Nicholas Air, which is headquartered in Oxford, Mississippi, and offers a range of fractional and jet card options as well as leasing and management, took on a number of aircraft last year despite the pandemic. It says that business is thriving. The company is responsible for several aircraft types, including the Phenom 100, CJ3, Citation Latitude and Challenger 300. It has a penchant for Embraer: “We were one of the few operators to purchase aircraft direct from the OEM last year by picking up multiple aircraft from Embraer directly at a time when most people were turning aircraft back, or turning orders back,” comments founder and CEO NJ Correnti.
“Whereas we saw brands really struggle through the summer and even close shop, our customer base continued to fly even through the early stages of the pandemic and the uncertain stages, which I think signifies the health of our business,” adds VP of sales and marketing Peder von Harten. “Overall for 2020, we saw flight hours go up 45 per cent, and revenue was up 62.2 per cent from 2019 to 2020.”
Nicholas Air flies primarily in the US, South America, the Caribbean and Canada. “For us the Embraer product has been incredibly reliable, and it’s been an aircraft that has had a tonne of demand from our customer base,” von Harten adds. “Our fleet is different than other brands with similar models, but the most noteworthy response we get is about the quality. The amount of time and attention we pay to the quality and cleanliness of our fleet, plus some different seating configurations, are exceptionally impactful to the market. We saw a large proportion of customers leaving other providers to come to Nicholas Air purely based on our aircraft being better than what they had experienced before elsewhere.”
Correnti goes on to say that ‘virtually every OEM’ has been knocking on Nicholas' door over the last 12 months in an attempt to secure a bulk order. The final decision is yet to be announced, but he expects to put an order in this year: “Our process to grow the fleet is really borne out of the conversations we have with our members on their preferences, combined with great analytics. Hearing feedback and then implementing what they are seeking is what we are looking for. I think the industry has seen the growth trend we’ve been on and it's exciting to see the manufacturers want to be a part of that.”