As an entrepreneur, Simon Librati enjoyed the time he spent traveling in private jets. “I loved the experience and always hoped to one day have my own jet, so when this opportunity came up, it was a dream come true!” he said. The opportunity he is speaking of is becoming the owner and CEO of QAC, a private jet maintenance, repair, and charter company. The firm was founded in 1996, but in early 2022, Simon bought the flourishing company to grow the business to meet the tremendous demand from clients across the country in an era in which jet travel is more popular than ever.
A visionary leader, Simon realized all QAC had to offer. It specializes in a wide variety of private jets, and currently has one hangar in Florida and four mobile units. “We are opening a new division for charters and full-service executive protection and transport for our clients and are also investing in mobile repair units that let us travel to our clients’ jets for repairs. We have just invested a significant chunk in a financial software company that will significantly reduce our engineers’ and mechanics’ admin time so they can concentrate on service,” he added.
We spoke with Simon to learn more about his background and how QAC is changing the face of jet travel.
Tell us a bit about your background and how it plays a role in QAC’s vision.
I started my career in the brokerage industry in 1992, when you bought 1,000 shares of a stock and the commission was $1,000 a ticket. Then discount brokers dropped the commission from $1,000 to $10, and as a broker, my commission was slashed. I saw an opportunity in the marketplace and developed my own platform to reduce the cost from $10 to 10 cents a trade. In any business, there’s always a battle on price. Same thing with private jets. It used to cost $20-30-40k to fly, now you can rent a whole jet for $4k to 6k an hour. The price of jet travel has decreased, but maintenance and repair costs will continue to increase. Prior to QAC, I built the largest proprietary trading firm doing about 4% of the US equities market volume and building technology on Wall Street with Clearpool Group, where I built one of the largest execution brokers in the world before the company was sold to Bank of Montreal in 2020, so I’m very familiar with how to identify trends in consumer demands and developing innovative services and technology to meet them. Today, you don’t need a million dollars to fly in a jet, but there will continue to be demand and we created a platform offering expert technology and support to our customers.
How is QAC different from its competitors?
Unlike large jet companies, we’re a boutique firm catering exclusively to our clients’ needs. We have hundreds of customers—90% are corporations and 10% are individuals. We’re giving those owners the same service that until now only large corporations could access. With our four mobile repair units, we can be at a customer’s location within a few hours. We’ve been doing this since 1996, so we know what most often breaks on planes, and we carry these parts in stock. We make sure we are very focused on the niche market of the exclusive jets we deal with. Our repair/maintenance staff is a team of certified professionals, all experts in jet maintenance, who have been with QAC for over 10 years.
Can you share some of your future plans for QAC?
Our focus right now is Miami, and next year, we’ll be concentrating on Texas, the second-largest hub for jet travel, and then New York and Georgia. We hope to double our staff by the end of the year, and plan on increasing our hangars to three. We’re also building an app for private jet owners. In Q2 2023, we’re also looking to expand into chartering and buying jets and providing a complete hospitality and transport experience for our clients, including executive protection, transport, and hotel bookings.
What do you enjoy most about your work, Simon?
What satisfies me is finding an industry that is young and needs development and has enormous potential to grow in the world. Developing that and seeing it come to fruition gives me way more satisfaction than making money. More importantly, I’m a Canadian from a middle-class home and a very close family, and this has taught me values and respect towards my peers and my employees; we like to think of our company as a home.
CEO & Owner — QAC