Atlanta, GA - If anyone has their pulse on the state of the aviation industry it is Steve Champness, Atlanta Aero Club president. On August 20th he interviewed Johnny Foster, President & CEO of OGARAJETS, and Dent Thompson, SVP & COO of Phoenix Air during a live broadcast that attracted people from the U.S. and around the world. The overarching concern was how the industry has been affected during the COVID-19 crisis and what segments of the industry are growing in spite of the economic downturn.
“The aviation industry is known for its resilience and innovation during times of crisis and while the commercial airline industry has been hard hit, corporate jet activity is at a 95% activity level compared to last year ,” said Steve Champness, president of the Atlanta Aero Club. “As OGARAJETS and Phoenix Air are in this space, we wanted to get their perspective on how they have pivoted their companies during this time and what they see on the horizon.” OGARAJETS provides a full range of aircraft brokerage, private jet acquisitions, management, leasing, and operational services for its growing list of clients in the U.S. and around the globe. Over its history, OGARAJETS has overseen $5 billion in new and pre-owned aircraft transactions and has worked with clients and partners in more than 50 countries. "No industry has been exempt, but the idea of travel almost dried up overnight," said Johnny Foster, President & CEO of OGARAJETS. "Our clients and businesses are finding that private aviation is a safe outlet during this volatile environment." Phoenix Air's involvement with the COVID-19 crises began earlier than most when they transported 240 Americans from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, China. As a worldwide operating authority to provide passenger services, ambulance services, and high priority air cargo services, when regular transportation systems began to shut down, Phoenix Air was able to provide the services needed to bring these Americans home. They later were instrumental in providing transportation assistance to the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess cruise ships when they had a coronavirus outbreak.
“We have been working in conjunction with the State Department and medical personnel to take citizens of many countries back to their homes,” said Dent Thompson, SVP & COO of Phoenix Air. “We have flown into six different countries in Europe and so this season has been pretty busy for us.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way millions of travelers view commercial travel. Now more than ever, the thought of crowded airport terminals and cramped aircraft cabins have led leisure and business travelers to consider flying private for the first time.
“It’s in times like these where the flexibility and safety of private aviation comes to mind,” said Johnny Foster. “The only confidence I take in all of this is that we have come a long way in a short amount of time. Our next question is not about flying further, but faster.”
About Atlanta Aero Club:
The Atlanta Aero Club is a chapter organization of the National Aeronautics Association. They are a business-oriented club for people that share a passion for aerospace and aviation in their work and play. The Atlanta Aero Club is dedicated to promoting the positive impact of aviation in Georgia through events and programs that showcase Georgia’s extraordinary aerospace industry and professionals.