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A Race to the Bottom

A Race to the Bottom

The Pitfalls of Cost-Cutting in Private Aviation – By Karen Brost

On the surface, it’s easy to identify the advantages of traveling via private aircraft, with convenience, comfort and exclusivity ranking at the top of the list. But underneath it all, Dan Drohan, CEO of the private charter and aircraft asset management company Solairus Aviation, has seen a disturbing trend toward cost-cutting in the industry that he believes will eventually lead to a decline in service, and, even worse, a decline in safety.

He says that this situation began in the mid 2000s when the private aviation market contracted and the industry sought ways to increase user consumption. “So,” he explains, “the industry went for the low hanging fruit – by lowering the price to make it more accessible and hoping to drive up the volume.” This, he says, lead to scores of new ways to think about flying privately, which included pricing by the seat, by the mile, by the one-way, by the leg, by monthly membership and so on. “The consumer wanted a cheaper price for something that was perceived to be expensive, because it is! And the industry responded the only way it could to survive: it made private air travel less expensive.”

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