Business

If you want to fly and float in style, these men have set the niche service just for you

BY Preta Peace Namasaba July 11, 2024 9:36 AM EDT

In 2019, Aaron Wilson and Kelvin Mensah founded Approved Jets, a private aviation brokerage company. This was a niche industry service, specializing in selling, leasing, managing, and chartering jets, helicopters, and yachts and offering luxury concierge services. The duo has managed to maintain complete ownership of the enterprise and generate multi-million dollar revenue in only a few years.

“We used our own money to start this business, so we don’t have any investors, and to be honest, private aviation is an industry where there are high barriers to entry. But it’s especially challenging as young men of color trying to do something in an industry where there aren’t many people who look like us,” Wilson said about their growth strategy.

A graduate of Binghamton University’s School of Management, Wilson is a venture capitalist and operator with extensive experience in recruiting. He worked at JP Morgan Chase and later moved on to human capital consulting and recruitment positions for several other firms. His interests eventually shifted toward exploring the emerging technology landscape. Mensah, on the other hand, is an entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in providing private flights throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, and the United Arab Emirates.

The two worked together at another private aviation brokerage before deciding to strike out on their own. They leveraged their collective experience and resources in the industry to build Approved Jets. Wilson and Mensah decided to build the company as though it were a technology startup, with a primary focus on market share like Uber or Airbnb. Approved Jets was consequently founded to deliver on-demand private jets and helicopters to redefine luxury aviation and usher in a new wave of opulence.

Approved Jets has since become one of the industry’s most recognized Black-owned private aviation brokerage companies. It weathered the pandemic-induced downtime to emerge as a favorite as people sought to sidestep airport hassles and security screenings. The company’s extensive network of light, mid-size, super mid-size, and heavy jets offers premium travel experiences to world-class athletes, public figures, and large business enterprises. Approved Jets has grown its top-line revenue by over 30% year over year since inception – a testament to the founder’s unwavering commitment and vision.

Wilson and Mensah are ambitious. They know that many exciting business opportunities exist beyond the realm of air travel and fully intend to tap into them. Approved Jets’ long-term growth strategy includes developing a mobile application that allows clients to also book lodging, car rentals, and vacation excursions through the company’s digital interface. The sky is not the limit for the multimillion-dollar revenue aviation brokerage firm.

“Nine times out of 10, the person who wants to rent the car or book the jet also wants to book the villa. Or they want to charter the yacht. So, why have this person operate across multiple platforms and make it a cumbersome booking process when we could streamline that into one easy mobile application? We’re hoping this will change the landscape of what it looks like to connect with like-minded individuals based on common interests,” Wilson explained