviation enterprises. For example- in 1969 the company took over the handling and maintenance facilities of Pilatus AG in Zurich and Geneva. And within three short years the company added aircraft management and charter operations to its mix of corporate aviation services.

Before it was even a decade old- Jet Aviation took its first step toward a fully international operation with the 1975 acquisition of a maintenance base in Dusseldorf- Germany. Eventually- the company added five more technical facilities inside Germany: Munich- Saarbrucken- Kassel- Hanover and Cologne.

It was in 1977- aged 10- that the company read the growing demands of clients for quality completion and modification services by adding custom-interior design and installation- as well as refurbishing and upgrade modifications to its inventory of quality services at its Basel- Switzerland- operation.

Two years later- a partnership formed with a group of businessmen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led to the opening of Jet Aviation’s first Mid-East Fixed Base Operation in Jeddah- providing handling for corporate and private aircraft- and in 1982 Jet Aviation crossed the Atlantic to open a Washington- D.C. office as a preparatory step to entering the U.S. market. Later it expanded further with the acquisition of FBOs in Bedford- MA- Morristown- NJ- Denver- CO- and in West Palm Beach- FL.

The acquisition of Executive Air Fleet (EAF) based in Teterboro- New Jersey- followed in 1988. At that time EAF was the largest aircraft management and charter company in the United States. In the same year the Aero Service FBO- located at Teterboro Airport- was integrated into the Jet Aviation Group.

In 1996 Jet Aviation opened a new facility in Singapore and in 1999 added its facility at Dallas Love Field- which offers comprehensive aircraft maintenance- aircraft charter- management- sales- and a full range of FBO services. And Jet Aviation’s expansion and evolution has continued over the years. In 2001- Jet Aviation purchased a facility at Biggin Hill- the closest airport to London’s financial district- offering maintenance- refurbishment and FBO services. Most recently in October 2001 Jet Aviation Engineering Services based near San Antonio/Texas was integrated in the Jet Aviation Group- offering engineering and certification services to modification centers and FAA repair stations worldwide.

Founder Carl W. Hirschmann retired in 1990 and Thomas M. Hirschmann took over leadership of the company as its new chairman & CEO. About a year later- in October 1991- Thomas Hirschmann relocated to West Palm Beach in a step important to the globalization plans of Jet Aviation and to its market-growth strategy for the United States.

In concert with that global strategy- the company decided to split management among regional operations. Thomas Hirschmann heads the entire group as the chairman and CEO- while Heinz Köhli serves as President and COO for Europe/Middle & Far East- and Terrance P. Kelley serves as President and COO of U.S. Operations.

Broad-based- at Home and Abroad

Today- Jet Aviation can boast of being the world’s “leading business aviation service company” thanks to the expertise and depth of its service offerings- areas the company has continued to expand and refine over the years.

Jet Aviation now employs more than 3-500 people to staff its 60 locations operated around the world. These facilities serve the needs of customers in North & South America- Europe- the Middle and Far East.

Collectively- the company provides maintenance- aircraft-completion and engineering services- Fixed Base Operations- along with aircraft sales- charter- and management – on a global basis.

Jet Aviation’s U.S. and European aircraft management and charter divisions jointly operate a fleet totaling more than 150 business aircraft. Add in its charter operations and Jet Aviation boasts of being the largest aircraft management and charter company in the world.

The vast Jet Aviation-operated fleet includes: 33 Gulfstreams- seven of them GV models; 25 Dassault Falcon Jets; 22 Bombardier Challengers and five Global Express ultra-long range jets; 17 Cessna Citations; two BBJs; and a host of other corporate planes. In 2000- Jet Aviation provided more than 45-000 charter hours in global flight operations.

Jet Aviation Biggest in Europe

Even though Jet Aviation’s operations span continents with international business aviation interests- that doesn’t mean that the company is equally strong in every market. For example- Jet Aviation does about 60 percent of its business in Europe- not surprising since that’s where the company started 35 years ago. From several perspectives- the efficiency of charter and leaseback are even more attractive and savvy in Europe than in the U.S.- where ownership is often the smartest choice.

That said- however- if you examine the diversity of locations Jet Aviation maintains- it’s apparent that the company doesn’t dabble in markets – it goes in strong. For example- in Europe Jet Aviation operates FBOs in 11 locations- including six cities in Germany- three in Switzerland- one in England and one in Russia. All but the Russian FBO also serve as major maintenance bases for the company.

