Schubach Aviation Owner & Chief Executive Kimberly Herrell joins Yahoo Finance Live to talk about the demand in private aircraft inventories, managing luxury aviation fleets, current periods of hangar backload, and pilot shortages.
Kimberly Herrell, owner and chief executive of the jet charter operator Schubach Aviation, has a 30,000-square-foot hangar in Carlsbad, Calif., and was able to secure a secondary hangar space at Carlsbad Jet Center last year. As demand has grown for her services, she has not struggled to find places to park her clients’ planes, but she has had issues securing new aircraft.
When Mike Pellitteri started flying his private plane in 2013, it was easy to find a spot to park it. But over the past decade, hangar space has become sparse, so Mr. Pellitteri, a general contractor, has joined an increasing number of developers who have never worked in aviation before: He’s building hangars himself.
When CEO Patrick Britton-Harr launched AeroVanti last summer, he fashioned a fleet entirely from turboprop jets made for short-haul, regional routes. The unconventional choice fit the Annapolis, Md.-based air charter broker’s goal: to provide customers with affordable access to private aircraft.
Last Christmas, Chief Petty Officer Joaquin Ozuna saw his family for the first time in five years. Recently stationed at the US Naval base in Pensacola, Fla. after several years in San Diego, he flew with his wife and five children to Washington DC, to surprise his mother, 15 brothers and sisters, and 46 nieces and nephews just before the holidays.
President’s Day is one of those inauspicious holidays that means an extra day of vacation for some. But in the private-jet world, it’s an important day on the flight calendar. It’s the fifth-busiest weekend for aircraft owners, jet-card members and charterers, with an expected 50,000 private flights taking off from Friday through Monday.
While San Diegan Kimberley Herrell has called Carlsbad’s Schubach Aviation her professional home since 2005, the president and CEO took on her biggest role yet in January 2020-owner. Founded in 1992 by Henry Schubach, the world-class operation oversees San Diego’s largest fleet of corporation jets, flying clients from its Palomar Airport Road terminal to destinations throughout the United States, Europe and beyond. Now, Herrell is leading Schubach into its next era, launching its Elevated Excursions program through which guests can book one-of-a-kind travel excursions to hard-to-reach destinations.
Flying High with San Diego’s Kimberly Herrell
With fewer than 5% of female chief executives in the aviation industry, Kimberly Herrell has achieved success as president and CEO of Schubach Aviation, a private jet charter company in San Diego. In 2020, she purchased the company alongside a financial partner and ushered the company into a new era of success.
The Private Passport to Pedregal program with Schubach Aviation will fly a party of between four and eight people from anywhere in the United States to Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal for a seven-night stay in a two-bedroom, ocean-view suite with a plunge pool, personal concierge, and butler service.
The Waldorf Astoria brand was eager to make a grand entrance into Mexico’s resort market, so they did, in the biggest – and smartest – way possible: by taking the helm of one of the country’s existing elite, The Resort at Pedregal on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic irrevocably changing what it means – and looks like – to fly commercial, incentives for choosing private jet travel have never been higher. And respected Carlsbad-based charter operator and aircraft management company, Schubach Aviation, has been perfectly poised to meet this growing demand.
If you are eager to travel and have the extra cash, these elite hotels now offer private flights with your reservation. The move comes in response to the hotel industry’s economically devastating months in light of COVID-19. The new service is intended to lure guests from around the world and revitalize the industry that is teetering on devastation.
Air travel around the world is taking tentative first steps to ramp up daily flights again, but understandably, many would-be passengers continue to be wary of commercial airline travel.
San Diego–area air charter operator Schubach Aviation has seen the average age of its clients move lower, from 62 in 2015 to 56 at the end of 2019. “When we looked at the information, we realized we’d added more clients under age 40, which prompted us to look at the numbers and at our average age. And sure enough, every year it was slowly going down,” said Kimberly Herrell, owner and president of the 29-year-old firm.
Best Private Air Charter: Schubach Aviation
Ready for a quick getaway to Bali? Maybe a weekend in Colorado? Or a respite in Sedona? Luxury jet charter Schubach Aviation houses San Diego’s most diverse fleet and is ready to jet you anywhere, anytime.
