Private aviation group Vista continues to provide innovative jet travel solutions for both businesses and individuals. Through its two branded service companies, VistaJet and XO, Vista has seen rapid growth in revenue and number of flights in recent years.
The business flight solutions have a truly global reach, flying into 1,900 airports in 96% of the world’s countries. Vista’s companies offer clients subscription options and elite services that allow them to reap the benefits of travel on a private jet flight without the burdens of private jet ownership.
It’s become the go-to option for a diverse clientele, including business travelers, large corporations, governments, high-net-worth individuals seeking trusted solutions for global and regional private travel. Thomas Flohr, who founded VistaJet in 2004 and later acquired the companies that became XO, said his Group offer much-needed solutions in the business aviation market.
Flohr, who started his business career in finance and asset management, said in a CNBC interview that he “always believed that someone should carry the asset risk,” by which he means the cost of jet ownership and operations. Vista’s companies do this for clients. In the case of VistaJet, clients sign a three-year contract subscription so they only buy the flight hours they need.
Flohr pointed out that with any other business model, businesses and individuals must buy a fraction of ownership in an aircraft or pay for the entire vehicle. This path results in having to make a capital expenditure decision rather than putting private jet travel as an operational expense that’s part of the travel budget.
“It has been hugely successful and hugely popular around the world. And it’s a simple three-to-five-page contract which says you have an obligation to pay, we have an obligation to fly, and it’s guaranteed availability, anywhere, anytime,” Thomas Flohr told CNBC. “Whether you’re in Japan or Southeast Asia or in the Middle East, America or South America, you have guaranteed availability around the globe.”
Vista Experiences Explosive Growth in the Past Year
Through Vista and its subsidiaries, Swiss entrepreneur Thomas Flohr has created the only global business aviation company. VistaJet and XO have forever changed the industry, each with its own approach. VistaJet allows businesses and individuals to access jets through a variety of membership programs, free of the costs of ownership. XO uses a unique online booking service that allows people to get a private jet flight of their own or a seat on an existing flight.
Both have seen demand grow in the past year. In 2022, Vista reported a 50% increase in revenue from its subscription solutions and services over 2021. Also, the number of flights jumped worldwide by 28% in 2022.
VistaJet itself saw an increase of 139% in the third quarter of 2022 in its flights to and from Asia, making it the second-fastest growing region for the private aviation company, behind only the United States, according to Forbes. Corporate leaders, private individuals and governments have used the company’s services.
“Flights from Southeast Asia to Europe and the trans-Pacific are very important routes for our customers,” Thomas Flohr told Forbes. “Asia, especially Southeast Asia, wants to be connected nonstop to the rest of the world.”
Ultra-long-range travel has also has increased in part because Vista now has a brand-new fleet of Bombardier’s Global 7500 aircraft — the largest fleet in the world of this game-changing aircraft, with the Group owning 18. Billed as the world’s largest and longest-range jet, the Global 7500 has four distinct living spaces, a full kitchen, and a permanent bedroom. The plane can fly without stopping for 13,890 kilometers or more than 8,630 miles, and 17 hours of flying. Flohr told Forbes some of the most popular flights with the Global 7500 are from cities in Asia to Europe and the U.S..
VistaJet’s onboard services and at-destination experiences have also fueled growth. In just one example among many, every VistaJet flight has at least one cabin host trained by the British Butler Institute, Norland College, and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. They also have in-house MedAire instructors (MedAire specializes in medical, security, and travel safety services) and cabin hosts trained in pet first aid.
Who Is Thomas Flohr?
Born in Switzerland, Thomas Flohr studied business and political science at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. His first business career involved working in asset management in the tech industry, where his success led to him becoming president of Comdisco’s worldwide asset finance division.
Some may recognize the name Thomas Flohr from his exploits as a race car driver. He’s participated in the East African Safari Rally and raced multiple times at Le Mans, with his team coming third overall in the World Endurance Championship 2023 season. It’s not surprising that VistaJet is an official partner with Italian luxury sports car manufacturer and Formula One team, Ferrari.
Flohr became interested in the private jet industry after using chartered flights in his work in asset finance. He quickly saw the inefficiency of how the personal aviation business worked in those days.
“I saw very early on when I entered this industry that it was extremely inefficient and backward-looking. When I see waste, I become ambitious,” Flohr told Barron’s. “The average utilization of a business jet is 250 hours per year — talk about waste and corporate waste. Commercial planes are used around 4,000 hours a year, so I thought, ‘What are these airplanes doing?’ I love to challenge the system. If something doesn’t make sense, it’s a natural inclination to challenge it.”
Plans for Vista’s Future
Vista continues to expand its operations and enhance the services it provides to clients. For example, the Group recently announced the launch of Vista America, which operates the Vista Members’ fleet in the U.S. for both VistaJet and XO.
The launch, which happened on Nov. 1, aligns Vista’s operating partners in the U.S., including Jet Select, Western Air Charter, XOJET, and Red Wing Aviation. Vista America is led by David Stanley, an aviation industry veteran with more than 19 years of experience, including his most recent role as senior director at Collins Aerospace.
The last year also has seen a steady drumbeat of announcements of new partnerships for Vista, enhancing the services they provide clients. In addition to expanding the company’s relationship with Ferrari, the company announced a collaboration with Collins Aerospace to offer passengers access to the fastest in-flight unlimited Wi-Fi available. Vista also announced the creation of a five-piece luggage set exclusively for VistaJet Members designed by famed Italian leather goods company Valextra.
The company also recently announced a collaboration with Estiatorio Milos to provide meals on select flights as part of VistaJet’s Private Dining offering of exclusive dishes created by world-renowned chefs and restaurants. Travelers on the Global 7500 can also now enjoy wine from Burgundy winemaker Olivier Bernstein, another recent addition announced by the company.