Chief Executive Officer
Steven Santo has served as Chief Executive Officer, President and a director of Avantair since its inception in June 2003 and Skyline Aviation Services, Inc. since June 2002. Mr. Santo is a licensed, commercially-rated pilot who has been flying for approximately 15 years. From 1995 through 2001, Mr. Santo practiced law as an attorney in private practice, concluding his law practice in 2001 as a name partner at the firm of Fields, Silver & Santo. From 1992 to 1995, Mr. Santo served as an Assistant District Attorney in New York working in the office’s major crimes unit. Mr. Santo received a J.D. from St. Johns School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University.
ET: How has the new lease program been received by your customers?
Steve Santo: It’s been an incredible success. We are able to provide customers with an entirely new value proposition that involves minimum upfront costs and no risk on future residual value of the aircraft. Its attracted new customers to Avantair as well as provided existing customers with an easy, painless way to add lift to their schedules.
ET: What sort of usage would you say is typical for an Avantair client?
Steve Santo: The actual performance specs of the Avanti aircraft define how our clients fly. That said, our customers are utilizing our fleet in a multitude of ways…it’s hard to say what would be typical. Although, it is a great aircraft for flying between the Northeast and South Florida; it fits right into that mission and we see a lot of that usage. Same for Seattle/Silicon Valley and number of other common flight paths. Also, the cabin seating makes it equally well-suited for business and leisure flying.
ET: So what do you think is the winning part of the formula for Avantair? Pure cost of operation? Mission appropriateness?
Steve Santo: I actually give the jet itself a lot of the credit for our success. The Avanti aircraft sports the most comfortable cabin in its class. Because the aircraft is a unibody design, it’s all one piece, not a fuselage and wings. The cabin can be much wider, taller and more egg-shaped, than traditional small jet cabins, and this makes a big difference if you fly routinely or for more than an hour or so. It has a stand-up cabin, and a fully enclosed private aft lavatory. Our aircraft interiors are superior to every competitive aircraft interior. Our aircraft interior are as large as many mid size cabin aircraft – you get a mid size cabin with light jet performance at turbo prop pricing.
ET: And there’s a “green” edge too?
Steve Santo: A “green” edge that connects directly with cost of operation, yes. The Avanti engines are among the most fuel-efficient on any airplane in the world. We typically run fuel surcharges at 60 percent below what other light jets can cost to operate.
ET: And where to do you fly on your Avanti when you get a little time-off?
Steve Santo: Those days are getting rarer and rarer…but I am a dad, and my family and I love to get some time in to fish. We’ll go to the islands, the Bahamas, for bone-fishing and other tropical pursuits. Using a private aircraft makes those hard-to-squeeze-in times possible. Our customers often say, “you bought me a day,” when they reflect on exactly what on-demand private aviation has done for them. And even a day can be precious if you use it to connect with your loved ones.