All three Swiss FBOs are also bases for Jet Aviation’s European Aircraft Management operation. The company’s Basel- Switzerland- location serves as the company’s European completions center.

Complementing Jet Aviation’s European strength is a strong presence in other parts of the world- including the company’s sole U.S. completion center at West Palm Beach- Florida. West Palm Beach is also one of four U.S. FBOs. Bedford- Massachusetts- Dallas Love and Teterboro round out the company’s U.S. FBO operations.

All four of Jet Aviation’s U.S. FBOs also serve as major maintenance centers for the company. Three of the FBOs – Dallas- Teterboro and West Palm Beach – also function as part of Jet Aviation’s five aircraft-management centers. Chicago Midway and Burbank- California- round out the collection.

Jet Aviation lists more than 40 aircraft available for charter in the U.S. and has broker access to over 1-700 aircraft worldwide. In addition- the company offers a Private Fleet of aircraft- including seven Gulfstream jets and a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter in the U.S.- and a Challenger 601- Citation II and two Citation Bravos in Europe. Most of the company’s services are offered around the world through facilities in the Middle and Far East.

Amazingly- this partial list doesn’t touch on Jet Aviation’s parts services- aircraft sales and brokerage operations- engineering expertise- and sundry other specialized efforts the company undertakes for its clients.

And the company continues to expand its penetration with new aircraft and new sales offices opening periodically. It is indeed tough to land somewhere where Jet Aviation can’t or doesn’t reach.

Tracking Down the Down-and-Dirty

Whether you’re interested in buying- selling- refurbishing or simply refueling with Jet Aviation- tapping into the company’s latest service inventory and facility list is as simple as logging on to the Internet and connecting with the company at www.jetaviation.com.

From this starting point you can virtually tour most of the company’s facilities around the globe- check out aircraft-charter availability and prices- and more.

You can pull up the fuel costs of any Jet Aviation FBO and check out the quantity discounts that begin to kick in after taking on the first 250 gallons of Jet A. And you can even download current Jeppesen cards for any or all of Jet Aviation’s FBO facilities –a real help for crew visiting one of these operations for the first time with the company’s FBOs located primarily on major airports.

You can even review the engineering capabilities of Jet Aviation Engineering Services L.P. and make contact with the company about your next project.

All in all- there’s little about the company that’s not available to check out on-line – further indicating the quality service philosophy of Jet Aviation. That same quality-of-service philosophy also manifests itself in businesses affiliated with the company as part of the Jet Aviation Group of companies.

Jet Professionals Inc.

Perhaps best known in the business aviation community is Jet Professionals- Inc. Since its inception in 1983- Jet Professionals established strong credentials and a solid reputation for its employee-placement services. Jet Professionals enjoys an outstanding reputation for its personal services- professional integrity- and ongoing client satisfaction in representing and placing highly qualified temporary and permanent aviation personnel with corporate flight departments throughout the United States.

Jet Professionals continues this excellent reputation by offering a full range of personalized and confidential personnel services to flight departments by understanding that today’s corporate flight department is a sophisticated- highly professional environment. The company’s experience in the business aviation community and its stability enables the company to provide its clients with support services vital to running their businesses.

You’ll find all the necessary positions handled by Jet Professionals- whether highly qualified corporate aviation managers- chief pilots- flight attendants- maintenance technicians- dispatchers- and schedulers. And the company works both sides of the street- if you will- filling both permanent and temporary staffing needs of its clients.

And for aviation professionals seeking that perfect placement- Jet Professionals Comprehensive Aviation Personnel Services includes services to help job candidates find and land the job of their desires.

International Expertise- Domestic Savvy

As you can see- there’s nothing inside corporate flying that Jet Aviation doesn’t know and understand- in the abstract as well as in practice. Unlike some companies in other businesses- this company’s name really does say it all.

And unlike that “International” airport name that has little bearing on reality- Jet Aviation’s name carries the cache of its experience- regardless of where your business-flying needs take you – across a continent- an ocean or around the world.

In fact- in its 35 years of business- Jet Aviation’s name has taken on significance far beyond those two basic words. The company can hardly expand its scope – it and its affiliate Jet Professionals already cover virtually every aspect of corporate flying. Jet Aviation can ultimately only expect to grow in significance and become even more influential throughout the world of business aviation.

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