A high flyer who won't be eclipsed
James Moon earned his private pilot’s licence at 17. His passion for all things aviation-related led him to launch the charity Stratus at 18 and then remarketing venture Moon Jet Group – as chief executive
What sparked your interest in aviation?
I have been aviation mad from a very early age. I loved anything to do with aircraft and aviation, from aircraft toys to aviation magazines. I lived near to the flightpath at Newcastle international airport too, which was great growing up. I got my private pilot’s licence when I was 17, and still love taking a Piper Warrior up now and then for an hour over the stunning Northumberland coastline.
Why did you launch Moon Jet Group?
I discovered there was a massive niche for an honest, genuine and trustworthy international aircraft remarketing firm that connected serious buyers with serious sellers. Our MJG brand and website is fantastic in my eyes and it must be doing something right, as we are currently remarketing 66 aircraft, from Airbus A330-300s to Boeing 767s, 737s and 727s and dozens of turboprops and helicopters worldwide. Given the fact we are remarketing 66 aircraft it makes us one of the largest aircraft remarketing firms in the world at present, which is brilliant.
You are a chief executive at only 22 years old. Is your age an obstacle in business?
Absolutely. I have lost many clients who I have been getting on great with until they do some research and discover I am only 22. I then get told not to contact them again or the classic “thanks but no thanks”. However, you do get used to it after a while and it does shape you as an individual and makes you stronger. But I understand where they are coming from. Would you let a 22-year-old sell your $80 million aircraft?
Tell us about your aviation charity, Stratus.
Stratus is fantastic. I launched it when I was 18 and it enabled me to create some great relationships with key aviation businesses and figures worldwide. Stratus offers life-changing flights in a light aircraft from across the US, UK and Canada for disabled, terminally ill and disadvantaged children.
What prompted you to launch it?
When I was 16 and during my private pilot training, I suffered a broken spine and got told by medical staff that I would be highly unlikely ever to fly again. Given this had been a lifelong dream, I was devastated. However, the power of flight and the freedom that flying offered kept me going and six months after the injury, I managed to prove medical staff wrong and go solo in an aircraft. If it wasn’t for the experience that flying offers, I don’t think I would have recovered so quickly. It is this feeling of flight that I want disabled, terminally ill and disadvantaged children to experience and to enable them to feel that anything is possible.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
At the rate we are going I would like to think we will have opened more offices worldwide with MJG, got over 50 sales staff selling aircraft and will be connecting even more serious buyers with serious sellers. I would ideally like for MJG to get into aircraft leasing and also aircraft engine sales, but one step at a time, and let’s see what happens. I am incredibly excited about the future with Moon Jet Group, so watch this space.
Can you describe your typical week?
At the moment my week is pretty busy and nonstop, from conference calls at 04:00 to deal with my clients in Asia to speaking with clients in California at 23:00. I have meetings booked in for all over the world with many clients, which is great. It is exhausting but I love every minute of it and wouldn’t change it for the world.