Even private jet owners from Dubai might want to stop in Carlsbad, California for fuel, red carpet service and a concierge service second to none. Celebrities, business tycoons and savvy fliers already know about the Premier Jet facility at the McClellan-Palomar Airport-and the buzz is starting to spread.
With U.S. Customs opening an office at Palomar Airport in June, a $24 million facelift in the works, and the runway being lengthened to accommodate more traffic, international high flyers may make this Carlsbad airport a new must-stop.
I had the fun opportunity to interview Marc LaChance, developer of the Premier Jet facility, and find out a little more about the this amazing airport complex that is a combination of upscale office space, glossy hangars and luxurious rest and relaxation areas for pilots and passengers.
Marc was kind enough to spare part of his morning to show me the Premier Jet complex which features 14 elegant office spaces ranging from 1500 to 8000 square feet, 19 private executive hangars spanning 3500 to 15,000 square feet and hallways wide enough to host a diplomatic reception line.
Need red carpet, a limo or catered gourmet meals for inflight service? The on-staff concierge will attend to those requests either in person or via flight communications. Limos and caterers stay on call. There are private lounges, luxe conference rooms, a luxurious reception and concierge area, fuel and full flight planning services.
The light and glossy hangars are offered for sale, and most have already been sold. As of this writing, there are a few left-ranging from around 3500 to 4800 square feet, with an approximate price of $235 per square foot. Who buys these hangars? Some are corporate buyers, and others are hungry for space to store their toys. After all, few luxury homes offer private runways.
Marc foresees enormous growth in the private jet industry with the new composite construction for jets. This will reduce both the cost of the jet and its fuel costs (because of its fiberglass construction and lighter weight) and increase travel safety. Add to this the desire by many to avoid the parking hassles, security lines, and the time lost just trying to board a jet-and travel by private jet looks more attractive all the time.
What is providing additional fuel for growth in this industry are companies like Net Jet, which has around 600 jets under fractional ownership. The concept is similar to timesharing and offers significant savings over charter jet travel. But it is small jet construction that may propel private jet travel into a much broader market reach. "With composite jets, the cost for fractional ownership might be, for example, $50,000 plus $500 per hour. This will open private jet travel;to a much larger market," said Marc. He aded that perhaps 50 percent of the jets at Premier are held under fractional ownership.
Marc La Chance is an aviation buff and visionary who foresees enormous changes in flight travel during the next twenty years-even more than we have witnessed in the last sixty. And composite construction, fractional ownership and artifical intelligence are just the beginning. Programmable personal air vehicles could also become a significant means of commuting and travel for many.
It's enough to put the mind and imagination into high gear....