Van Nuys, California-based Planet Nine Private Air is celebrating its second anniversary. On a call with with many of its 69-strong team working from home, the company reflected on a very positive year in which it significantly boosted its client base through an expanded portfolio of aircraft available for charter.
Over the past 12 months Planet Nine has added one Gulfstream G550 and two Gulfstream GVs to its managed fleet, the most recent GV coming on to its Part 135 operating licence this April. The latest Gulfstream additions complement a Gulfstream G650 and Bombardier Global 5000, plus five Dassault Falcon 7Xs. All ten aircraft are available for charter.
“It has been terrific to widen our expertise in the ultra-long-haul charter market with a new type and bolster our professional team with new flight crew and ground personnel,” says co-founder and business development director Matt Walter. Supporting the fleet expansion, Planet Nine has added nearly 20 employees, with new recruits taking sales, marketing, operations, finance, and flying roles.
“Our most rewarding operational work, as a company, reflected our ability to respond in the teeth of the pandemic,” Walter adds. Highlights included the partnering in March with Michelin-style US full service inflight caterer, Level 8 Private Dining, to provide meals for hospital workers in Los Angeles and New York. Planet Nine bulk-purchased face masks from California's online home care and lifestyle brand Parachute, with each sale donated to charities, with surplus supplies dispatched to charities and shelters at its primary Van Nuys and Teterboro bases. And, in a race against time, just before borders closed on March 20, Planet Nine operations hastily engaged with authorities on both sides of the Atlantic before dispatching a flight from London Stansted, UK to Cleveland, Ohio for an anxious mother-to-be who had learned her surrogate was booked to deliver the baby by C-section, the following day.
Planet Nine was also one of the first private charter companies to fly into Tahiti during the crisis.
In other highlights, October 2019 saw Planet Nine debut Collins Aerospace's newly launched oceanic plotting digital chart solution, accessible on the ARINC Direct iPad app, easing pilot workloads while significantly improving safety and efficiency. The company also exhibited at NBAA-BACE in Las Vegas last autumn and at Schedulers and Dispatchers in Charlotte, North Carolina, earlier this year.
Moving into its third year, Planet Nine hopes to add more ultra long-range aircraft to its managed fleet; expand its number of partnerships and increase market share. It will do this through attaining widening loyalty from new clients, including those “who may not have flown privately before but have the discretionary spend, considering this health-conscious new world,” as Walter concludes.