Flexjet LLC, a leading provider of fractional private jet ownership, today recognized Michael Silvestro, its longtime Chief Executive Officer, as he marks 10 years in the role, making him the fractional private jet industry’s longest-tenured CEO.
Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci congratulated Silvestro on his 10-year anniversary and the company’s decade of success. “Mike Silvestro became Chief Executive Officer just before the financial crisis of 2008. He ‘maintained an even strain,’ as aviators say, managing the company through the industry’s most difficult period and, eventually, building Flexjet into a provider that is challenging the largest player in the industry on every front. I’m proud of Mike, and the commitment he brings every day to making Flexjet the world’s premier private jet company,” said Ricci.
Silvestro, who has known Ricci for more than 40 years, since they were roommates at Notre Dame, has served as CEO at two companies owned by Ricci, Flexjet and Flight Options. Silvestro added, “I’m honored to work beside my fellow associates. We are a tenured leadership group – with many serving this organization for 20-plus years. They represent the best of the best, men and women dedicated to flying travelers around the world while meeting the highest standards of safety, security, comfort and convenience. Our people have made the past 10 years the most professionally fulfilling of my life, and I look forward to many more years working with them.”
A Decade of Growth and Progress
2008: An unprecedented time – Silvestro was named CEO of Flight Options upon its being re-acquired by Ricci’s Directional Aviation. On top of needing to re-build an enterprise that was neglected by previous ownership, the bottom fell out during the financial crisis, with flight activity dropping 35 percent in just a few months, followed by a period of contraction for the private aviation industry.
Forced to innovate, Silvestro and his team managed through two very conflicting initiatives – scale back the business and do more with less. At the same time, Silvestro understood how important it was to continue to provide customers with exceptional levels of service.
Silvestro managed these opposing initiatives with one of the core fundamentals of the company: Taking a long-term approach to relationships. A large majority of the customers who stayed with the company during the depths of the global financial crisis are still flying with it today under the Flexjet brand, 10 years later.
2009-2012: Persistence and innovation – Silvestro not only helped keep Flight Options alive during the recession of 2008-09, but, through steady leadership, positioned it to return to a state of growth faster than its peers. By the first quarter of 2011, Flight Options saw a 467 percent increase in fractional jet sales and a 46 percent increase in jet card sales during that year’s first quarter, compared to the same period in the previous year. This was part of four consecutive years of improved financial results since Silvestro became Flight Options’ CEO. At the close of 2012, Flight Options saw sales increase 30 percent year over year, with a 70 percent increase in sales to owners who left a competing brand.
During this period, Flight Options became the launch customer for the Embraer Phenom 300 light jet as well as the Nextant 400XT, the world’s first remanufactured business jet. Both aircraft were perfect for this period of guarded capital deployment and economic recovery, as they were the most capable in their class with the industry’s lowest acquisition and operating costs.
2013–2018: Redefining standards and raising bars – By 2013, Silvestro had Flight Options on such a track of stability and growth that its owner, Ricci’s Directional Aviation, acquired fractional pioneer Flexjet from Bombardier, eventually merging it with Flight Options. Once again, Ricci turned to Silvestro and his steady hand, making him CEO of the new combined enterprise that would move forward under the Flexjet banner. Since then, Silvestro has overseen the rebranding of Flexjet as the industry’s most refined and Owner-centric fractional provider, invested billions in new aircraft with an emphasis on large-cabin models – turning Flexjet into a truly global operator – and launched premium offering Red Label with features never before seen in the fractional private jet industry such as dedicated crews and the LXi Cabin Collection of artisan aircraft interiors.
“Mike Silvestro assumed the leadership of Flexjet, a company with a rich heritage of excellence, and has taken it to even higher levels of achievement,” said Ricci. “Even as we honor Mike for a decade of unprecedented accomplishments as CEO, he always has his focus on the future – a future in which I have no doubt that he will continue to work tirelessly to build the world’s premier private jet travel organization.”
Flexjet first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing. Flexjet’s fractional aircraft program is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard and is the first and only company to be honored with 19 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence. It also upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating and is IS-BAO compliant. Flexjet’s fractional program fields an exclusive array of business aircraft—some of the youngest in the fractional jet industry, with an average age of approximately six years. In 2015, Flexjet introduced Red Label by Flexjet, which features the youngest fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft, and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 25 different interior designs across its fleet, which includes the Learjet 75LXi, Challenger 350, the Embraer Legacy 450, Global Express, the Gulfstream G450, G500 and G650, and the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jets. In addition, the overall jet collection includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Bombardier Challenger 300. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit www.flexjet.com or follow us on Twitter @Flexjet and on Instagram @FlexjetLLC.