Lansing Aviation

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Aircraft Rental Instruction Business Plan

Market Analysis Summary

Lansing Aviation will be focusing initially on students interested in obtaining their private pilot certificate. These students will primarily come from word-of-mouth-advertising from our instructors, students, and other contacts at Mackinac-Great Lakes Airlines System. We will attempt to continue teaching these students through their instrument rating course with us, upon completion of their private pilot package.

We feel that our well-maintained aircraft, combined with our personable and enthusiastic flight instructors, will generate repeat business from our private pilot students returning for their instrument ratings.

4.1 Market Segmentation

  1. Unsatisfied Students: We hope to obtain students and renters that are dissatisfied with their current instructors or aircraft from our competition before they become so frustrated that they cease flying.
  2. M-GLAS Employees: Our largest group of new students will hopefully come from Mackinac-Great Lakes Airlines System employees looking to start an aviation career. However, the M-GLAS pilots, M-GLAS mechanics with pilots licenses, and their children will also serve as a strong target market for us.
  3. Curious Flyers: The unrealized group of students that have "always wanted to learn to fly" is another market segment that we intend to develop.
  4. Other Flights/Miscellaneous Rental: Sight-seeing flights, color tours, real-estate surveying, Air Force training, and traffic watch will also be targeted.
Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Curious / Interested Future Pilots 20% 15 18 22 26 31 19.90%
M-GLAS Pilots, Friends, Neighbors 30% 10 13 17 22 29 30.50%
Other Schools Unhappy Students 1% 1 1 1 1 1 0.00%
Other Flights / Misc. Rentals 15% 5 6 7 8 9 15.83%
Total 22.58% 31 38 47 57 70 22.58%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

We will focus our marketing to prospective students that are looking for fun, qualified instructors and a well-maintained and well-equipped aircraft. The aircraft must fly several hours each month, so we will continuously urge interested students to call our list of qualified instructors. Each prospective pilot that contacts Lansing Aviation for information will be sent a private pilot price sheet with approximate costs and a free 6-month subscription to AOPA Flight Training magazine.

The airline shortage has created an immense demand for increased pilot training. The previous aircraft rental company in Lansing ended up needing additional aircraft to meet the increased demands of new students in the area.

There are rising numbers of students and renters that are looking for a professionally-maintained and well-equipped aircraft for training and renting.

4.2.2 Market Needs

There are several students currently flying at Capital City Airport that are unhappy with either the quality of their current instruction or the poorly maintained aircraft they are renting. A flight with our instructors in our well-equipped Cessna 172 Skyhawk will confirm their displeasure with our competition and generate new business for us.

Mackinac-Great Lakes Airlines Systems is the largest employer in Lansing, with 19,000 employees, and we feel that these employees are aware of the excellent careers held by M-GLAS pilots. We hope this awareness will generate interest in flying. Additionally, many M-GLAS pilots and M-GLAS mechanics fly small airplanes for fun and to transport their families to vacation spots.

4.2.3 Market Growth

The rental aircraft in the Lansing area are averaging over 50 hours of revenue flying per month. This indicates a very solid number of new students, additional ratings for current students, and more disposable income being used to obtain the long-time personal dream of obtaining a pilot's license. Lugnut Flying Aviation, a flight school that ceased operation, was averaging over 70 hours of revenue flying per month and produced a net profit in the first year of operation.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

Our consulting will be a very valuable asset to people of the community who are interested in flying or choosing flying as a career. Many parents have questions regarding the "correct" path for their children with regard to a career as a pilot in the airline industry. These would include flight training, colleges and college curricula, and most importantly, costs. Our goal is to advise them of the best possible options to their questions, using our own personal experience.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

In the flight instruction business, word-of-mouth advertising and personal marketing are the main reason that students choose one flight school over another. Many students begin flying after coincidentally meeting a certified flight instructor and discussing their dream of flying. Through these discussions, students participate in an introductory flight and decide whether or not they enjoyed the experience and whether or not the training will be affordable.

Occassionally, a student will have a personality conflict with his or her instructor and may choose to try a new instructor. We intend to capitalize on some of these unfortunate conflicts at Capital City Airport and attract their business with our professional, enthusiastic, and qualified instructor group.

Our reputation of maintaining a nice-looking and well-maintained aircraft at an affordable price will be our final and most respected selling medium.

4.3.2 Main Competitors

Spartan Wings:

Strengths: They have several different rental aircraft from which to choose, and excellent marketing in the field. Because of an all-female management team and ownership, their exposure to women in aviation is enormous.

Weaknesses: Their flight instructors are only instructing to build flight time in order to obtain an airline or corporate job. Male students have complained of special treatment and training for female students. Aircraft are not well-maintained, and the pilot-product of their school has not been strong.

Wolverine Aviation:

Strengths: They provide competition to Spartan Wings, which gives an alternative for unhappy students at Spartan Wings. They have several rental airplanes to choose from for instruction, and ample room for teaching.

Weaknesses: They have poor community exposure and advertising, poor reputation of flight instructors, and high aircraft rental rates.

4.3.3 Business Participants

There are currently two flight schools operating at Capital City Airport. These schools will be our competition; however, we will not be a "formal" flight school. Lansing Aviation will have several independent flight instructors that will bring in their own students and will work independently from Lansing Aviation, while renting our aircraft. All instructors from the defunct Lugnut Flying Aviation have verbally committed to bringing all of their business to Lansing Aviation upon its acquisition of an aircraft.