Charter jet deals can be windfall for agents

MACAU -- Agents are still buzzing about a story that came out of ASTA's annual congress: A travel agent in Australia made a whopping $225,000 commission helping an Asia charter service sell one of its planes.

The agent is one of a small number of retailers earning up to six-digit commissions from Jet Asia Limited.

Touted as the "Air Limousine of Asia," the 6-year-old company, based here, has a fleet of on-demand aircraft throughout Asia. With interiors resembling corporate lounges and nearly unlimited flexibility with flights, Jet Asia can accommodate working groups of all sizes and individuals who want unique Asian tour packages.

It's also another way for agents to serve clients who want to travel the way executives, politicians, movie stars and rock musicians do and are willing to spend money for efficiency and convenience.

And it's a way for agents to earn significant commissions.

How it works

Jet Asia has a travel agent commission plan that encourages agents to tell clients about its services, then invite Jet Asia into the relationship and let their leaders do the selling. The bottom line: You keep the clients (and keep them informed) -- and earn a healthy commission for putting the right people together. Jet Asia provides the information. On your first $50,000 charter, you can make $2,500.

The system is complicated, so interested agents should contact Jet Asia directly for details. Essentially, there are three ways to earn commission. The first is by selling hours on a charter flight.

As a client books more charter hours, the agent's commission level increases, starting at 5%, up to 50 hours. At Challenger prices (Lears cost less and Boeing costs more), an agent can earn $87,000 at the 250-hour mark. At that level, each additional flight hour is commissionable at 10%.

Hours are accrued in each calendar year, and annual charter volumes apply to each agent or agency, not to each client. And it doesn't matter which plane is used.

While Jet Asia expects travel agents to ensure communication between the client and the company is clear and accurate, the carrier will perform all management services for the client.

Jet Asia's revenue has doubled in the last year, according to CEO Chuck Woods. Woods said that agents "in many cases already know people who would need these types of services."

In the past, he said, "the travel agent has been left out of corporate aviation brokerage." That will change in this blossoming market, he said. Now agents can start going after some of those big commissions.

The second way to earn commission is by helping Jet Asia sell a maintenance contract for an executive who already owns a plane but wants to base it in Macau and let Jet Asia take care of everything else.

The third is by assisting with the sale of an airplane. Jet Asia does not have aircraft to sell directly but knows where they are should anyone express an interest -- essentially acting as a broker for the brokers.

Agents who help with the sale in any way will earn 50% of the possible commission received from the seller or sales broker.

For example, if a Challenger sold for $14 million, commission would be $560,000. The travel agent or agency would receive $280,000 for assisting with the transaction.

While Miller admits this is rare, when it happens "the commission goes where it should go."

The charter hours, at least, are an easy sell to clients who demand service.

Changes can be made on short notice. Menus, in-flight entertainment, hotel bookings, helicopter transfers and ground transportation are customized and part of the standard fare. Each aircraft has dual channel satellite phones and electrical outlets for business travelers.

In addition to travel throughout China, Jet Asia's new Bangkok base makes it less costly to operate within Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar.

For details, call (888) JET-ASIA or visit

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI