THE PLANE TRUTH
Founded by engineer and pilot Andrew Douglas in 2011, Air Advantage is a company that provides a number of different services, but perhaps its most important one is this: making people realize that travelling by private jet is not as expensive or restrictive as they imagine.
“We wanted to form a company that gets people to understand what’s really available to them and how they can use private and business aviation to travel and support their business and allow it to expand,” he explains. “We based Air Advantage on the model of private aviation in America, where people understand that using private jets can be a powerful tool. We want people to understand exactly how they can use aviation to their benefit.”
To that extent, the Scottish-based company was created to deconstruct the myth that private aviation exists only as an extreme luxury. When approached from a logical perspective, it can actually – and perhaps contrary to popular thought – save people a lot of money. In order to do that the company has been divided into three distinct parts. Air Advantage itself is a management, sales and acquisitions company offering consultancy and business-aviation management, while At Pretium is a worldwide bespoke air charter company providing private and business air-charter services. There is also a technology division, working on application development and web-based products. While each part of the company provides a unique service, they also complement each other to offer an all-inclusive service regardless of your aviation needs.
“When you talk to someone about private aviation, the barriers automatically go up,” says Andrew. “They say: ‘It’s not for me – it’s for the Taylor Swifts and Lewis Hamiltons of this world because it’s horrendously expensive’. For people looking to travel for leisure, they want the benefits of style, comfort, luxury, speed and safety. On the other hand, for business aviation, cost and productivity is important. We show people that, if you run a company shuttle, the seat cost is lower than what a national carrier would offer if you bought an economy-class seat tomorrow. There are ways you can make savings and ensure you’re not actually paying for the most expensive parts of aviation. Suddenly business aviation makes an enormous amount of sense, especially when you realize that the unaccounted costs of a business trip can rack up quite disproportionately to what people expect.”
Andrew is adamant that At Pretium Jet Charter – which, of course, uses planes and crews that are approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration – can be used by people for personal and private reasons.
“Most private users know the benefits of private and leisure aviation,” he says, “but I love showing businesses how they can be more effective and efficient through the use of business aviation. Once the clients are onboard, it’s effectively their plane. So when you have clients going for a business meeting, the aircraft is not just seats in a row and you’re not just staring at the back of someone’s head. It becomes your flying conference room. It becomes your meeting room. It becomes the place where you can discuss anything in absolute privacy and secrecy, because there is nobody else on your plane and you won’t be overheard by competitors.”