Charter Operator AB Jets Soaring to New Heights
This article was written by Amos Maki and originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.
David Turner began working for a local charter plane operation in 20000, but five years later Turner decided he needed a change of scenery and started flying for Memphis-based AB Jets.
In 2010 after working his way through the company’s ranks, Turner teamed up with Andrew Bettis to become the co-owner of AB Jets, and the two have soared to new heights.
It was a lot to absorb but I worked hard,” said Turner, 38. “We spent a lot of time together, got to know each other’s ideas, each other’s strengths, and weaknesses, and how we worked together, and it’s been a great partnership.”
Operating out of Memphis International Airport, AB Jets is a privately owned and operated charter, sales, and management company celebrating 15 years in operation. AB Jets now has 40 employees, up from 18 just three years ago, and sales are up around 400 percent over the last five years. The company is currently expanding operations in Nashville to improve service in the Southeast and offer more flight options and availability to clients.
“Our success and growth really do highlight how important it s to have a great team behind you with everybody trying to achieve a common goal,” said Turner.
After starting out with one jet, the company now operates a fleet of eight Lear jets – including two Lear 60s equipped with new interiors and complimentary Wi-Fi – and is licensed to fly in the U.S., Canada, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. AB Jets has a 16,000 square foot hangar and 4,000 square feet of office space at Wilson Air Center.
Turner said one of the company’s keys to success is keeping a stable of well-appointed and well-maintained aircraft with the touches – gleaming aircraft, immaculate leather, and polished woodwork – that leave a mark on customers.
“The clients we’ve had were really poleased with our service and recommended us to other people, and it grew from there,” said Turner. “That’s stuff people really notice and remember.”
AB Jets does do some professional marketing but still leans heavily on word-of-mouth.
“Anyone can offer the same type of aircraft we do, but we take it to the next level so the passengers really notice it when they’re on board,” said Turner.
“Anybody can have the same places we have, but where you really separate yourself is customer service and that is what really brings people back.”
AB Jets places a high priority on safety.
The company is the only charter company operating out of Memphis to receive a platinum certification from the independent ARGUS rating system.
The program was created in response to our clients and it’s really taking off.
AB Jets also believes in making it as easy as possible for their clients to fly with them. In 2011, the company created a simple and efficient prepay program, the A to B Jet Card, which essentially allows clients to fly whenever they need to because they have already paid for the time in advance. The program has increased 320 percent since 2012.
“The program was created in response to our clients and it’s really taken off,” said Turner.
While the company has experienced robust growth since Turner and Bettis teamed up, the duo can’t wait to see what heights they can achieve over the next five years. “We’ve had a good run the last five years,” said Turner. “We’re excited to see what the next five years hold.”
Locally owned and operated AB Jets is celebrating 15 years operating out of the Memphis International Airport (KMEM).
“By getting to know our customers, we’re able to understand their preferences for each flight.” – Andrew Bettis, founder of AB Jets
“With Nashville’s rapid economic growth, market size, and centralized location, we knew this was a good fit for expanding our operations.”
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