The fast-growing business aviation startup, PhilJets, has been striving to end 2017 at the same rate it started the year.
With its five-year anniversary to be celebrated this year, the business aviation operator aims to continue adding more aircraft to its expanding fleet to cater to its growing customer base — both local and international.
The company has surpassed its target sales revenues of US$3.2 million by reaching close to US$3.9 million of sales, though costs were also significantly higher due to training recurrences, overhead costs increase, maintenance costs increase and operations costs increase.
PhilJets started last year with its entry into the business jet segment adding one Cessna Citation XLS+ to its fleet and ended 2017 with the addition of one more additional Cessna Citation Business Jet. This confirms the company’s plan to play a role in the region’s business aviation scene. The company has also been working on upgrading its license capability from Civil Aviation Authority to evolve from non-scheduled domestic to non-scheduled international, a necessity when entering the jet market.
From six aircraft in 2016 to 11 aircraft under its management by the end of 2017, the assets value under the portfolio of PhilJets increased to more than US$77 million, which is nearly equivalent to a four times increase from the previous year. The latest additions to the fleet are two helicopters (one Bell 407GX and one Airbus H145), as well as three fixed-wing aircraft (one Bombardier Challenger 350 and two Cessna Citation XLS+).
PhilJets is looking forward to adding four to five aircraft into the fleet that will exceed US$90 million in asset value under management within 2018 in order to increase its capacity to better serve its customers at the different segments of the market.
“We need both lighter single-engine and lighter twin-engine helicopters in our fleet, as well as a good twin-engine turboprop fixed-wing [aircraft],” said Choy Elciario, who is in charge of the charter activities of PhilJets.
“Customers also frequently require some aircraft types or brands that we do not yet have, and we are working on addressing these requests,” said Geoffroy Cahen, head of sales and marketing.
While five new pilots, with an average of 25 years of remarkable experience, joined the company in 2017, the aviation startup reached more than 60 highly-skilled employees. PhilJets Group concluded the year with recognition from the Asia-Pacific organization Enterprise Asia.
Founder, chairman and CEO Thierry Tea received an award for Entrepreneurship Outstanding Performance in the Transportation and Logistics Industry last December in Makati Shangrila, among other distinguished awardees.
In 2018, PhilJets is preparing to launch a few projects and will venture into new partnerships. The company is also looking into expanding into the education, logistics and tourism sectors, with the aim to open bases in the provinces.
“It is very challenging to manage growth for a startup in aviation,” said Tea. “We are looking at innovating opportunities and the best way to develop them while always keeping safety and customer service as our core priorities. Our team is really exceptional despite the many obstacles and everyday issues. We are happy to demonstrate that we positively embrace the steady growth of the Philippines economy and contribute to play our humble part in the development of the business aviation and tourism sector.”