Volato has reorganised its leadership team as part of a strategic plan to more than double its fleet over the next two years.
"As a rapidly scaling company, it's tempting to focus solely on meeting the immediate demands of growth," says CEO Matt Liotta. "However, we understand the importance of maturation alongside expansion. This demonstrates our commitment to evolving our business structure, optimising operations and setting new benchmarks for excellence in private aviation."
CFO Keith Rabin has been promoted to president. His background in sales, maintenance, system operations, human resources and IT makes him uniquely qualified to lead Volato's core business.
"Keith's history of leadership at JSX, where he successfully managed fundraising initiatives and rapidly expanded the team to 250 employees, is indicative of the direction we aim to take,” adds Liotta.
A central part of the strategic reorganisation is the formation of a new commercial team. Gary Waldman, now executive vice president of fleet performance, previously held executive roles at XOJet, JetSuite and Jet Edge, where he focused on scaling aviation utilisation and advising on technology development. Brian Coulter, executive vice president of fleet operations, performed general duties pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was Boeing 737 captain and director of safety at Air South Airlines. Norm Katz, executive vice president of sales, comes from sales executive roles at JetSuite Air, NetJets (MarquisJet) and Sentient Jet. James Cuff, vice president of marketing and business development, has a resumé that includes developing national advertising campaigns for Australia's top beer brands, managing the 'A Diamond is Forever' campaign for De Beers and overseeing key projects for Tommy Hilfiger. Clinton Holmes, president of Volato Aircraft Management Services, is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and holds an MBA in finance. He is an ATP with over 6,000 hours of flight time, and has served as a chief pilot, FAA check airman and operational manager of GC Aviation.
To bolster its financial framework as it navigates the complexities of going public this year through a merger with PROOF Acquisition Corp (PACI), Volato has engaged Pacific International to lead the search for a new chief financial officer. Until the appointment is made, Rabin will continue to fulfil the responsibilities of the position.
"The assemblage of this phenomenal commercial team reflects not just our growth ambitions but also our commitment to maturation. We understand the invaluable asset that seasoned industry expertise brings to a young company like ours," says Rabin. "This is a transformative period for Volato, one that promises to redefine private aviation and set new standards in operational excellence and customer service."
Liotta will lead the combined company, and says: “Volato is primed to be a change maker in the private aviation industry, and we are excited to be merging with PACI to drive this opportunity forward. Our asset-light business model is structured to maximise fleet utilisation and profitability, while our attention to service provides a seamless and elevated aviation experience for our owners and passengers. Since inception, our team has consistently exceeded its goals, including generating nearly $100 million in revenue in 2022. Bringing Volato to the public markets will allow us to build on this momentum and accelerate our vision to provide unique and customised travel experiences that deliver a better aviation experience for all our customers.”
PACI CEO John Backus notes: “We were impressed by the depth of experience across the management team, which is highly complementary to PACI's deep aviation acumen and expertise. We were also attracted to Volato's innovative yet simple business model, set within a highly regulated, traditional industry that is ripe for disruption. The private aviation industry is buffered from many of the headwinds that face other industries, and Volato is further protected through its entry-point positioning and efficient best-in-class HondaJet fleet. We believe this merger and related funding provide a unique high-growth, low-volatility opportunity to be part of a strong operating company, and we are committed to helping drive growth over the long-term.”
Volato CCO Nicholas Cooper adds: “We believe the merger with PACI will provide us access to capital that funds our business plan through to profitability, alongside a complimentary team that is eager to work together to drive innovation in private aviation. With the additional equity funding, we can continue executing against our near-term business objectives. Overall, we are excited to broaden our investor base and share a compelling long term investment opportunity underpinned by a unique business model and revenue visibility."
In the meantime, the operator is to equip its fractional fleet with SmartSky LITE inflight wi-fi systems. The technology will initially be installed on more than 20 new aircraft, with the option to upgrade existing aircraft.
"Outstanding customer experience is a critical point of differentiation for Volato, and inflight wi-fi with streaming-level performance is a very important part of that overall experience," says COO Mike Prachar. "After evaluating the available wi-fi options for our fleet, SmartSky demonstrated the capability to deliver the high-quality connected experience our customers expect. We were also attracted to the fact that its software-defined features will allow us to keep up with new technology developments without requiring new hardware, so we can keep our customers flying with no disruptions to service or the latest inflight wi-fi speeds."