Schubach Aviation thrives on wave of aircraft charter requests

California-based aircraft charter and management company Schubach Aviation has added a new hangar and offices and plans to expand its managed fleet to 20 by the end of the year as it rides the wave of demand faced by Part 135 operators across the country.

Based at McClellan-Palomar Airport (KCRQ) in San Diego County, the 45-employee company has seen a 30% increase in demand and revenue over the past year, the owner and CEO said. Kimberly Herrel. AIN. At the same time, the company added a second 23,000 square foot hangar at KCRQ and built offices from its existing space, which Herrell says aims to create “a place where people want to work, that feels just modern” and “to attract new talent.”

Of the 20 jets it plans to have in the managed fleet by the end of the year, 12 will be available for charter, according to Herrell. On the charter side of the business, Schubach focuses primarily on retail customers, with supplemental elevators representing only a fraction of its business.

Herrell, who has been with the business for 16 years from selling charters, acquired the operator from founder Henry Schubach in January 2020. She noted the acquisition was ‘right before Covid was a thing’ , further acknowledging that it was “a bit of a touch and go to be a brand new business owner. It was interesting timing, but it ended up being a good thing. As we all know, Covid has really raised awareness in our industry and appreciated what we offer and what we do. »

One of the challenges for Schubach, like other Part 135 operators, is the shortage of pilots. Schubach responded with “pretty decent raises” and extra days off, Herrell said. The company has also tapped into another resource: recently retired airline and freight pilots. “It’s a part-time program,” she explained. “They fly about eight to ten days a month. They adore him. We like that. I know we’ve had them for two or three years, so it’s been really successful.

With the increase in pay for Part 135 pilots, Herrell noted that “we are seeing a few pilots who went to other careers come back to piloting. Now they see it can be a lucrative career. And I’m talking about guys with 5,000, 6,000 hours. It’s not like they’re newbies.

As the company grows, Herrell said it’s important that Schubach doubles down on customer service.

“With all the big consolidations going on, we really want to make sure we stay service-oriented,” she said. “I think it’s easy to lose a customer when you get to some of those huge scales that we’ve seen. This is the kind of feedback we also get from customers. So we’re trying to stay focused on that, even in the midst of all this interest and more customers than planes.

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