In addition to an inventory that consists of the most popular and preferred business jets, CitationShares, a division of Cessna Aircraft Company, has diversified its services while maintaining a focus on customer satisfaction. Quality, safety, reliability, and comfort culminate together forming the foundation of this seasoned aviation vet.
While the company originally built its stellar reputation in fractional jet ownership, CitationShares has evolved its business model to fit the ever-changing needs of its extensive client list. Today CitationShares offers a multitude of options for private jet travel, including jet cards, shares, whole aircraft management services, and corporate solutions. Senior Vice President William B. “Woody” Harford explains that CitationShares partners with its clients, taking a consultative approach, evaluating their needs and creating personalized solutions. Ultimately, it’s about finding the best possible fit. “We are trying to find the perfect solutions for our clients; we are not interested in selling them a product just to make a sale. I think that’s a fundamental difference in our approach,” says Harford. For example, the client may start as a jet card customer, emerge into a share owner, and then grow to a point where they require aircraft management—all of which are stages for which CitationShares is prepared to provide service and guidance.
Additionally, it’s organized in a way that is easy and accessible for clients. “The other thing in our approach to business is that we are trying to make this as uncomplicated a process as possible,” says Harford. “We recognize that private aviation can sometimes seem like a difficult, byzantine process to figure out. Everything that we do has been organized in a way to be as simple as possible for the customer to access and use.”
The attraction of the corporate solutions supplemental lift program, a recent addition to their service menu, is that it allows flight departments to access CitationShares’ Cessna fleet at competitive rates without capital commitments. The company differentiates itself in this way because it does not require long-term commitments, offering up the aircraft on a pay-as-you-go basis, thus making the marketing strategy both a resource and a benefit to corporate flight departments. “Many of these corporations that traditionally viewed fractional providers as their competitors are now warming up to the concept,” Harford explains. “Because our parent company makes a living selling aircraft to corporate flight departments, we have no interest in putting anybody out of business. Our goal is to assist everyone in becoming more efficient and effective.”
Another undeniable draw to CitationShares is its stability. It emerged on the scene more than 10 years ago, though originally under a different name—the company adopted the lasting moniker in 2000. Coming from quite an impressive parentage, CitationShares possess a definitive amount of strength, flexibility, and creativity that enables it to stay steadily afloat in a stressed market, thanks to its owner, Cessna Aircraft Company. Cessna undoubtedly serves as an advantage against competitors while simultaneously empowering its junior.
Regarding the current economy, Harford reveals that though there are a reduced number of hours being flown and some clients have had to alter their relationship with the aviation company in an attempt to access their capital and stabilize their own bottom line, business is still growing and they are exceptionally secure.
“It has never been our intention to be the largest. Our goal has always been to deliver the absolute best, most personalized service,” Harford explains, citing CitationShares’ extensive pilot training program. Occurring twice each year, the pilots who are flying CitationShares’ friendly skies study safety as well as customer service skills. “Our pilots are the face of our product to our customers and we take it very seriously that they deliver the absolute best service levels possible.” According to Harford, it is a strategy that is paying off. “If you walk into any FBO in the country and ask who they would prefer to fly with, the answer will be the CitationShares’ pilots. They will tell you that our pilots have the best attitudes and the best approach, which is the reason that our customers stay with us.”
While October is likely to be quite a remarkable month in the evolution of the company, Harford explains that the company’s goals for the future will always be based around exceptional service. “We don’t aim to be the biggest, we aim to be the best. And while we might not be the least expensive, we are going to deliver outstanding value.”
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