Owning an aircraft is a big responsibility, and utilizing it effectively is an even bigger challenge. The rewards can be great, though, when the aircraft operations are entrusted to an aircraft management company that always has the owner's best interests in mind. St. Louis area aircraft owners can have that peace of mind when entrusting locally-based Gateway Jets to manage their personal or business aircraft.
In advance of the upcoming Gateway Jets Open House to be held at St. Louis Downtown Airport March 25, The Aero Experience met with company President Corey Tomczak and Vice President Josh Vinson, both experienced corporate pilots who fly all the aircraft under management. We wanted to learn more about aircraft management and how Gateway Jets serves the St. Louis area aviation community. In Part One of this series, we discussed the aircraft management business and how Gateway Jets has structured their services to include the most popular and efficient aircraft types used for business and personal air travel. In Part Two, we will get a more in-depth look into how Gateway Jets provides aircraft management services for their St. Louis area clients and future plans for service at St. Louis Downtown Airport.
Building on the theme we developed in the previous story, we look again at the needs of the aircraft owner as they are established through consultation with Gateway Jets before or after the aircraft is actually acquired. Even though aircraft management and flying operations are highly regulated, the needs and desires of the client/owner can vary significantly.
Most of the owners working with Gateway Jets are non-pilots or are not rated for the aircraft under management. "Each client is different, and it takes a relationship to be built with them," Corey Tomczak explained. "A few owners like to be completely hands-off - they delegate responsibility 100% and are happy just writing expenses and trusting us to do the work and look after their best interests. Other owners like to be a little more involved, like to see the behind-the-scenes processes and offer input." Some clients need contract pilots, and Gateway Jets has the flexibility to have crews available for fixed terms. Either way, having the ability to arrive when desired at the closest airport to the business or vacation spot, without the crowds and delay experienced with commercial airline travel, in many cases justifies the use of a managed aircraft.
Both Corey Tomczak and Josh Vinson appreciate the range of interests their clients have, and make sure the aircraft under management and their crews are ready when needed. Having an effective aircraft management company on your side can make the selection of the proper aircraft much easier, and it assures that the use of the aircraft will be an asset rather than a liability.
"When you have a third party, you have a check and balance system," Tomczak told The Aero Experience. "When getting more complex airplanes, the owners may not realize the associated costs and complexity of the operations. They are usually the ones who sell the airplane eventually." Selling the aircraft, often at a loss, not only wastes money for the owner, but causes the whole aircraft ownership experience to have been a wasted opportunity.
Gateway Jets can help prevent that situation. "It's a time and money savings," Tomczak continued. "We can guarantee time and hassle savings by using our experience to do things the correct way. Even with our management fee, they will save money." Part of that savings comes from industry maintenance sourcing and budget forecasting services that greatly reduce the chances of the most common unexpected costs of aircraft ownership.
Gateway Jets is looking ahead to a year of growth as the year unfolds. Both Tomczak and Vinson bring many years of flying, aircraft ownership and industry expertise to the St. Louis aviation community, and they are preparing to give Gateway Jets a larger presence. Part of that increase in capacity will be on display at the upcoming Gateway Jets Open House to be held at St. Louis Downtown Airport this Saturday, March 25. The hangar used for the event will be the base of operations at the airport, and is conveniently located for client access from the street. The hangar is climate controlled, includes a lounge and flight preparation area, and of course room to safely store the managed aircraft. "It will add value,"Josh Vinson mentioned. "It serves as a staging area for clients to come in and unwind, get ready for departure or do some last-minute business."
Corey Tomczak also has another plan for Gateway Jets: fill the hangar, especially with Citation jets. For those looking to acquire Citations, especially the later, more efficient models, Gateway Jets can help. "Citations are quiet, comfortable and efficient, Tomczak said. "From a pilot and passenger standpoint, they're everything you could ask for. We would like to get a few more of them in our fleet."
You can see a Citation and other aircraft and learn more about aircraft management Saturday at the Gateway Jets Open House. RSVP today at Corey@Gateway-Jets.com or 314-203-4712.
The Aero Experience thanks Corey Tomczak and Josh Vinson from Gateway Jets for their hospitality during our interview.