One newcomer to the industry in recent years has been Unity Jets – although the men behind it are far from fledglings. Boasting a wealth of experience, Unity Jets’ founders have set about creating a business model that combines convenience with economic efficiency.
Speaking exclusively to Superyachts.com’s Shari Liu at the recent Miami Boat Show, Unity Jets founder Kevin Diemar told us more. You can see the full video interview above.
Shari Liu: Can you tell us a little about Unity Jets?
Kevin Diemar: We’ve been in business a little over three years. I worked at NetJets and Marquis for almost seven years, got a lot of aviation experience, learning the service business inside and out, and I saw an opportunity to provide great service to clients at a substantial discount, with no commitment. So I kind of went out on a limb. I left a large company – which is always scary – formed Unity Jets with a partner of mine and we’ve been very successful, offering a lot of value to our clients and the business has grown tremendously over the last two years.
SL: Can you tell us a little more about the services you provide and your fleet?
KD: We actually don’t own our fleet – that’s where we’re different from say a NetJets. We operate as a broker and that’s kind of a dirty word in the business, but what we’ve tried to do is bring a lot of class and expertise to the business. So the way we operate is simply, folks call or email us with their itinerary. We come back to them with options – it could be trips to Europe, Russia. Wherever you need to go we’ll get you there. So we really don’t think there’s one right solution for every trip. Different trips require different machines, or planes for that matter. That’s really our business model. They pay only for that trip, there’s no bills after the fact, it’s one simple all-inclusive price. They fly, and hopefully they call again.
SL: How do clients save money using Unity Jets as opposed to a conventional private jet company?
KD: That’s a good question and it’s kind of the question that helped start my business. I was always selling these Marquus and NetJets cards and they require a 25 hour commitment, and when you break it down a lot of folks they see the one number and they’re comfortable with it. But when you do the math and you say “what’s $150,000 divided by 25 hours?” and you start saying “hey I’m paying six, seven, or eight thousands dollars an hour” depending on the jet size. You’re paying a lot of money, and what I noticed with these fractionals is that on the peak days, the busiest days of the year – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s – they were outsourcing to other jets in the fleet.
So what I learnt is, depending on the trip, sometimes there’s one-ways, between say South Florida and New York, a very common route, we can buy those planes at a tremendous discount to the fractionals and the jet cards. And then there’s roundtrips where you can save even more, so for instance, let’s say Miami to Vegas, a Thursday to Sunday, we’ve saved clients $70,000 on a heavy jet versus jet card programmes. So we’re not talking 5 or 10 per cent saving, we’re talking real dollars, and no matter what your net worth is these numbers matter.
SL: How do you set yourself apart in this very competitive industry?
KD: Truly, we set ourselves apart by us, our experience. Three of my partners worked at NetJets and Marquis, and there’s no one in the brokerage business that has that experience. So I tell folks all the time, it’s just like a 16-year-old, on a sunny day if he got his license he could probably drive a car very good, but on a rainy day in hail you probably want to be in a car with someone with more experience. And that’s where our experience and our expertise comes into play. No-one claims aviation is perfect – these are machines, these are mechanicals, there is weather, but you want to be working with someone who knows how to handle these situations and that’s really how I think we differentiate ourselves.