Sarah Keates, Founder of WOI sits down with the newly appointed Aisha Mirza, Regional Vice President, UK and Ireland, JetClub to discuss the brand’s strategy for its upcoming European launch and what skills she brings to the table.
Tell us a little about yourself, Aisha
Born and raised in Birmingham, England I moved to London for university and now call the capital “home”. I studied Civil Aviation and Aerospace Management and simultaneously enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) to gain flying experience on single and twin-engine aircraft, seaplanes, and aerobatic aircraft. I now consider flying my lifelong passion and hobby.
What roles did you hold before joining JetClub?
I started my career working for an aviation recruitment firm. We worked with a wide range of skilled workers from aircraft painters to MRO VP’s, which provided a solid insight into the diversity of roles and talent in aviation. After a short time, I was seconded to a military project, working closely with the government client to provide a turnkey solution to source all their requirements for a D-check maintenance overhaul on C130H aircraft on a base in Kabul, Afghanistan.
I then went on to work for Stratajet, an online booking platform for business aviation and private jets. Based in both London and Santa Monica, my role as a relationship manager in this disruptive start-up was to pitch to aircraft operators in the EU and the US to build our supply base from 0-750 charter ready aircraft. At that time, we were seeing the beginnings of pivotal changes to how bookings were being made, and technology, accessibility and transparency to the end client were paramount.
My next chapter included a return to full time education to refine and deepen my industry knowledge. I joined a trading school and learnt about the micro and macro-economics of FX and commodity markets. I have been running a fund as lead trader ever since, consulting with a luxury product investment company and running several aviation consulting projects.
Why did you join JetClub?
I am attracted to roles in organisations that have a unique or innovative offering. I discovered JetClub through an industry contact and quickly found they were not like any other company in this space.
Over the past decade, there have been a lot of new players coming into the private jet marketplace. Despite this busy and competitive environment, JetClub has a highly contrasting value proposition by offering transparency and clarity to prospective aircraft owners.
The benefits of business aviation are undeniable; businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals are keen to utilise it however, the complexity of aircraft ownership can be daunting. Shared ownership is an intelligent way to own an aircraft because it gives access to the benefits while lessening the overall financial outlay.
After speaking with JetClub’s CEO and Founder, Vishal Hiremath, I felt complete confidence in the tried and tested business model, which is already running successfully in the US via JetClub’s sister company, Jet It.
Despite the obvious limitations of travel at present, we know that business aviation is resilient, and the team and I look forward to bringing this exciting new brand to clients across the region.
Describe your vision for the company
I want to put my personal stamp on JetClub’s already brilliant offering. Central to that objective is to help more businesses and individuals understand and access the undeniable benefits of business aviation. In short, we want to make aircraft ownership more accessible and transparent.
JetClub’s pricing structure and program is deliberately amazingly simple and clear; owners can purchase a share of the aircraft from one eighth to a half.
How have perceptions around business aviation changed over the past 5 years?
Aviation can be less visionary and more traditional than many industries. That said, in the past five years, a lot of new technologies have been introduced to streamline aircraft operations, via online platforms and apps. There is, however, still huge room for advancement and innovation in our industry.
At present, many charter bookings still happen through the phone and aircraft ownership remains harder than it needs to be. JetClub plans to change this and give power and choice back to the buyer with an easy and financially intelligent solution.
What do the next five years have in store for JetClub?
Big things. Our founder, Vishal Hiremath, the team and I have collectively identified there is a need for JetClub in Europe. As the UK has recently left the European Union, it has become an advantageous location to own an aircraft in this territory.
The JetClub Group is already the biggest global operator of HondaJet aircraft, and we aim to bring that title to both sides of the Atlantic. Our first wheels will hit the ramp in the spring of 2021, allowing our clients this side of the Atlantic to see, feel, and fly on the JetClub HondaJet.
The company has grown quickly in the US, something we plan to replicate in Europe, Asia, and around the world.
Describe your business style in 3 words
Effective, efficient, elegant
Just for fun, where do you hope to travel when restrictions lift?
One of the places I have on my wish-list is Samoa, for its natural beauty and culture.
What is your favourite aircraft?
One of the first aircraft I flew on was the Citation X, and as it is the fastest civilian aircraft currently in the world, I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations on the size, comfort, and speed!
Now, of course, my favourite aircraft is the HondaJet. I’m fond of light jets, and as Honda are a household name for their robust automotive engineering, it’s refreshing to see their strengths shown in the aviation industry on such a magnificently built aircraft, perfected over many years of R&D.
What do you love about the HondaJet?
How long do you have?! The HondaJet is designed to be utilised with the best interests of the client always at the forefront. The patented design of the aircraft engines mounted onto the wings is one of the main features that sets the HondaJet apart from any aircraft, period. Because of this design, the noise levels are lower, the jet is very fuel efficient and with it being on the wing, it frees up the space inside the cabin and baggage.
I also love that the chic design is based on a designer shoe by Salvatore Ferragamo. The cabin, the baggage hold, and the bathroom are the largest in the light jet category because of the engine placement which will always be a complete game changer and tough to beat in this aircraft category.