Travel agents who cater to clients with
very deep pockets should have Talon Air on their short lists.
Agents, that is, with clients in the extreme upper echelons of
personal and corporate wealth who are able to fork over $42,000 for
a charter from New York to Palm Beach, Fla., on a luxuriously
appointed, 14-passenger Gulfstream jet.
Talon Air, based
in Farmingdale, N.Y., charters a luxury fleet of nine aircraft that
can fly virtually anywhere in the world. Founded in 2000, the air
transport company has quickly expanded since, its growth spurred by
a steady increase in its prepaid sales business.
contracts, which start at $50,000 -- for use within one year --
represent 80% of sales; charters booked by the flight represent the
Talon Air founder
and President Adam Katz has made prepaids the focus of his
prepay benefit from a 10% discount on per-flight charters, with
value-added extras thrown in.
For their part,
travel agents benefit from Talon's 5% commission rate, which is
paid on both prepaid and per-flight business.
For the right
retailers, it is an opportunity to earn some sizeable commissions:
The commission on the roundtrip between New York and Palm Beach
works out to $2,100.
Air obviously targets an exclusive niche market, there is growing
demand for its charter services.
clients are people for whom time, convenience and money are on
equal footing. That means executives in Fortune 500 companies as
well as wealthy individuals.
Up, up and away
The results speak
for themselves; Talon Air has posted a 400% increase in business
over the past 16 months, further fueling six consecutive years of
In the past year
alone, the company fleet has grown from six aircraft to nine, to
keep up with a growing customer base.
"I'll add to the
fleet as long as there's demand," Katz said. "We're working to
remains a hands-on owner, pilot and air travel enthusiast with the
apparent vision, passion and resources to quickly grow the Talon
He has customized
each airplane to a five-star standard, adding first-class options
such as a gourmet in-flight menu created and prepared by chef David
Burke and in-flight pampering as part of "Concierge
Katz is quick to
emphasize that Talon Air is in a class of its own, not just in
service but in the terms of how the company conducts its charter
"We're not a
broker selling fractional ownership," he said. "Unlike fractional
ownership, there's no long-term commitment, which makes our
charters more cost-effective, and there are no complications
securing flight time."
Talon Air as a "fully dedicated" charter service with its own jet
fleet, multiple flight crews -- including 29 veteran pilots, with
two pilots per flight -- and its own maintenance facilities, manned
by a staff of 12 mechanics trained to factory standards, at
Republic Airport in Farmingdale, on Long Island.
"We pass our
[twice-annual] audits for safety with flying colors," he said. "Our
maintenance standards go beyond what's required by the
concern for safety at Talon Air seems to be matched by an equally
demanding focus on quality. That might mean an airport transfer by
stretch limousine or, even better, aboard Talon Air's own
The copter is the
latest addition to a fleet that includes Gulfstream IV, Hawker
800Xp, Beechjet 400 and King Air 200 jets, with passenger counts
ranging four to 14.
the largest planes in the fleet, can fly transcontinental and
transatlantic runs, which provides worldwide reach.
rates range from $1,000 to $9,000.
that the cost of a charter between New York and Las Vegas on a
14-passenger Gulfstream is $107,000, or $7,650 per person,
Katz said he has
involved himself in all aspects of creating Talon Air as a brand.
It bears his signature, which helps assure his standards are
"It's a matter of
catering to the expectations of people for whom the best is a
lifestyle option," he said. "Service on our larger planes goes all
they way: Baccarat crystal, fine linens and the best bone china and
silver for multicourse, gourmet dining."
agents, Talon Air represents a product that provides convenience
and luxury on flights to just about anywhere.
factor starts with a departure from a smaller airport with less air
traffic and faster passenger screening, real pluses in today's
world of crowded, high-security airports.
From the New York
metropolitan area, that means departure from either Republic or
Teterboro and easy links to Nantucket, Palm Beach and Las Vegas,
all popular destinations with Talon Air customers. No long lines.
No security hassles.
agents represent less than 10% of Talon Air's business.
But it's a number
Katz expects to grow, particularly as mainstream travel becomes
more complicated and time-consuming. Charters, in a way, return air
travel to what it was in the not-so-distant past, he added.
"We offer the
ultimate in flexibility and can book a flight just about anywhere
with 10 hours' notice -- and there will be no compromise on
service," Katz said. "That's what it means to be best-in-class in
the high-end market."
brochures or information on bookings call (888) TALONAIR (825-6624)
or visit www.talonairjets.com.
To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].