VOL. 129 | NO. 248 | Monday, December 22, 2014
SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
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Charter Operator AB Jets Soaring to New Heights
By Amos Maki
David Turner began working for a local charter plane operation in 2000, but five years later Turner decided he needed a change of scenery and started flying for Memphis-based AB Jets.
In 2010, after working his way through the company’s ranks, Turner teamed up with Andrew Bettis to become co-owner of AB Jets, and the two have soared to new heights.
“It was a lot to absorb but I worked hard,” said Turner, 38. “We spent a lot of time together, got to know each other’s ideas, each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how we worked together, and it’s been a great partnership.”
AB Jets, a Memphis-based charter operator, is celebrating 15 years in business.
Operating out of Memphis International Airport, AB Jets is a privately owned and operated charter, sales and management company celebrating 15 years in operation. AB Jets now has 40 employees, up from 18 just three years ago, and sales are up around 400 percent over the last five years. The company is currently expanding operations in Nashville to improve service in the Southeast and offer more flight options and availability to clients.
“Our success and growth really does highlight how important it is to have a great team behind you with everybody trying to achieve a common goal,” said Turner.
After starting out with one jet, the company now operates a fleet of eight Lear jets – including two Lear 60s equipped with new interiors and complimentary Wi-Fi – and is licensed to fly in the U.S., Canada, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. AB Jets has a 16,000-square-foot hangar and 4,000 square feet of office space at Wilson Air Center.
Turner said one of the company’s key to success is keeping a stable of well-appointed and well-maintained aircraft with the touches – gleaming aircraft, immaculate leather and polished woodwork – that leave a mark with customers.
“The clients we’ve had were really pleased with our service and recommended us to other people, and it grew from there,” said Turner. “That’s stuff people really notice and remember.”
AB Jets does do some professional marketing, but still leans heavily on word-of-mouth.
“Anyone can offer the same type of aircraft we do, but we take it to the next level so the passengers really notice it when they’re on board,” said Turner. “Anybody can have the same planes we have, but where you really separate yourself is customer service and that is what really brings people back.”
AB Jets places a high priority on safety. The company is the only charter company operating out of Memphis to receive a platinum certification from the independent ARGUS rating system.
AB Jets also believes in making it as easy as possible for their clients to fly with them. In 2011, the company created a simple and efficient prepay program, the A to B Jet Card, which essentially allows clients to fly whenever they need to because they have already paid for the time in advance. The program has increased 320 percent since 2012.
“The program was created in response to our clients and it’s really taken off,” said Turner.
While the company has experienced robust growth since Turner and Bettis teamed up, the duo can’t wait to see what heights they can achieve over the next five years.
“We’ve had a good run the last five years,” said Turner. “We’re excited to see what the next five years holds.”