Business aviation holding company Vista Global has entered an agreement to acquire US online charter marketplace JetSmarter, in a move designed to bolster and complement its growing portfolio of products.
Vista Global was launched in 2018 by Thomas Flohr – Swiss entrepreneur and founder of luxury charter company VistaJet – with the aim of "consolidating" the "fragmented but expanding" business aviation market.
Backed by $400 million in investments from private equity firm Rhone Group, the Dubai-headquartered venture owns four existing operations: Malta-based VistaJet; a new leasing arm called Vista Lease; US charter operator XOJET – acquired in September 2018 – and technology unit TechX.
Flohr says the purchase of JetSmarter was prompted by a long-standing relationship with XOJET for which it markets empty legs and provides digital charter sales on its fleet of 43 Bombardier Challenger 300s and Cessna Citation X business jets.
He says the technology and distribution from JetSmarter's app, which has had over 2 million downloads since launch six years ago, can be used to drive bookings on VistaJet's fleet of more than 70 high-end Bombardier aircraft including the Global 5000 and 6,000, as well as the Challenger 350, 605 and 850.
Flohr describes the JetSmarter acquisition as "an important milestone for Vista Global – accelerating and executing our vision of digitising the entire private aviation offering".
Customers today want speed, reliability and value, he continues, "which in today’s world is only possible with technology".