An Interview With Riza Tansu: Why I Chose NetJets

By Paul Joseph

Renowned yacht designer Riza Tansu is a man who refuses to settle for second best. Responsible for an array of dazzling superyachts, the high demand for his services means he is regularly on the move, either meeting clients or seeking inspiration.

His fast-paced lifestyle means that a reliable and efficient means of transport is essential. Once an extravagant indulgence, private jet travel is now considered a necessity for jet setters such as Turkish-born Mr Tansu.

Step forward NetJets, the Ohio-based private aviation specialists with a global reach that is ever expanding (they have just announced the opening of a china office). Mr Tansu has been a dedicated client – or ‘owner’ as the company prefers to call them – of NetJets for the past year and a half, and as we discovered when we sat down with him at the 2014 Monaco Yacht Show, he couldn’t be happier with his choice.

So why did you decide to fly with NetJets?
"I had a lot of experience with private jets before and I charted private jets from my friends and people that I know. But the feeling was so awkward, you feel as if they’re doing a favour to you. Also, you’re paying even when you’re not in an aircraft, and that was a big minus. You call the aircraft from some place and they charge the aircraft coming to you. I was always unhappy with this, but in certain circumstances you have to do it.

Michael [Graham, Senior Vice President] convinced me that with NetJets you feel that it’s your own aircraft and that it would be really cool to use it extensively in my business and in my pleasure life. So I listened to him.

In long distance, transatlantic flights, I still try to fly commercial, but most of the time, especially in summer time, I have boats all over the Mediterranean. If you are in Bodrum and you want to go to Kefalonia, it’s a 55 minute flight, but you have to fly from Kefaloni to Istanbul, Istanbul to Athens, Athens to Kefalonia. One full day gone. So I really enjoyed flying with NetJets last summer extensively and this summer also, flying between my yachts, visiting my clients, one boat to another, going to small airports – it’s really efficient."

As a yacht designer, are you influenced by the jets you fly in, in terms of their attention to detail and customisation features?
Flying privately is a really good way to kick me, to inspire me. I always sketch, and that lifestyle inspires me a lot and really kick-starts me for my projects. It adds a lot to what I’m doing.

My clients are, as you can guess, really upscale people, but at the same time they are very casual people, so they are not looking for golden trims and stuff like that, which we don’t have in NetJets. Everything is so well designed, very to the point, not over the top. It’s very convenient, and very luxurious, but not over the top. It’s like my boats. So maybe there’s a resemblance.

Would you say private jet travel is essential to your business?
I would say yes. Especially in summertime, really, it’s a must. As I told you, you can spend an entire day on a 55 minutes flight, or you can go privately and on the same day visit two boats. I have a really good relationship with my clients, I am very much on a one-on-one basis with them, so when they call me for a party, for having fun or to check something, I can be with them quickly, and that’s a really good advantage for me.

Is there one thing you enjoy most about flying with NetJets?
I feel very safe. You feel that everything is in proper order. You feel that you are flying with very experienced people and very well maintained aircraft. Whenever my guests fly with me, they say the same thing. We had a very shaky take-off from Sardinia this summer, and a friend of mine’s girlfriend has a thing with aeroplanes – she becomes pale. And with this small plane, the pilot welcomes you, you feel at home and you are aware of everything. They are very cool sitting there and saying that it’s small turbulence, no problem. You are in a very secure environment, so even her flight, her take-off, was pleasant for her. We were rally shaking and she was reading her magazine. I never saw her like that on a commercial flight.

The way NetJets operate is so welcoming and convenient. The pilot never leaves you until you’re sitting in your car. Everything is really welcoming and cool, so I’m very happy with this service also.

By Paul Joseph