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The Marquis Jet Story
Flying in Style
By: Jennifer James
Jul. 23, 2004 12:00 AM
Richard "Rip" Hamilton, the star player of the NBA champion Detroit Pistons, uses his Marquis Jet Card frequently.
When it comes to air travel, convenience, comfort, and security are paramount, but unfortunately, next to impossible to come by when flying commercially. To complicate matters, throw in endless security lines, arduous connections, and unreliable timetables, and you've got argument enough to just stay home. The solution? Flying privately with the Marquis Jet Card.
Just ask Richard "Rip" Hamilton, the star player of the NBA champion Detroit Pistons: "Winning the Championship takes more work than most people realize. Without the ease and reliability of Marquis Jet, I don't know how I'd get it all done, or want to."
In 2001, Marquis Jet - in conjunction with fractional aviation industry leader NetJets - revolutionized private air travel with the introduction of the Marquis Jet Card, a private jet debit card redeemable for flying time. The Card, sold in 25-hour increments, is as straightforward as it comes in an industry well known for having strings attached (positioning fees, takeoff/landing fees, catering fees, and the like.) With Marquis, you purchase the travel time you need in 25-hour increments, and that's it - no service or quality concerns typically associated with charter alternatives and no long-term commitment associated with fractional programs. "This is the next best thing to owning my own plane," says Hamilton, who has used Marquis Jet to fly to games during the season and to maximize his time for personal commitments.
Such a no-nonsense approach to travel was exactly what the founding team of entrepreneurs - whose varied career experience ranged from sports management to entertainment to Wall Street - had in mind when they dreamed up Marquis Jet. Ironically, however, they credit their naiveté about the challenge of creating a new private aviation category for much of their success. "We were so green to the field of private aviation," says Bill Allard, president and CEO of Marquis Jet. "But in this case, it was a good thing. We weren't scared off by the magnitude of the task before us. We knew there was an immediate opportunity to create a new private aviation category, and we simply did not stop until we did it."
The 25-hour Marquis Jet Card program they created is available for as little as $109,900 for a 7-passenger private jet flown by two FAA certified captains, up to $299,900 for the luxurious, Gulfstream IV-SP with availability for 13 passengers, a flight attendant, and intercontinental capabilities.
Post creating the lucrative jet card niche of private aviation, success came quickly. Marquis Jet has enjoyed tremendous sales growth, right from the start. In fact, 2003 brought a record-breaking increase of 200% over the previous year's sales, making Marquis Jet one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the country.
Marquis Jet's sterling reputation as the undisputed leader in Jet Cards is based on much more than impressive sales figures alone. The Robb Report recently named Marquis Jet the 2004 "Best of the Best" in fractional jet cards, highlighting Marquis Jet's exclusive alliance with NetJets and further solidifying the company's position as a private aviation and luxury brand leader. The Robb Report also acknowledged Marquis Jet's partnerships with other leading global luxury brands including the Ritz Carlton Club, Exclusive Resorts, Avis, Sea Ray, and Ermenegildo Zegna, all intended to provide Card owners with value-added offerings. Marquis Jet has been awarded many service-related accolades including winning the 2004 Flight International Aerospace Industry Award for Business/ Corporate Aviation and being named "Best Private Jet Card Program" by Business Traveler magazine, among others.
As significant as the accolades, is how Marquis Jet has raised the bar in terms of the safety, service, and flexibility now available to those who desire what was previously reserved just for those who would purchase NetJets fractional shares. By offering access to NetJets 25 hours at a time, Marquis Jet Card Owners access NetJets' world-class fleet of more than 500 planes operated by 2,800 of the best-trained pilots in the world, all backed by uncompromising maintenance standards and more service excellence awards than anyone else in the private aviation industry.
"NetJets is the gold standard and acknowledged leader in the fractional aircraft ownership industry," said Kevin Russell, executive vice president of NetJets (a Berkshire Hathaway company). "At NetJets, we provide our fractional aircraft owners and Marquis Jet Card owners with the best possible experience in private flying. Our focus on safety, security, pilot training, and customer satisfaction are unmatched anywhere else in the world of private aviation."
To sweeten the Marquis Jet business proposition, aircraft availability is guaranteed 365 days per year with as few as 10 hours' notice. Want to change your destination mid-trip or pick up a friend or two along the way? No problem. Marquis Jet Card owners have the freedom to interchange between aircraft types and programs in the United States and Europe in the same way NetJets fractional owners can. Marquis Card owners also receive special value-added benefits from Marquis Jet's alliance partners. "We're always trying to provide value added benefits to our Card owners," says Bill Allard. "Combining access to NetJets 25 hours at a time with the many value-added benefits, makes us without question the providers of the best value out there." With owner retention at more than 90% (either through Jet Card renewals or follow-on purchases of a NetJets fractional share), Marquis Jet is poised to stay on top of their field.
And as a true sign of success, Marquis Jet has successfully become embedded in the pop culture lexicon. High-profile card owners such as Hollywood A-listers Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kelly Ripa, and Ben Affleck and superstar athletes like Jim Furyk, Tracy McGrady, and Jason Giambi paved the way, but it was the brand's appearance on NBC's top-rated hit "The Apprentice" that sealed the deal. Series star Donald Trump has described Marquis' involvement with the show as "the world's greatest infomercial." However, while these and other stars enjoy the service and image of the Marquis Jet Card program, the company is most proud of the 1,500 plus Card owners that "no one knows."
Ken Austin, Marquis Jet executive vice president and chief marketing and business development officer, agrees wholeheartedly. "'The Apprentice' really made us a household name," he says. "Now, whenever we go out wearing a Marquis Jet hat, people approach us and ask how they can get one for themselves. One of our senior salespeople was offered $1,000 for his hat!"
Marquis Jet Fleet
Citation V Ultra
Testimonials From Some Of Marquis Jet's Regular Clients
"This is my second year flying with the Marquis Jet Card program, and I really didn't consider anyone else. My Marquis Jet experience has been exceptional."
"The most important thing to us and our family when flying private is safety. With Marquis we know we are flying on the NetJets fleet, with the best pilots and on the youngest planes."
"Having my jet on call means extra time spent with my wife and friends in Florida. The program has changed my life, taking away the pressure of crowded airports and flight delays. My Marquis Jet Card has put my time back in my hands."
"On this team it's not about cutting corners. With my Marquis Jet Card, backed by NetJets, I fly on the world's largest private jet fleet, with the most experienced pilots and the support of world class operations. Marquis provides premium quality service, convenience, and peace of mind. There's no better organization for myself and my family."
"Think of the uses. Vacationing with your kids and grandkids on the Cape, golfing the Monterey Peninsula on a whirlwind for eight, recapturing that honeymoon in the Caribbean, doing the Super Bowl in style, a 3-day getaway for the board of directors, or getting anywhere when your time is limited. Time is money: why waste it!"
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