North Carolina-based fractional aircraft provider Jet It has added two Embraer Phenom 300s to its fleet and plans to add more, according to co-founder and CEO Glenn Gonzales. “We’ve got our first two Phenoms now in operation, or soon to be in operation,” he told AIN earlier this week. “One’s getting the Wi-Fi installed. So both airplanes will be in operation before the end of this week.”
Founded in 2018 as an exclusive operator of HondaJet Elites, the arrival of the Phenom 300s come after Private Jet Card Comparisons reported that Gonzales sent a letter to Jet It shareholders over issues with the Honda Aircraft's support and reliability of its aircraft, including reportedly incurring “$20 million in off-fleet expenses.”
“That was a private email sent to all of our shareowners,” said Gonzales, a former Honda Aircraft regional sales manager. “Our owners asked, ‘How are things? Why are we having delays?’ And we needed to respond to them with our opinion as to what is going on. That’s what it was.”
He declined to specify any issues Jet It may have had with Honda Aircraft support or HondaJet reliability. “I can’t go into a ton of detail at this point in time,” Gonzales added. As for the $20 million in additional expenses Jet It incurred and its financial impact, he added, “Fortunately, we have great backing. We have a business model that works. We’ve always operated very efficiently.”
The Phenom 300 is an aircraft that Jet It can continue to build on its business, Gonzales said. “We’re just excited to be able to give our owners what they want. And that’s what the whole letter was about, is to have that conversation to say, ‘Look this is another option, a vehicle we’re excited about putting into our operation and sharing with you.' The benefits associated with that, you get a lot more range, you get more payload, you get a company behind it that has a lot more experience in supporting it.”
For now, the HondaJets will remain a part of Jet It’s fleet. “I love the airplane. It’s a great airplane,” Gonzales said. “We expect to continue to operate the airplane as long as our customers are happy with the airplane.”
But “at the end of the day, it’s a free enterprise society. We’ve got to do what’s necessary to support our customers. They’re the ones who own the airplanes and we’ve got to take care of them.”
Honda Aircraft said in a statement to AIN that the HondaJet dispatch reliability rate is 99.7 percent and that it has added four authorized service center locations this year, bringing its total to 10 in the U.S. and 11 internationally, including two in Europe.