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Case Study: Needs Analysis

Background

VanAllen’s Needs Analysis process is aimed to help first-time buyers or seasoned travelers review their existing on-demand travel program to develop solutions that best fit their needs.  VanAllen guides clients through the complex landscape of business aviation variables by identifying the most optimal solutions and educating them on the benefits and compromises. 

About the Client

Company: Family-owned, mid-size

Industry: Retail

Primary Locations: Central US and Southeast US

Key Travelers: Family and top leadership team; 8 total

Travel Profile: 250+ hours annually, 95% within 1,000 miles with numerous short legs within 200 miles, 15 to 20 “one-way” legs annually, and 8 to 10 dates where multiple aircraft were needed on the same day.

Travel Resources: Currently using a combination of NetJets, WheelsUp, and charter. The NetJets contract was up for renewal.

Challenges

The client faced three primary challenges:

  1. Financial – With the volume of travel and total expense, what other options (including possible ownership) could be more economic?

  2. Service Levels – Several instances of service interruptions had created frustration among the travelers.  Would another vendor or potential ownership solve this?

  3. Vendor Management – Managing at least three vendors makes scheduling and oversight difficult. Is there a simpler solution?

 

These are common challenges that VanAllen answers regularly.  The client engaged VanAllen to conduct a Needs Analysis to review the financial, operational, and service level elements of alternative on-demand travel solutions.  VanAllen has an intimate familiarity with the issues along with an unbiased approach to examining the options.

 

Solution

At 250+ hours annually, the client was beyond the typical break-even point for ownership of an aircraft.  Additionally, their short legs within 200 miles were below the NetJets and WheelsUp minimum creating more inefficiency.  However, the one-way travel and need for multiple aircraft on the same day was appropriate for NetJets or WheelsUp. 

VanAllen modeled a variety of blended options.  Specifically, ownership of an aircraft with a fraction or membership solution to supplement.  The selected solution was ownership of a used Citation XLS mid-size jet along with a Marquis Jet card for 50-hours.  Upon consideration of the client’s primary challenges, this solution was selected based on:

  1. Financial – The overall annual cost was 15% less.  This included all fixed and variable costs along with asset depreciation.  Additionally, the client was educated on the financial fluctuations that can occur with ownership and strategies to mitigate this risk.

  2. Service Levels – To ensure adequate service and safety levels, the client was educated on the role that a third-party management company can play.  The client would have a dedicated crew that would know the sensitivities of the travelers.

  3. Vendor Management – Along with oversight of the owned aircraft, the management company included the scheduling and coordination of the Marquis Jet flights.  For the client, that meant one point of contact for all trip requests.

 

Additional considerations included:

  • The XLS was a model that was familiar to the client through NetJets and WheelsUp.

  • A used aircraft kept the capital outlay to less than $5M.

  • A third-party manager allowed the client to remain focused on their core business.

  • Marquis Jet does not include any capital outlay or long-term contractual commitment.

  • The Marquis Jet hours supplemented the need for multiple aircraft or when the XLS was not available due to maintenance.

  • VanAllen's project team included outside tax and legal counsel who could examine the options and provide insights on personal and business use.

VanAllen’s insights enabled the client to make an informed and confident decision on their next chapter of on-demand travel.  If you have similar challenges or questions, contact us to schedule a Needs Analysis or learn more about the process.