In December of last year, STA Jets Inc. was comparable to the proverbial sinking ship, but mind the differentiating trait that it was private jet operator. Then the inevitable happened—it hit rock bottom. Thankfully, the only way to go was up. With a new team, a new vision, and an all-around company makeover, fast-forward almost a year and STA is now climbing the ranks to be at the top of the jet charter industry.
The first part of the revamp? Location. STA Jets upgraded to a brand new facility in Orange County, and as Kurt Belcher, the COO for STA, explains, “It is the newest, nicest facility in Orange County.” Also added to that mix was a new gang of leaders—Belcher, Steve Gallup as VP of operations, and Danyelle Ditchie as director of business development. This new team of aviation experts was fully financed organically by the man who believed wholeheartedly in the vision, Storm Bartling. The chemistry between the new team blossomed into a concoction of collaborative efforts that have catapulted STA to the pinnacle of private jetting. The team utilized their combined 75 years of aviation experience and tweaked what they had done into what they wanted to do.
Of course, the group put in a fair share of elbow grease to get to where they are. Almost overnight they permeated their target demographic in the OC and quickly proved themselves in the national aviation community through all means of personal contact, both locally and nationally. One of the roughest tasks in the STA transformation was salvaging their image. Ditchie explains her hesitance to even get involved with the company. “I had heard of STA and most of it was not favorable,” she recalls. But within her first month, Ditchie says they had succeeded in winning crucial client relationships. “We out-flew our competition on the field, and transformed a poor reputation by demonstrating eagerness, out-of-the-box marketing strategies, and a commitment to always over-deliver.
This revitalization gave STA quite the competitive edge; while other companies were slashing prices to stay afloat and maintain their client base, STA Jets stood firm with a realistic price program that paralleled its service quality. Appearances also benefitted the reborn company—that aforementioned new facility in Orange County that provides views from within the offices allowing clients to peruse the fleet, also offers a 9,000-square-foot hanger and three acres of tarmac space complete with an aircraft museum and a car collection yet to be revealed to the public. So from the get-go Belcher says that they looked strong and people were intrigued by what was going on at their hangar.