A Delta Private Jets business jet. Photo: DPJ
Delta Private Jets recently announced some leadership changes — seven former members of Delta Air Lines would be making the switch to the international carrier’s corporate jet arm. The Part 135 air carrier is also preparing to add some new in-flight connectivity technology to its fleet of aircraft, with plans to use IFC both for passengers and for pilots' and technicians' operational and maintenance needs.
Avionics caught up with David Sneed, EVP and COO of Delta Private Jets, and Lee Gossett, SVP of maintenance, to discuss the leadership changes and plans for future use of its new connectivity technology, Gogo Biz 4G.
Now that DPJ has new leadership in place, what will be the primary focus this year in terms of growing the operation beyond service level expectations?
Sneed: The newest additions to our leadership team validates our commitment to surpassing our service level expectations. Our approach is built on deep relationships that foster knowledge and skill sharing with Delta Air Lines and we are going to build a robust service level platform and an operational metric platform at Delta Private Jets. We are establishing a real benchmarking capability that provides on-time performance and reliability improvement metrics, which will be instrumental in transforming our customer service platform and will have an impact on the way we operate daily.
Gossett: We need to be extremely predictable and transparent with all of our activity and all of our operations. The passengers that choose to fly with us are looking for a seamless travel solution, and mechanical reliability. They do not want to be interrupted by disruptions when they come and fly in the private jet market, so instituting process controls and reliability improvements on our aircraft are some of the keys to enhancing the service level.
Is DPJ investing in any new airframes, or upgrades to the existing components or technology on your current fleet of aircraft?
Sneed: Yes, we’re going to continue to take on new aircraft in strategic locations. We just announced five new aircraft coming into the fleet, including a Cessna Citation CJ3+, a Citation XLS, Citation Excel, Bombardier Learjet 45XR and a Citation Sovereign+. We’re also in the process of adding Gogo Biz 4G equipment, the text and talk, vision, movie library and broadband speed capability, which will be a fleet wide upgrade.
Gossett: We want to continue to grow our capabilities and be self-sufficient with our maintenance repair and overhaul services to support all the needs of our fleet. Regarding avionics upgrades, we are a certified dealer for several business partners and perform flight management system upgrades and other avionics systems upgrades on our aircraft. Our team attends trainings to support these initiatives and Delta Private Jets will continue to invest in our facility, and the Tech Service Center team.
How are you looking to leverage the capabilities of your new in-flight connectivity technology both for cabin and operational usage?
Sneed: If you can imagine having internet capability, with broadband speed, the ability to get trend monitoring and real-time information and data from our aircraft is going to improve exponentially. Today we can email from the aircraft to handle a variety of communications. We can tap into flight operational quality assurance equipment on the aircraft with this new level of connectivity, we can also be proactive with our handling of the aircraft at all times, a goal that we have set.
Gossett: The airplane tells a story every day as we operate throughout day. When we see a mechanical issue or an indicator in the cockpit, we are trending those bits of detail and looking at the fleet in total. This allows us to better predict what future trends on the aircraft and to develop corrective actions for those items. We are proactive in listening to the story through the maintenance functionality daily, there is a lot of opportunity for connectivity with the new technology to help us in delivering much improved reliability across the board.