Elite Traveler: What is your background in Aviation business?
Jane McBride: My passion for aviation started when my father bought his first private plane, a single engine Piper Dakota when I was 22 years old. I immediately started studying for my Private Pilot’s license so that I could use the plane to visit many exciting and hard-to-reach destinations. A year later, I met my future business partner, Patricia Zinkowski. Together we launched one of America’s first Part 121 air charter brokerage services, Flight Time Corporation. We expanded throughout the US and Europe, with over 120 employees providing services to presidential campaigns, professional sports teams, Fortune 50 companies as well as Hollywood celebrities.
Flight Time also pioneered the first online air charter system, and is recognized for introducing the nation’s first Jet Card. I retired in 2001 to pursue volunteer work, founding a charity called “Friends of Thai Daughters” to combat child-sex trafficking in Asia.
After a few years, however, I was drawn back into the aviation world through various consulting projects. I also was watching general aviation’s development in China and recognized the opportunity to repeat the success we had with Flight Time. In 2012, I moved to Shanghai to co-found AVICUS Group, an Aviation Focused Lifestyle Company that provides jet life style products and services all around the world, catering to the Asian’s most elite travelers.
ET: What are the range of services and programs, which Avicus Group provides to the luxury traveller?
JM: AVICUS provides a full range of products and services, including Global air brokerage, Bespoke international travel and lifestyle programs, Aircraft sales and leasing as well as Aviation business consulting. We work with a global network of over 10,000 aircraft available for charter. Aircraft include helicopters, business and regional jets, VIP and mixed-configuration airliners. AVICUS also provides aircraft leasing & acquisition. We arrange bespoke travel programs for the world’s most discerning and financially successful travelers.
With an international team of Western aviation professionals & Asian market experts, AVICUS is building a bridge between the rapidly emerging Asia Pacific aviation industry and the more mature Western aviation world.
ET: What do Luxury Private Jet Travelers demand now in their programs?
JM: Private jet travelers are looking for a variety of activities and opportunities such as the world’s most exclusive private golf courses, meetings with world leaders, celebrities and athletes, closed-door VVIP shopping opportunities, overseas investment and wealth management consulting, driving the best cars in various locations around the world, access to off-market luxury real estate, major equestrian lifestyle events as well as EB-5 immigration and investment education and opportunities.
ET: China is a huge market. What do you see will be the future of Private Jet Travelers in this region?
JM: As the market becomes more educated about the benefits of private jet services, travelers will realize that a business jet is a “tool” more than a “toy.” Chinese entrepreneurs and successful people work very hard, thus their time is quite valuable. We think of jets as “time machines”, enabling them to be more efficient, more productive and enable them to spend more time with their families and friends.
ET: What is the most important thing you have learned in business over the years?
JM: The most important thing we have learned in business over the years is making our customers happy. Our relentless focus on customer service is what differentiates us from most competitors. Our private jet journeys are designed to deliver superb value, experience and pleasure. We believe in the lifetime value of the customer. In fact, having started our business in 1985，we are proud to be serving the daughters and sons of our first generation of clients.
ET: What else is unique about AVICUS’s service and products, that differentiate you from other luxury travel competitors?
JM: First of all, my partner and I, combined, have more than 50 years of experience in aviation and hospitality. We have in-depth knowledge about the jet travel lifestyle, and what works for our clients. We have very high standards in terms of product & service levels. Therefore, we do not cut corners just to make more profit.
Secondly, 25 years in business also means an extensive network all around the globe. We have great partners everywhere, ready to offer the best price with the best service at any time, which brings consistent experience and convenience. I believe our network is very powerful.
Most importantly, we provide access to world’s most exclusive and unique events, venues and locations like the Oscars, Golden Globes, Masters Cup, World’s top 100 private golf courses, IVY league universities, and world renowned Vineyards to name a few. AVICUS delivers the best to travelers seeking ultimate lifestyle experiences.
Since we are fortunate to have experienced the ‘jet lifestyle’ as successful entrepreneurs ourselves, our credibility and experience differentiates us from competitors just entering this industry as well.
ET: Jane, thank you for your time. As always, Elite Traveler wishes you continued success!