Lift - Fall 2012 - (Page 12)

Alumni cArve new ventures in business niches et charter and fractional ownership aren’t exactly newbies to the aviation industry; however, in recent years, these options to traditional commercial travel and private aircraft ownership have gained in popularity. Richard Zaher (’99, DB) of Paramount Business Jets (PBJ), and Jamail Larkins (’07, DB) and Danny Gizzi (’08, DB) of Ascension Air Management are three EmbryRiddle alumni taking advantage of these business niches. Frank Richey, professor and associate dean for the College of Aviation at the Daytona Beach Campus, credits founder of NetJets Richard Santulli with inventing the concept of fractional ownership. Borrowing on the principles of a real estate time share, the professionally managed partnership gives owners access to larger, more capable aircraft as well as tax benefits, Richey says. “From 1986 to the mid-1990s, the growth of fractional ownership was exponential,” he adds. “It’s got 20 percent or better of the market now.” In contrast to the growth in fractional sales of turbine-powered jets, fractional ownership of smaller piston-powered aircraft has remained relatively stagnant at only 1 to 2 percent of the market. It’s this incongruity that influenced Larkins and Gizzi to add fractional ownership to Ascension’s existing aircraft sales and leasing business. They launched the endeavor in January. As of June, Ascension had sold four aircraft. Larkins attributes the early success in part to the company’s relationship with Cirrus Aircraft. Ascension Air Management is a fractional ownership partner with Cirrus, exclusively selling the Cirrus SR22T. “It’s the Ferrari of airplanes,” Gizzi says. In return, Cirrus refers clients who are unable to qualify as sole owners to Ascension’s fractional ownership options. Ascension was also able to negotiate a unique finance package that provides clients a sizable return on investment at the end of the loan term. Owners benefit from a full concierge service at Ascension’s home base at DeKalbPeachtree Airport; a 24/7 scheduling center; and limited service pickup and drop-off centers at a handful of other fixed-base operators. Larkins and Gizzi plan to expand the concierge service, one city at a time. “About 20 to 25 markets in the United States support a personal flown fractional like this,” Larkins says. GrowinG business tool Danny Gizzi, left, and Jamail Larkins “If you use an aircraft 600 hours a year or more, you can justify owning it. Those that charter aircraft are willing to pay a higher price for ondemand service.” Richard Zaher The jet charter business is nearly as old as the invention of flight, but, according to Zaher, it exploded in the 2000s as communication technology allowed for more efficient scheduling. In 2005, Zaher started his charter brokerage “right in the middle of this huge growth.” Shortly after opening PBJ in Manhattan, N.Y., he moved the company and operations to Daytona Beach, Fla., and ended up employing about 25 Embry-Riddle students to assist in the research and development phase. Today, his company is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and has branches in Texas and Orlando. Zaher admits that chartering an airplane, in lieu of taking a commercial flight, can be viewed as a disposable luxury—especially during an economic downturn. Still, PBJ was able to survive the recent recession; and in 2011, the average number of monthly charters doubled that of 2010. “Our company grew over 400 percent last year,” he says. “Executives consistently say that flying private actually makes them money,” Zaher explains. “A busy executive can lose time, productivity and ultimately money through conventional airline travel. At the end of the day, corporate jet charter is a tool that they use to help them with their business.” Richey would agree. “Sixty-six percent of the Fortune 500 corporations in the United States have an aircraft and use it as a business tool,” he says. “If you use an aircraft 600 hours a year or more, you can justify owning it. Those that charter aircraft are willing to pay a higher price for on-demand service.” Zaher says his Embry-Riddle degree has been invaluable to his success. “Just the fact that I was able to say that I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University really helped me. There is nothing else like it. Some of the best people in the industry went to Embry-Riddle.” 12 LIFT FALL 2012 www.ERAUALUmnI.oRg http://WWW.ERAUALUMNI.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Lift - Fall 2012

Lift - Fall 2012
Letter from the President
Wings of Legacy
Flight Path
Moving Mountains
Carving New Ventures
What Presence!
Releasing the Dragon
Giving to Embry-Riddle
Alumni in Action
Alumni News
Class Notes

Lift - Fall 2012