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Cleared for Takeoff

Airshare CEO Believes “the sky is the limit” for Continued Industry Leadership

The state of Kansas has been synonymous with aviation since the earliest days of flight. An innovative Johnson County business is taking that tradition to another level with efficient, hassle-free alternatives for travelers.

“We are a complete private aviation solution for business and leisure customers, offering fractional ownership of light jets, expansive charter services and comprehensive whole-aircraft management,” says John Owen, CEO of Airshare in Lenexa. “Our best-in-class customer experience is unparalleled within our industry. Companies and individuals choose Airshare because they value the quality of their time as much as they appreciate the value of their money.”

Airshare has grown steadily since it was founded in Wichita in 2000. After expanding to markets in the South and Midwest, it moved its headquarters to Lenexa in 2004. It currently has operational bases in Kansas City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Denver, Tulsa, Wichita and Buffalo.

Owen became CEO last April after serving as chief financial officer. He strengthened the sales and marketing team by hiring Dylan Haynie as senior vice president of sales and Andy Tretiak as chief marketing officer. The team implemented an aggressive rebranding initiative to build on its market leadership position. One of the most noticeable changes was dropping the word “Executive” from the corporate name.

“Those additions, combined with our existing chief operating officer Harry Mitchell, have really solidified our executive team,” Owen says. “Together we’ve developed a new strategic direction focused on fleet simplification and market expansion. Additionally, we’ve put considerably more emphasis on building our brand, which led to changing our name to ‘Airshare.’ These moves are already spearheading significant growth for us.”

The rebrand was critical to accomplishing the company’s goals of expanding its customer base and increasing visibility in the markets it serves, Tretiak says.

“Incorporating ‘Executive’ within the name was restricting our growth, while our visual identity was severely outdated,” he says. “This was an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves to the market while setting the tone for Airshare becoming more contemporary and progressive. We have a great story to tell, and the rebranding helps us position the company much more effectively within the marketplace.”

The Airshare story centers on customer convenience, efficiency and safety.

“We are the perfect solution for business customers, especially those wanting to go out and back the same day or those needing to make multiple stops during a single trip,” Tretiak says. “We also have a number of leisure customers who use us when traveling to their secondary homes or favorite vacation spots. Our customers appreciate what an hour is worth to them.

“The ability to fly privately significantly reduces the hassle and inconvenience associated with commercial travel, while providing more time to focus on what matters most. We can fly customers to multiple locations throughout the day and still get them home in time for dinner with their family.”

Airshare differentiates itself from competitors by what Tretiak calls a days-based model.

“Most of our competitors sell shares based on hours, which severely limits the ability of those customers to maximize their usage of the aircraft,” he says. “We offer shares in increments of days, meaning our customers can get as much usage out of their aircraft as possible within a day.

“Airshare planes and crew stay with our customers throughout the entire day, allowing for flexibility in case a meeting runs late, or if they want to extend their trip a little longer. When you optimize the way you fly within our model, we can save you 25 to 40 percent in costs compared to our competition.”

Safety is the company’s highest priority, he added. Airshare recently was awarded a platinum rating by ARGUS, the industry standard for analyzing flight and management operations within aviation. It also continues to be Stage 2 certified by the Internal Standard for Business Aircraft Operations, the entity responsible for auditing all aspects of its business.

Owen believes the real-world solutions Airshare provides customers are a formula for continued expansion and growth.

“We are aggressively exploring opportunities to expand our operations eastward, with a goal to be in the Chicago market at some point in early 2019,” he says. “This expansion, combined with dedicated efforts towards increasing our customer base through a more sophisticated and targeted marketing strategy, will lead to rapid growth of Airshare in the coming years.

“It may sound cliché, but we truly believe the sky is the limit for our company.”

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