What was it that fascinated you about aviation from such a young age?
Throughout my life I’ve been fascinated by ‘boys toys’: cars, boats and planes. It may be my love of the James Bond series or something else I just can’t put my finger on.
Can you tell us the story of the brand’s beginnings?
In 2018, during my final year at boarding school, I fell upon the idea of making private aviation more accessible to the mass market by utilising social media to sell a selection of “empty leg” flights. Sat in one of my peer’s dormitories, we came up with the name JustJet and started an Instagram page (@JustJetUK). The first flight I offered on the page was an empty leg from London to Dubai on a Challenger 300, a beautiful nine-seater, for 90 per cent off list price – cheaper than one first class ticket – for the entire aircraft on that day.
How did things snowball from there?
Instantly, we had interest and thanks to various social media strategies the page grew, becoming the ’go to’ for empty leg flights. Our client base grew to a global group of some of the most successful and savvy market-leaders – insistent on always getting a good deal, a trait we find common amongst many who fly with us. The next move was to head into the world of bespoke charter, something that many of our clients seemed to desire, and by the age of 18, I was running a fully-fledged aircraft charter brokerage.
And you balanced all this with being at school…
I soon found myself sat in classes messaging clients. On one occasion I was closing a deal with a Saudi prince when my Geography teacher stormed across the room. She asked what I was doing, to which I gave the honest answer – of course, she laughed in disbelief. Luckily, we still managed to close the deal and welcomed the gentleman and his family onboard the following week.
What’s JustJet’s raison d’être now?
Now, at the age of 20, I’m honoured to serve our clients globally, whatever their needs may be – and it’s not just private aviation we can offer these days. Thanks to the vast numbers of contacts we’ve picked up over the last few years, we’re now able to offer local knowledge wherever our clients may be, from St Barths to St Tropez and further afield.
At what point did you realise the business – excuse the pun – was going to take off?
One of the turning points for me was the realisation that I knew more than the broker at the other end of the line. That’s when I realised that knowledge is not a perimeter set by age, but just by your ability to indulge yourself in the information you receive. The key in this industry, as with many, is knowledge. Through years of having the privilege to fly privately myself, I’ve built up a base of approved aircraft operators, which ensures a seamless service for our clients worldwide.
A vetted fleet doesn’t just mean the aircraft itself is good – it guarantees the quality of the operations team behind it, a key part that a charter client never really sees. The show is run by these guys and it’s key to ensure that a competent group is running the aircraft operation in order to create a smooth transfer from door to door. I know exactly what my clients are wanting and expecting from the moment they make a request. So we base the service on that, not what brokers think they want.
What trends do you see in aviation in the coming months/years?
Following covid restrictions lifting, I expect a vast increase in the numbers flying private, especially with new clientele or those who have flown privately very few times – the benefits really are amplified over that of commercial travel at the moment. With fewer touch points and an aircraft to yourself, you’d be crazy not to.
As we move further down the line, I think we’ll see a general increase in people flying privately in Europe, especially corporates, as the benefits begin to really show in regards to time saving and privacy – enabling work on the go, as well as more meetings being done in the day. As good as Zoom and similar services are, I can’t see them taking over from face-to-face meetings when it comes to higher levels of business and transaction.
Find out more about JustJets’ Bespoke Charter and Empty Legs offerings by visiting justjet.co.uk, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org