HOW THIS MULTI CITY COMPANY OFFERS A FRESH APPROACH TO LUXURY PRIVATE JET CHARTERS
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
When Dean Giasi and Al Palagonia founded Apollo Jets in 2008, their main objective was nothing less than the transformation of the private jet industry. Focusing on the unique needs of each client and bucking many of the trade’s traditional billables (such as up front costs, long term commitments, and monthly maintenance fees), the business partners built a following of customers that now includes business moguls, sports figures, music icons, and other celebrities. Over those 11 years, the company has grown to be one of the largest and most respected charter brokers in the United States.
“We wanted to create a company that would give clients the ability to fly on the highest quality aircraft with the most qualified crews, at a price that would be competitive in the marketplace,” Giasi noted. “So, we formed strategic relationships with the finest operators throughout the world, creating an extensive network that allowed us access to every size and type of private jet, both domestic and international.”
A “no strings attached” approach immediately made Apollo stand out a model that made its services an especially thrifty alternative to aircraft ownership.
“We launched this business in December, and the market had crashed three months prior,” Giasi said. “People told us we were crazy to start a private jet company during such a turbulent economic time, but we were determined to make the move.”
Not only was their approach successful, it created sweeping change in the jet brokerage business itself influencing other firms to move away from the “jet card” membership strategy and into a “pay per trip” model.
“Very few companies were offering that type of pay per flight charter, so in order to compete, we had to make sure we were offering the best service possible,” Giasi said. “From the start, we focused on safety. If the operator didn’t meet our standards, they were out, regardless of cost. And whatever the client needed, they could count on us to provide. If you got to the airport and forgot your golf clubs, they were on the next plane right behind you.”
The business, which launched in New York with only two employees Giasi and Palagonia has grown to encompass a staff of 150 and occupy expansion offices in Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas.
Its annual revenue is in excess of $300 million, with a client list filled with recognizable VIPs, including Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Jeter, Jay Z, and DJ Skrillex.
In October of 2014, Apollo became the first Argus rated broker in the industry and now the company is verified by both Argus and Wyvern third party auditors that help ensure safety and adherence to regulations. It has also acquired several other jet brokerage businesses throughout its lifespan, and built an expansive client list through referrals.
A standout jet in the company’s roster of charter able aircraft is the Gulfstream G550, widely recognized as the safest, most reliable, and most comfortable high performance ultra-long range business aircraft in the world with a stunning range of 6,700 nautical miles (greater than the longest range Airbus A320 airliner), 14 passenger capacity, and 226 cubic feet of baggage storage area. For shorter hops, there’s the super midsize Hawker 4000 and its eight passenger capacity and 3,390 nautical mile range. In part because of carbon composite construction, the Hawker offers more interior space than many jets in its class.
In 2017, Apollo made a strategic investment in Talon Air, a full service operator based at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, NY that specializes in aircraft charters, sales, maintenance, and management services.
“We competed by providing better pricing and better terms,” Giasi concluded. “We’ve spent next to zero dollars on marketing…because we didn’t have to. Our product and our quality speak for themselves, and because of that our clients recommend us to friends. With each and every flight we build a relationship…not a contractual one, not a card carrying relationship, but a true connection and rapport that is based on service.”
Locations in Boca Raton (954.239.7204) and Palm Beach (888.910.5387), FL;
Boston, MA (781.353.5070); Las Vegas, NV (702.551.2028);
Los Angeles, CA (310.893.1770); New York, NY (888.910.5387);
and Philadelphia, PA (267.420.2311)