Startup Fleet Club plans to charter as-yet-unnamed certified US airlines to offer affluent US vacation homeowners exclusive membership-based VIP shuttles between South Florida and New York and Colorado, the company confirmed to ch-aviation.
Aimed at residents of eight exclusive South Florida community communities, the services will depart from private jet terminals in Miami Int’l to Vail/Eagle in Gypsum, Colo. and to Islip in Long Island, New York, chosen for its proximity to the hamptons Long Island flights are scheduled to begin in December with a B737 and Colorado flights in March 2023 with a B757. Flights will operate two or three times a week on a set schedule that increases around the holidays, with less off-season, reports Private Jet Card Comparisons.
This follows permission granted to Fleet Club by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) on February 4, 2022 for an exception to its charter rules, allowing it to offer charter passenger services on a certified Part 121 airline. In its April 2021 application, Fleet Club had attempted to charter a B737-700 from Sun Country Airlines’ existing charter fleet.
However, those plans appear to have changed: “We will use different airlines for each city pair and choose the best airline based on the specifics of each route. However, Sun Country will not be our airline for the Miami routes in 2023, we have had excellent 737 charter experiences with Sun Country over the past few years. We will make an announcement about our carrier partner for MIA – ISP/EGE. We will fly a B737NG MIA-ISP and a B757 for EGE,” a company spokesman said.
The Fleet Club’s plans follow in the footsteps of the precedent that established twice-weekly shuttle service between Oakland and Kona, Hawaii by Kona Associates. Similar members-only flying clubs have been operated by the Yellowstone Mountain Club since 2014. Baker’s Bay Associates since 2012; and Kona Express of Hawaii since 2018.
Pursuant to the regulatory filing, Fleet Club is a Delaware limited liability company incorporated in 2021. Flights are available to a maximum of 375 invited members, their families, household staff and invited guests. Members must have investable assets greater than $5 million.
The business model relies on members paying significant upfront admission fees and annual fees thereafter, but not being charged per flight. The company’s capital comes from membership dues, which fund the operation and maintenance of aircraft and the associated management fees. Fleet Club intends to outsource back office functions such as reservations, finance and member relations.
According to the company’s website, Fleet Club (trading name The Fleet Clubs) is the brainchild of Chief Executive Officer Bernard Schwartz, a US entrepreneur who made his name in the luxury hospitality sector and also co-founded the US hotel management and development company APICII.
Looking ahead, Schwartz sees opportunities to add more routes but declined to elaborate. At some point he wants to buy planes and outfit them with custom interiors, he told Private Jet Card Comparisons.