Then there’s the overall pilot shortage that’s emerged. As commercial airlines bombard pilots with incentives, it’s harder to retain qualified crew, says Janine Iannarelli, founder of business aircraft broker Par Avion Ltd. “It’s one of the biggest problems faced by the aviation industry today.” Kimberly Herrell, president of Schubach Aviation, a charter and aircraft management company in Carlsbad, Calif., says she’s had to increase salaries by an average of 30 percent over the past two years. “We’re seeing pilots with not that much experience get hired out from under us to fly bigger jets,” she says. Iannarelli sources captains for Falcon 900s at around $200,000 a year.
“The pilot shortage is real. It’s not impossible to find the right talent, but as a company, you have to advance an authentic mission and culture that resonates with prospective pilots. Salary is obviously important but isn’t everything for pilots deciding on an employer. You can’t buy quality of life and job satisfaction.” – Kimberly Herrell
With 25 years of experience in private aviation, Schubach Aviation enables quick and easy access to hard-to-reach locations with an exclusive adventure ready the moment you touch down. The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas holds a number of flagship stores from the finest luxury retailers in the world, and this trip brings exclusive previews for you to peruse in private.
“We’ve definitely felt the effects of the pilot shortage,” says Kimberly Herrell, the president of Schubach Aviation, an aircraft charter and management company located in Carlsbad, Calif. “It’s pretty much industry-wide now. There had been a lot of talk for a long time about how it was going to happen, and then it was here. With that said, we’ve still been able to find quality talent.”
The classic definition of a day trip is usually something along the lines of a short spin into the countryside for a city dweller, or deeper into the countryside for those outside of the city. For those looking for something a bit more unusual and farther away, Schubach Aviation has come up with a selection of day trips by private jet, Elevated Excursions, with a fleet ranging from six passenger to 12 passenger jets if you want to bring some friends along.
Erin Meanley Glenny: Congratulations on being named president earlier this year.
Kimberly Herrell: Thank you!
EMG: The executive team is seven men and one other woman. Any advice for holding your own?
KH: Aviation is a very male-dominated industry. You have to assert yourself. I knew a lot of people were going to automatically underestimate me. Rather than dwell on that or be intimidated, I accepted that I have your attention either way, so I’m going to change your mind.
Carlsbad — When Schubach Aviation’s charter jet pilots take to the skies, they’re flying for more than just their clients’ needs.
They’re also logging miles for charities that have benefited over the past six years from Schubach’s “penny-per-mile” program. This year, Schubach jets should log about 1.2 million miles worldwide, which translates into $12,000 for charity, plus matching gifts.
If you have a free day—just one day—and you’re looking for a memorable way to spend it, Schubach Aviation has a few suggestions. The Carlsbad, California–based charter operator and aircraft-management company recently introduced Elevated Expeditions, a series of curated private-jet day trips from the San Diego area to such destinations as La Paz, Mexico, to swim with sea lions and whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez and a sommelier-led wine-tasting tour through Napa Valley.
“The value behind the quick mobilization and time-saving components of flying private is once-again starting to eclipse any stigma of excess. The bottom line is that people can accomplish a lot more when utilizing private aircraft.” – Kimberly Herrell
“We have seen an increase in corporations utilizing private aircraft for business travel and we expect that to grow in 2018. These travelers require high performance, WiFi-enabled planes that can fly coast to coast. With language in the new tax code, many aircraft owners are delaying plans to upgrade to larger models. This will eventually have an impact on the entire business aviation landscape.” – Kimberly Herrell
His phone number can be found on the speed dial of industry and community leaders, he believes in business by handshake and is admired for the client-centric culture he’s created. What started with a single Cheyenne II aircraft back in 1992 has grown into San Diego’s largest fleet of charter aircraft, Schubach Aviation, flying to destinations from Aspen and Big Sky to exotic locales like Morocco and the Galapagos Islands. At the company’s heart stands founder/president Henry Schubach, known for his candor and philanthropic spirit.