Todd Webber, COO, Magellan Gates
Todd Webber is the Director of Operations at Magellan Gates She has been in the aviation industry for more than 30 years, amassing over 16,000 flight hours in a wide variety of aircraft, including jets, turboprops, seaplanes and gliders. He has held leadership positions at Trans States Airlines, Midway Airlines and NetJets, the largest provider of partial aircraft ownership services.
Mr. Weber’s focus over his 30 years of aviation experience has been to strive to improve the process, with the ultimate goal of providing optimal experiences and optimum results to clients. He has also served as a captain on four different types of turboprop aircraft, set up quality control and case management teams, implemented complex technology solutions, and delivered enhanced safety management systems – all with the customer experience in mind. Prior to Magellan Gates, he served as President and Managing Partner of Weeber & Associates, an operational excellence consultancy focused on strategic leadership, customer experience, and crisis management.
We recently spoke with Mr. Webber about the evolution of the Magellan Jets’ popularity, and how Covid has allowed the private airline industry to develop in a positive way. He also spoke about the future of SAFs – the sustainable aviation fuel for private jet aviation of the future.
JustLuxe: How has Covid affected the Magellan aircraft industry from both the positive and the hard?
Mr. WeberThere is a renewed understanding of the value that business aviation provides. It is safe to travel with smaller groups of people you know. Do not storm the cockpits by disturbed persons. In addition, our new partners provide easy and secure access to hundreds of resorts, villas, estates and yachting destinations.
In addition, now in commercial aircraft, there is a dearth of available aircraft and qualified crew members, and if you have to go somewhere, you often have to fly to other destinations before you go to your preferred destination. Business aviation with private jets takes you from here to there because we know what our customers know: time is precious.
Furthermore, as time is becoming more valuable to businesses and families now, there is an intentional and unintended resurgence. illegal charter, endangering persons and assets. And, of course, there is the “Carmagedon” or the sharp and unusual absence of rental cars available. Traveling by Magellan’s private jet removes risks to people and assets and eliminates wasted time.
JustLuxe: What is the percentage of customer growth during the first quarter of 2021?
Mr. Weber: 50% increase in membership and jet card programs, and 33% increase in on-demand jet charter.
JustLuxe: It has been said that the main advantage of private flying is a significant saving of time by the passenger, and the convenience of not being at a major airport. Are these advantages what your Magellan customers tell you, or are there other major advantages?
Mr. Weber: Yes really. Now, more important than ever since the airline’s schedule has been structurally altered to support leisure destinations – the main way to get to and from a business mission or essential services on the same day is by business jet. It is safe to travel with a few people who know each other. Private stations are usually less crowded
JustLuxe: Please talk about the future of green private jet flights. What is the length of Magellan on this path? And what research is being done on new jet fuel that is greener than it is now?
Mr. Weber: The majority of aviation’s impact comes from emissions other than carbon dioxide – emissions such as nitrous oxides or contrail formation. Emissions of gases and non-CO2 aerosol particles affect the composition of the atmosphere and clouds, which increases the overall climate impact of carbon dioxide emissions in the sector. Climate impacts can be compared with a measure known as the emissions index. Using an emissions index known as the global warming potential (GWP), we can convert the impact of non-CO2 emissions into an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2e).
To be truly emissions-neutral and reduce our full impact on climate change, we must consider our entire impact. The current best estimate of the global warming potential of all aviation emissions is 3.0, so to be emissions neutral it requires balancing 300% of CO2 emissions alone. Today, MJ customers can make up for whatever they like, even flights that aren’t directly operated by Magellan Jets.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) provides the only viable way to significantly reduce aviation emissions in the short to medium term. SAF can be made from renewable sources such as used cooking oil, municipal waste and wood biomass. For now, SAFs are viable, but they are not an ideal solution. There’s no breakthrough yet, but we’re close. Magellan Gates is on its way to benefit from all of the SAF by 2025.
Next-generation aircraft also offer superior unit economics: greater transmission reliability and dramatically lower operating costs while also benefiting the environment. Magellan Jets will select one to two types of next-generation aircraft in each category (helicopters, turboprops, light, medium, medium and large commercial jets) between today and 2030 to enable the next generation of business and private jets to do just that. It flies without any environmental impact.
JustLuxe: I’ve just added two new aircraft to the growing number of Magellan aircraft – the Cessna CJ3/4, which is a flexible light aircraft with great strength and fuel economy, and the Bombardier Challenger 604/605, which is a heavier aircraft. What are the reasons for Magellan doing this, in addition to expanding a member’s membership card options?
Mr. WeberAs the recognized voice of business and private aviation users, we are constantly updating our suite of solutions to suit the demand of our jet card owners, members and customers.
JustLuxe: Finally, we believe that the mission and vision of Magellan (just like Ferdinand Magellan of the same name who discovered unknown lands until his death after he was the first to circumnavigate the world) will be for vacationers and business travelers wherever they want to go. In dealing with distant lands, such as Antarctica, or 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, or to places in Saudi Arabia, how close is Magellan to activating this vision??
Mr. Weber: If you’re looking for a Ferdinand-like adventure like this one, with happy endings, we can do all this today.