Fractional aircraft provider Volato announced that it has ordered 15 HondaJets to add to its fast-growing business. After launching in September of 2021 with a single, custom four-passenger Honda Jet Elite S, followed by two additional HondaJets in December, the Atlanta-based operator says strong customer demand for its services is driving growth ahead of schedule.
“We always planned on 2022 being a big year for us, and the reality is that we were able to get launched sooner than expected in 2021, and the customer demand was higher than we expected for our offering. So, we had to respond to that,” Volato’s CEO Matt Liotta told FLYING.
The company now operates five of the light jets (with galleys and lavatory) and will have a fleet of 22 once this latest order is completed. Liotta says Volato is on pace to have 12 in the fleet by the end of 2022.
“The number one thing that people want right now is when they sign up for a share of a future delivery aircraft, they want to start flying right away,” he said. “So, there’s a burden on any fleet operators to accommodate flying ahead of jet deliveries. Being able to add some additional jets in December enabled us to really offer that luxury.”
Focus? The four-seat or fewer market
Like most fractional jet programs, Volato offers five-year terms with fractional shares ranging from 1/16th shares to full ownership. In the very light jet category, fractional shares can typically run more than $1 million, but Liotta says his company has a unique offering.
“We believe that we’re the only fleet operator that is focused on ‘four passengers or fewer’ missions. For customers, where most of their missions are four passengers or fewer, we’re going to be the best option.”
“When you think about the industry, the (Embraer) Phenom 300 is probably the most successful light business jet, but if you look at the data, most Phenom 300s are only flying around with two people on it.”
Volato charges fractional owners $3,200 per hour in flight plus fuel expense, and Liotta said it is willing to reduce or eliminate some repositioning fees.
In addition to the five-year ownership packages, the company rolled out a by-the-hour charter service that returned portions of the revenue back to fractional owners.
The company also plans to have a jet card product that will offer all-inclusive travel packages and experiences.
New Chief Pilot
In December, Volato welcomed Azim Sumar as its new chief pilot, following his departure from Jet It in a similar role.
“I’m excited to join Volato and curate a team of owner-centric pilots by providing them a positive work environment, strong remuneration, and a balanced lifestyle,” Sumar said in the announcement.
“Azim will play a big part in continuing to evolve our offering to our most important assets while we continue to scale,” Liotta said
Expanding to Baltimore and California
While most of its customers are in the Southeast, Liotta said Volato has seen demand up and down the East Coast and that the company is targeting a West Coast expansion and taking delivery of a West Coast aircraft to support that growth. As for where the company might expand, Liotta told FLYING that they have announced Baltimore, Maryland, as a base and then Carlsbad, California, in the first quarter of 2022.
About Their Aircraft
The four-passenger HondaJet Elite S flies 1,437 nm. The Volato fleet includes customizations and amenities such as:
- Leather seating
- Surround-sound audio
- A full galley
Volato manages all aircraft maintenance, fees, and flight operations, and allows customers to schedule flights through the company’s app.