The DNA Approach

An Interview with Chet Dudzik, Jr., President, JetWay Private Air, Ltd., Greenwich, Conn.

Editors’ Note : Chet Dudzik graduated from Boston College and Villanova University Law School. Prior to founding JetWay & Jet Charter Westchester in 2006, Dudzik was the founding Head of Sales at Marquis Jet and Director of Sales at Sentient Jet. For over 20 years, he has been an aircraft owner, a private instrument-rated pilot and active member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Company Brief : Founded in 2006, Jetway Private Air provides customized private aviation solutions to individuals, business executives, VIPs and global travelers. JetWay studies each flight and each client to determine the most optimum “on-demand charter” solution for a client: either keep their jet with them throughout their itinerary or secure attractive “one way” pricing or available “empty legs” for each of their legs on a longer duration trip.

Q: What makes JetWay different from other aviation companies?
A: Its the unique “JetWay DNA” approach that we employ. The reality is that every customer’s trip has a unique DNA that must be understood before it can be addressed with the right on demand charter solution. What’s happening in the market today is that companies are packaging their products, whether they be “fractional” or “card” as a “one size fits all”. But the fact is every trip for every client is different. In our DNA approach, the D stands for destination; the N stands for the number of days in your itinerary (from the time you leave until the time you return); and the A stands for the average number of occupied flight hours per day of your itinerary. When you perform this analysis and understand the unique nature of each trip, it’s easy to determine the most optimal “on demand charter” solution to apply.

One of the reasons I started JetWay was to expose the inefficiencies in the private jet market. Jet cards are extremely inefficient and wasteful with their high hourly rates, excessive fuel surcharges (that cover trips that the client isn’t even on), “peak period” booking restrictions, and penalties (such as “interchange” charges that can run upwards of 20%). Click Here to see how JetWay works better for you than the larger jet card programs. Almost every private jet trip is best better suited for an “on demand charter” solution. And the fact is that fractional card companies like Marquis Jet send their clients “charter” aircraft all of the time (in their contracts these companies reserve the right to send a charter plane that’s “comparable” to the one requested) but if they save money on that plane they don’t pass along the savings to their client. At JetWay we study the DNA of each trip and try to save you money for our clients when we can. We recently saved a client $78,000 on a quick trip to the Caribbean by securing an on demand “charter” solution and keeping his jet with him during his stay. I told him that on this trip alone, we saved him what it cost to send my kid to Amherst for two years!

Q: Is your client base just the top-tier or is it broader?
A: We appeal to a broader client base because we’re not capital intensive. An “on demand charter” is the most optimal solution because you only pay for that trip just before it flies. You do not pay high fuel surcharges and subsidize flights you are not on and you don’t have to cough up a huge deposit. There’s no cost to become a JetWay client; you pay no fee yet receive our comprehensive oversight on each and every one of your trips. We monitor the jet selection and safety before each and every trip, provide all concierge services that you find at the larger and more costly programs and are available 24X7. But not even top-tier clients like to waste money. My challenge is to educate people, and break down the myths that have been created through the marketing by large companies.

Q: Do you use all types of planes or just certain ones?
A: We connect our clients to a wide variety of planes that they prefer. When we do our JetWay DNA analysis, it’s not always a jet that’s appropriate; sometimes a turbo-prop makes more sense. As long as the client is comfortable. And as an aviation professional in a company whose role is oversight, I make sure that I’m current on all aviation industry news, reading all the industry publications, so if for example there’s an air worthiness directive on a particular plane or jet, I’ll know about it and keep my clients informed.

Q: How are you approaching the corporate market?
A: Our challenge is that corporations often go directly to the operators. We don’t believe that’s wise, because we serve as an independent objective advocate that does independent trip checks, reviews invoices, and can speak up if something doesn’t look right, like a $7,000 de-icing charge for a “light” jet in Aspen. Often, if you don’t have that advocate, you’re going to leave money on the table, and you might be compromising safety and service.

Q: How difficult has it been to start a business from scratch?
A: I have such a good database of clients from my years in the industry and they’ve been following me; they’ve been very loyal. And that’s a great base on which to build and grow. It’s been a lot of hours, and it is challenging. I’m going through a lesson in building a company. I’ve had a lot of sales management experience, and I’ve had a lot of sales production experience. And I have always approached my business inside of my past employers as my own franchise. I really had my own control and procedures in place. So that was great training for when I opened my own company. Now I’m just basically using those same processes and procedures. The things that take up a lot of my time now are PR and marketing.

Q: Has the experience been what you expected?
A: Well, I exceeded my target in 2006. I started this business in the fall, when people were making their holiday plans. So I knew I had to hustle to capture that year-end business and I was very happy with that performance. Overall, 2007 has gotten off to a terrific start thanks to my great clients and supporters. So it’s better than I expected but there’s still a lot of work to be done. I’m never satisfied, but compared to the reasonable targets that I put in place, we’re doing very well.