Happiness is waiting around the corner for customers of JetSuite, which has received a multimillion dollar investment by newly minted billionaire and the CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh.
One of JetSuite's 11 Embraer Phenom 100s has been emblazoned with the title of Hsieh's book, Delivering Happiness, which JetSuite has adopted it as an unofficial motto. Hsieh has invested $7 million in the company and now sits on its board.
The Irvine, California-based business jet operator expects to take delivery of two more aircraft from Embraer in the coming weeks, growing its fleet to 13, and holds firm orders for 50 Phenoms, with options for an additional 50.
"We're not adding new regions, we're going to focus on the southwest: Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas." said CEO Alex Wilcox.
JetSuite, which survived the 2008 industry downturn that forced many operators to close up shop, aims to operate as many as 200 aircraft within three to four years, said Wilcox.
Even with its focus on working with the Phenom 100 in its existing operations, Wilcox said the company is "evaluating a few possible alternative airplanes", including the clean-sheet Embraer Legacy 500 and offerings from Nextant.
"The question we face right now is do we want to be Southwest Airlines, and do one thing and do the best at it and wait for the Phenom to grow into its role? Or do we want to become JetBlue and get a second type. JetBlue grew down into the E-190 and we would grow up into a transcon airplane."
Looking longer term, JetSuite has the US East Coast and Hawaii in its sights, in search of an aircraft with a 3,000nm range.
As it charts its path to growth, Wilcox and JetSuite president Keith Rabin are growing their bottom line from an unexpected source: Facebook.
With 15,000 users "liking" the Phenom operator, JetSuite said it is able to generate $60,000 monthly from selling low-cost seats on otherwise empty legs.
"If we had 250,000 fans, by our math, we would never have an empty leg. We're selling almost a third of our empty legs today, which is the great unsolved problem of the industry," said Wilcox. "And we're doing that at $500 bucks a pop. All by social media."