Executive AirShare, founded in Wichita and based in Kansas City, posted a record year last year, one in which the number of customers served grew 37 percent, the company said.
And the trend has continued into 2014; flight revenue and operating revenue are up so far this year.
Today, Executive AirShare ranks as the nation’s fourth-largest fractional ownership company, when counted by the number of airplanes in its programs, the company said.
“We’re growing profitably,” said Keith Plumb, Executive AirShare president. “It hasn’t been through acquisition. It’s been organically. What’s been successful for us is delivering our high level of service, so we get a lot of referrals from existing customers.”
The growth can be attributed to a variety of factors – such as consolidation in the fractional ownership industry and the launch of a new lease program last fall.
Many of its customers had been in other fractional ownership programs that aren’t offered today, he said.
Plumb also attributes the company’s success to its regional fractional business model, in which its airplanes and pilots are based in the cities where its customers live and work.
At the end of 2013, Executive AirShare had 182 customers. That’s up from 134 at the end of 2012.
Plumb expects the company to add 40 customers this year.
It’s “conservative, steady-as-she-goes growth,” he said.
More than 50 percent of its growth has been in Texas, while 30 percent of the growth has come from its Kansas City and Wichita market, he said.
The remaining growth is coming from Oklahoma and Buffalo, N.Y., where it also has operations.
A subsidiary, Executive Flight Services, manages airplanes for owners in Fort Worth, Dallas, Wichita, Kansas City and Buffalo and also offers charter services.
Its goal for 2014 is to make Executive AirShare “more scaleable,” Plumb said.
So it’s invested in new software for the accounting and flight scheduling departments. That way the company will be able to manage increased business and operate more airplanes.
Executive AirShare employs more than 160 today, including 98 pilots.
It plans to hire 15 additional pilots for its fractional business by the end of 2014.
Last year, the company added two Citation CJ2-Plus light jets, a Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 to its fractional fleet.
In January, it added a King Air 350i.
It now operates 49 planes in its fractional and managed fleets.
Executive AirShare plans to add a third Citation CJ2-Plus and two more Phenom 300s by the end of the year.
The company invested about $25 million in new aircraft during 2013 and will invest at least another $25 million this year, the company said.
“We’re not about market share or overextending ourselves,” Plumb said. “But we really want to take care of these customers we gained last year and the customers we bring on this year.”