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Falcon 7X specialist Planet Nine turns one
It has been a busy first year for Planet Nine Private Air, which now has a fleet of five aircraft and a team of 60 employees working from bases in Van Nuys and Teterboro. A third location could be on the horizon.
In the back row are pilot Ben Kightly, co-founder Matt Walter, director of maintenance Joe Ponce, chief pilot Harvey Underwood, pilot Noel Peterson and maintenance manager Cassie Terlecki. In the front row are Heather Roberts from logistics, intern Amanda Selby and director of inflight Hilary Clark.

Van Nuys, California-based Planet Nine Private Air (P9PA) is celebrating its first birthday. In the 11 months since it first took to the air it has touched down in 262 different airports with its Dassault Falcon 7Xs. Its longest charter routes have connected Tokyo, Japan with Dundee in Scotland and Washington Dulles International with Tahiti in the South Pacific. Globally, Paris and London have been Planet Nine's most popular charter destinations from its Van Nuys and Teterboro bases. Its workforce, which started out at 35 in June 2018 has grown to over 60, including 35 pilots, five of whom are female.

Planet Nine is entering its second year with an expanded fleet of five next generation Falcon 7Xs, plus one managed Gulfstream G650, newly added to its Part 135 charter certificate. A second Gulfstream, a G550, joins its aircraft management division in July. P9PA also manages a privately owned Bombardier Global 5000 based out of Teterboro.

“We are very pleased at how we have been accepted in the premium ultra long-haul charter market,” says co-founder Matt Walter, co-founder. “The success we have enjoyed would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of our employees and the industry partners who have supported us.”

The operator extends its thanks to Paula Kraft and her DaVinci Inflight Training Institute in Florida; AirCare FACTS, MRO provider Thornton Aircraft Services in Van Nuys, especially Steve Zimmerman and Tim Johnson; the Dassault Falcon AOG Response teams at Teterboro and Paris Le Bourget and FBO partners Castle and Cooke Aviation at Van Nuys, Jet Aviation at Teterboro and Harrods Aviation at London Luton airports.

“Inside one year we are proud to have built an exemplary inflight team which is setting new standards for service in the private aviation sector,” says the company's head of inflight services. “We have cultivated a passionate group of professionals who are 'fully hands on.' Their creativity and attention to detail has resulted in a unique experience for our discerning clients. We don't just aim to please, we aim to be remembered."

Heather Johnson, Planet Nine's logistics manager also highlighted her happiness in the role. “You know when you're in the right job when you look forward to work,” she said.

Co-founders Matt Walter and James Seagrim, Planet Nine's director of operations, previously ran Burbank, California-based Advanced Air Management (AAM), an operator they built up to a 15 strong long-range business jet fleet, before selling it in 2016. “Drawing on our experiences at AAM, we have continued where we left off, managing the business with full integrity, honesty and transparency,” explains Walter. “This has been reflected by a tremendous amount of repeat business from a charter broker fraternity who know us well, and it has been extremely pleasing to start where we left off.

"Over the next 12 months our goal is to continue growing our team of aviation professionals, continuing growing our relationships with traditional and disruptive companies, and also to further expand our ultra-long range aircraft fleet. We do aim to stay as a specialist in the ultra long-haul market. This is our niche, which sets us apart from other US-based private jet operators. This is the market we know so well.”

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