With an affinity for planes spanning over three decades, Dan Piraino started at the very bottom of the business. Driven by his passion for aviation, he is flying high, in the director seat at The Dumont Group.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY, DUMONT GROUP.
I have been a pilot for over 30 years. I have a passion for aviation and have been involved with everything from cleaning planes while in high school to running the Dumont Group enterprise along with my business partner, Kevin Wargo. The Dumont Group is made up of Dumont MRO which is maintenance, paint and interior; then Volo Direct is our aircraft parts company; and Dumont JETS which handles aircraft sales and charter.
WHAT MADE YOU VENTURE INTO THE AVIATION INDUSTRY?
My father used to take my brother and me to the local airport to watch planes for hours. He encouraged us to go ask to ride the jumpseat when traveling on the airlines. I remember sharing a jumpseat with my brother on a 747 from Rio to Miami. I could hardly see anything as I was a little guy of only 8 or 9 years old, but we asked every question imaginable to the (very patient) crew. I knew from a very early age that aviation was for me. It was the same for my brother, who is a 747 captain today.
YOU HAVE SOME EXQUISITE AIRCRAFT FOR CHARTER. WHAT SETS THEM APART FROM OTHER AIRCRAFT, BESIDES THE LUXURY ASPECT?
At Dumont, EVERY plane you board will be wi-fi equipped and will have an interior no older than two or three years old. We own and operate our own paint and interior refurbishment facilities and we make sure the paint and interior on our fleet surpasses our passenger’s expectations.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT INTERIOR OPTIONS. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DESIGN?
Thank you for noticing. One thing I really enjoy is the paint and interior design. We work as a team to check each detail, but making the final selections is definitely a task I very much enjoy. I also enjoy working with our external customers in guiding them in their selections of paint and interior.
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE.
I spend my time on identifying our next acquisitions. Dumont Group is very active in paring out of parting. Our parts division, Volo Direct, handles the sales of the parts we harvest off of parting out aircraft. We typically part out 2-3 aircraft each month. This is a very small industry, and a lot of my time is spent visiting, on the phone or in person, contacts that we have made over the last 30+ years. The relationships are so vital, and it is very rewarding to stay involved on this personal level.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACING THE PRIVATE CHARTERED AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY?
The charter industry is very hot right now. There is definitely a shortage of high quality charter planes in the market. We are working on our expansion plans for the balance of 2018 and into 2019 and we are excited to see our fleet grow to accommodate some of this shortage.
I ASSUME WHEN YOU CHARTER AN AIRCRAFT, NOT ONLY DO YOU MAKE ‘AN ENTRY’, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ALL THE ASPECTS OF OWNING THE AIRCRAFT. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF CHARTERING AS OPPOSED TO OWNING?
It is a matter of utilization versus economics. Some customers fly very little and on demand charter works well for them. In some cases, our clients have increased their utilization significantly and we get the inevitable phone call and they ask us to transition them from charter to full ownership.
WHAT CAN CLIENTS EXPECT FROM DUMONT JETS?
Quality. It is very rewarding to get the feedback from end users as well as charter brokers as they compliment our crews, our planes, and our operations center personnel. This is a huge team effort to go from the charter sale to the full-service flight. It takes a lot of people and moving pieces and what the customer sees is a seamless service with high-end amenity and a beautiful plane.
HOW ‘GREEN’ ARE THE AIRCRAFT?
We have worked very hard over the last 18 months, modernizing our fleet. We have retired our fleet of less efficient aircraft as we transition into our modern fleet of Falcon and Gulfstream aircraft.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AIRCRAFT AND WHY THAT SPECIFIC ONE?
I will say, I enjoy flying on all of our planes. It is fun to arrive at a FBO in our Red Jets – our new branding- as without fail, several people will stop us to compliment the plane.
EXCITING PROSPECTS FOR DUMONT GROUP ON THE HORIZON?
We have some really cool growth coming. Contracts are signed, equipment is on the way. You can expect our fleet to grow significantly over the next 18 months as we take delivery of a new plane every month for 18 months. The customers have spoken, and we are growing to accommodate the strong demand!
| Photos courtesy of Joe at photojoe.com