Wearing masks while traveling commercially will be something we see on an everyday basis. Something which was once strange to see, will become a normal thing. This will push more people to fly private as well, as there are no mask mandates when flying private.
As part of our series about “The Future Of Air Travel”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rudi Slochowski and Justin Kaminoff.
Rudi Slochowski is the co-founder and COO of Aerial Jets. A graduate from Nova Law School with degrees in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate, Slochowski began his career offering helicopter financing solutions, primarily representing Agusta and Eurocopter. Shortly after, he transitioned into the private jet sector offering the same financing solutions to end-users and charter operators primarily representing Gulfstream and Beechcraft. In 2015, Slochowski began working as a broker in the on-demand private charter space where he built a solid book of business and network. From there, he began his endeavors into the private charter industry and was able to provide reliable and transparent solutions to charter clients. In 2020, he then partnered with Justin Kaminoff and created what is now known as Aerial Jets, a modern approach to on demand jet charter and aviation sales. When Slochowski is not dedicating his time to aviation, he is either playing tennis or basketball, or spending as much time as possible with his two children and wife.
Justin Kaminoff is co-founder and CEO of Aerial Jets. A graduate from Penn State University, Kaminoff first began his career in property management before segueing into the aviation industry. He specializes in advocating for his clients, whether that be for a better aircraft at a lower price or taking the time to facilitate even the most difficult of requests. In 2020, Justin Kaminoff and Rudi Slochowski came together to create Aerial Jets, a certified, on-demand private jet charter provider with access to over 6,000 aircraft on the global charter marketplace. Kaminoff attributes his success to his determination and client focused attitude. The thing he most enjoys about working in the aviation industry is the relationships he has been able to build with his clients both on a professional and personal level. When Kaminoff is not working you can find him fishing with his closest friends and family.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
We have always loved the private aviation space. We wanted to bring forth a different way of doing business within the industry. We noticed there was a significant gap when it came to honest and trustworthy B2B relationships. We wanted to create long lasting relationships with companies that had been suffering the effects of COVID — like travel agencies, lifestyle management firms, sports agencies, financial firms, and other alike — to provide them with a means of producing income during a time where everything was practically shut down, without the fear of losing that client. Aerial Jets provides that solution! And we are growing fast because of that trust factor!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest but incredibly important mistake we made starting out was one we will NEVER make again. We had finally booked a trip for a client we were working on for months. As we were getting all the flight information from him, the client specified he wanted a departure time of 8 o’clock. But he did not specify if it was AM or PM. I imagine you can guess where this went wrong! The plane showed up at 8am but he wanted 8pm. Long story short, we ended up having to find him another plane, but we all had a big laugh for it afterwards. Small things like confirming AM or PM are so important in this business. We have never made that mistake again.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?
This is a tough business to succeed in. It’s important to understand that relationship building at this level takes time. Sometimes more than we’d like. Remaining persistent, keeping your eye on the prize and looking at it as a marathon (and not a sprint) will go a long way for you. Patience and persistence are what I can preach! Eventually you will achieve your goal and then it just snowballs from there.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
We have learned a lot from past experiences and of course from other important people in our lives. One very important person who we are extremely privileged to have on board is our secret partner (he knows who he is). He has contributed a ton of experience and connections into the business and has instilled confidence in us to push us even further. Having him in our corner has been of tremendous help and we are grateful.
Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Now that we have made a name for ourselves in this space, we are looking for good causes to align with. We would love to partner with organizations like the Make-A-Wish foundation, Ride 2 Revive and others alike.
Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the Aviation and Air Travel industries?
We don’t want to go too in depth with this but we are working many different ways to drive the cost of private air travel down. COVID has forced many people to look into flying private, which has been great for those that have the means to fly private. But we want to open it up further. So, we are working on a few new avenues (which may take a little time) to provide options for private travel to a higher percentage of the population. Stay Tuned!
Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing these innovations?
As mentioned above, we have seen that more people want to fly private, primarily because it allowed them to fly safer. They avoid airport crowds, less interaction with people, less risk of any airborne viruses and no hassle of security checks. We want more people to enjoy this luxury without having to spend a fortune for it. So, we’re working on a few innovations to help with that need.
How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
This will be a big boom to the private jet space and may be the beginning of the new norm. We’re a bit away from providing this solution as there are a lot of moving parts to it, but we strongly believe it will change travel as a whole.
Are there exciting new technologies that are coming out in the next few years that will improve the Air Travel experience? We’d love to learn about what you have heard.
As you know, the Pandemic changed the world as we know it. For the benefit of our readers, can you help spell out a few examples of how the Pandemic has specifically impacted Air Travel?
The private jet charter space has experienced the biggest boom we’ve ever seen. More people are looking to fly private than ever before. They don’t feel safe flying commercially, given with how many people they interact with. And this new COVID delta variant is starting to creep up. They don’t want to risk getting sick, so they elect to fly private. COVID has single handedly produced the biggest boom in the history of private jet travel.
Can you share five examples of how the Air Travel experience might change over the next few years to address the new realities brought by the Pandemic? If you can, please give an example for each.
- For those than can afford it, people are going to prefer flying private over commercial.
- Specialized aircraft with pod seating throughout the entire plane (similar to JetBlue Mint) will be coming out. For those that want a safer way to travel commercial.
- Countries will be forced to continue requiring COVID PCR tests when traveling abroad and specialized commercial vaccinated flights will be the new norm.
- Wearing masks while traveling commercially will be something we see on an everyday basis. Something which was once strange to see, will become a normal thing. This will push more people to fly private as well, as there are no mask mandates when flying private.
- This is going to be the beginning of a more affordable, more accessible and more enjoyable way to fly private.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think we should all give each other a chance (without judgement). Many times, we seem to neglect someone (or an opportunity) because of how the person looks or how the person talks. None of us are perfect, and you don’t know if you could be hurting yourself by discounting that person before really hearing them out.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
We are going to start promoting much more on Instagram. They can follow us at @aerialjets and also visit our website at www.aerialjets.com to read up on some interesting blog articles we are putting together.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!