I think it takes a lot of courage to start a small air charter business at a time when taking a private charter has become a shorthand symbol of corporate greed and worse. But the allure of a private charter, of being able to skip the slog of commercial flying, continues to attract many. Kavoo, a new company out of Danbury, Connecticut,
hopes to attract flyers in need of a little relief.
Kavoo's fleet includes an 8-passenger King Air 200 and Cirrus SR-22 single-engine planes. The company is owned by Curtis Brunjes and Richard Humphrey, who are also owners of Curtiss Aero, a two-year-old aviation maintenance shop and flight school located next to Kavoo at the Danbury Airport. When air travelers require larger aircraft including jets to get them to farther destinations faster, Kavoo plans to be its customers' single point of contact for all of their air charter needs through its extensive preferred provider network.
I recently chatted with Garrison Leykam, the Director, New Business Development for Kavoo.Leykam, whose career includes a long history in both travel and the music industries wants to take the independent spirit of smaller record labels and apply it to flying offering passengers the benefits of personalized service. I had a few questions for Leykam on the future of the charter industry, flying in general and why flying private can, in some cases, make financial sense. First of all, why the name Kavoo?
Kavoo is a takeoff on the aviation term "cavu" meaning "ceiling and visibility unlimited;" the ideal flying conditions in which there are neither large clouds nor haze. Using the new spelling of Kavoo not only gives us a unique branding identity but it also extends the meaning to reinforce our vision of Kavoo as the new generation of air charter. It's pretty daring to start an airline charter business at time when many others have flamed out, what do you think will help Kavoo succeed where others have failed?
Thousands of air taxi services are operating with a single airplane in a confined geographic area whereas Kavoo is pursuing national branding of its services. Our founders, Curtis Brunjes and Richard Humphrey, have enabled Kavoo to operate debt free without a capital investment in a huge fleet of aircraft. Our ability to create a national footprint is built upon utilizing planes owned by others on a revenue share platform. It's a win-win all around. More buyers can purchase planes with Kavoo helping them to offset their operating costs and Kavoo grows its fleet. The ultimate winner is the Kavoo customer whose choices of when and where to fly with us grow exponentially. What do you see as the future of private jet travel, do you think it will return to the rate it was at prior to the recession?
I believe that the future of private jets will continue to be a very important mode of transportation for a specific market segment. There has been a recent decline in jet travel due to a combination of economic pressure and public scrutiny. But, I truly believe that this segment will bounce back. Most importantly, private jet travel needs to be deployed in an economic way, namely, toward smaller size aircraft. Right now, a properly-sized VLJ doesn't exist in the marketplace but it's coming. As this occurs, we'll see an increase in the number of operations as opposed to the number of seats and truly small jets will do well.