Looking Back on 2023


As we begin a new year thinking about how we can service you, let’s reflect on 2023.

A message from Andrew Bettis

We all get caught up in the grind, and it’s easy to forget our “mini” accomplishments like those coins we deposit into jars at home. One here, another there without thinking about it; over time, the jar becomes full.

For those of you who may be a bit old-fashioned like me, I’ll ask the bank for coin wrappers to spend a few hours wrapping coins.

Have you ever been amazed by your total dollars when you at last get to do your much-anticipated final count?

This message is like that anticipated count. It can’t be as definitive as the coin assessment because I could never convey every good thing we did together to deposit those single coins into the AB Jets achievement piggy bank. It would read like War and Peace, not like a brief synopsis of a single year!

Fleet Update

Because of all we’ve accomplished since our beginnings in 1999, this was the year we could commit to our Challenger 3500 purchases. We are thrilled to further our partnership with Bombardier, the manufacturer of the world’s best business jets, reflecting our commitment to excellence and innovative aviation.

I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this will be for us at AB Jets. As I predicted in Las Vegas at NBAA-BACE, it will open doors to us I never thought possible. We already see that starting to materialize with exciting new opportunities presenting themselves.

One day, we will fondly reflect on the Learjet as a foundational aircraft that propelled numerous excellent aviation companies into existence. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s commitment to ensuring these exceptional birds continue to soar. David Turner and I have a strategic long-term vision recognizing that patience and flexibility are key, much like in every aspect of life. It’s crucial to navigate the aviation industry steadily, considering its capital-intensive, technical, and regulated nature. In aviation, choosing the tortoise over the hare is consistently a wiser approach, and this principle contributes to sustained success.

Navigating Demand

Demand in the charter market is softening from the pandemic high but remained strong in 2023.

Last February, I attended NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers conference in Nashville, TN. The mood was noticeably dour as those scheduling and booking flights could feel an industry slowdown looming.

Our normal gangbuster Christmas season had passed, and we all knew the numbers were down. We told ourselves then that we estimated the next 18 months would be a grind, which so far has proven true.

We can attribute the drop in the number of flights to the market adjusting from the pandemic high and our temporary removal of two jets, each undergoing a six-week-long painting process.

The good news is that total flights have almost doubled from pre-COVID 2019. I am hopeful that the Federal Reserve will start to trim back its inflation-fighting measures by the third quarter of 2024, and we will begin to see demand ticking back up by the year’s final quarter.


Setting Standards

AB Jets enjoys a hard-earned reputation for reliability.

AB Jets has built quite a reputation as a go-to Operator for Supplemental Lift Services in our industry amongst other Air Charter Companies, Fractional Operators, and Brokers. I can’t tell you how many people approach us, saying, “When I book with AB Jets, my blood pressure goes down because I know they are going to come through for my Client.”

Thanks to the diligent work of our Maintenance Team and Flight Crews, we enjoyed a dispatch reliability rate that I would happily compare with anyone operating at the same frequency.

I’ve learned that there are less-than-candid Operators who are not always forthright with their Clients. They misinform the Broker about their ability to depart at the time requested despite knowing that making an on-time departure is not feasible. Subsequently, they advise the Broker of “an unexpected delay” on the day of the trip.

We never do that at AB Jets. We’re always upfront on the first call. Sometimes we don’t get the trip booked because we can’t meet the requested departure time. However, it has assisted us in building a reputation as an honest and transparent Company.

We had many “mini” accomplishments that added to our client’s quality of service. One such example is on June 28th, when we had a milestone day in which we operated a record number of flight legs without a single interruption. It was a perfect score, and in addition to these flawless flights, we welcomed a new Client on their first flight.


Great Expectations

In 2023, we experienced our lowest ever Flight Crew turnover.

Everyone in aviation faces hiring, retaining, and training challenges. We have seen our share of fluctuations and trials in previous years, which helps us appreciate this achievement.

I want to highlight the resilience displayed by our Flight Crews, a testament to their commitment to AB Jets, a Company where aviation professionals choose to stay and thrive.

AB Jets is a company where aviation professionals choose to stay and thrive. Some contributing factors including our industry-leading compensation and benefits.


Giving Back

We rallied with Courage Thru Cancer to raise $50,000 to benefit St. Jude

In our continued commitment to giving back and supporting charitable causes, we rallied with Courage Thru Cancer to sponsor the Doug Baron CTC Classic Golf Tournament.

Beyond the fundraising achievement, this was a unique opportunity for participants to interact with former patients, the resilient survivors treated at St. Jude. This personal connection offered each player a profound insight into the tangible impact of their contributions, fostering a deeper understanding of the critical work at St. Jude.

We are proud to be part of this most worthwhile endeavor.

Twenty-Five Years of AB Jets

This significant achievement is noteworthy as I reflect on the young 30-year-old man who quit his job, sold his motorcycle (Harley Fatboy, in case you were wondering), and used his last two paychecks to start what was to become AB Jets. I had no business plan or set goals other than ensuring the survival of this venture.

For me, failure was never an option and still isn’t an acceptable outcome. In the early days, my business model was simply to capture as many flights as possible to sustain ongoing operations. Before acquiring our fleet of airplanes, I navigated the challenges of managing aircraft belonging to others. On more than one occasion, we came close to selling the single-managed airplane, but I narrowly averted those setbacks. I owe a debt of gratitude to the people whose recognition of my potential and generosity in retaining an unnecessary airplane was pivotal in launching the enterprise. The next catalyst was David Turner, who joined first as a flight crew member and then as a partner. 

So here’s to us all forging our way through 2024. I wish you and your families a safe, healthy, and prosperous year. Let’s continue all our “mini” accomplishments, each contributing to the next until collectively they culminate in meaningful transformations for our Company’s landscape.

All the best, AB

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