Fast 5: Jet Luxe's CEO On Young Dubai Charter

Credit: Jet Luxe

Gabriel Madrid, Jet Luxe CEO, founded the Dubai-based company in February 2020, after serving at Jetex as head of aircraft sales, lease, acquisition and charter, and as vice president of experience at JetClub. Jet Luxe now has regional bases in the Middle East, the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company employs 60.

You founded Jet Luxe right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Did the timing help or hurt you? 

One month before the pandemic, I went to my ex-boss. He’s a founder and CEO of Jetex. I told him ‘I just had a daughter, and I need to think about my future now, and I think my path now is to start my own company, so I have a legacy to give to her.’ And he said, ‘Gabriel, are you sure? Things—they don’t look very nice.’ And I’m like, ‘No. No. I’m sure.’ One month later—locked down. So, at that moment, it was very, very scary. 

And then?  

Fast forward two years. It was the best time for our industry because we were able to help a lot of people. We would do respirators; we would do cargo, food, everything. There [were] not enough cargo planes out there, so we would put them in business jets because business aviation is very dynamic. We adapt very fast.  As an industry, we learn to collaborate, so that was pretty cool. I founded the company just when everybody learned how to work with each other and work from their living rooms in their boxers. Honestly, it was amazing.

What is your fleet like?  

We manage from Global 6000s, Global 5000s, Global XLS, Gulfstream 450s, Gulfstream Vs. We have a total of seven aircraft under management. What we did is that we did a small tender for safety and compliance with all the operators that we worked with in the past that we like. We actually found two of the best operators in the world—one is Hyperion Aviation based out of Malta, and the other one is Journey Aviation based out of Florida.

You partnered with Portside, which operates a business aviation management platform, to create transparency with your aircraft owners. How does that work? 

They can see where the aircraft is 24/7. They can see how much is revenue sold. They can see the cost per gallon per hour on specific routing. They can see how we compare in the market. They can see ... whether we did great this year or we did better the next flight or whatever. It’s super transparent. It allows them to also engage with us if they see an invoice and it’s posted, and they have a question for us ... If there’s something to explain, we explain. It’s full transparency. 

You launched Invictus Partnership for customers at the 2021 Dubai Air Show. How is that doing today? 

This is a new type of service. In 10 months, we already have 15 partners on the program. It’s a new type of fractional ownership of an aircraft, where you don’t really own a piece of the aircraft, but you pretty much own a piece of the capacity of the plane. The commitment is there, and then you have guaranteed availability of the hours. We will guarantee the hours as long as you comply with the booking rules, which is 72 hours’ notice. In these days, for any ultra-long-range aircraft, you need at least 48 hours to make it happen with permits and so on. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.