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Interview with Richard Zaher, CEO of Paramount Business Jets

Richard Zaher grew up in Virginia and attended Herndon High School. Shortly after graduation he attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to become a commercial pilot. Throughout the years of flying and studying at ERAU he began to realize that he was more interested in the business aspects of private aviation. He ended up graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Studies and moved to New York City. In 2005 he started Paramount Business Jets (a private jet charter brokerage designed to provided charter solutions to VIP clients worldwide) and he has never looked back. They are now ranked as the second fastest growing travel company in America according to INC500. Richard Zaher What is it that you do exactly?
A typical day for me involves having a company conference call with our team and then following up with additional project specific calls. Checking emails and then working on helping to further develop projects related to our operations, sales, marketing and future planning.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I enjoy working with our team of sophisticated and knowledgeable aviation professionals. I enjoy developing systems to improve the services we provided to our clients. And mostly I enjoy, above all, hearing from our clients who thank us for saving them thousands while providing them with seamless solutions to help them achieve their missions.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
1. I enjoyed Boca Raton, Florida. The amazing weather combined with local upscale mom and pop stores combined with great restaurants makes this city a great place to be. 2. Paris, France. I truly enjoyed the food and the tourist attractions. 3. Manhattan, New York. An amazing city with more to see and do than anyone can imagine.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
I love seafood but I will never bite into another soft shell crab ever again. I tried it once and only one bite – I still can’t imagine how people can enjoy biting into this barbaric sandwich. Surprisingly one of my best friends could not stop talking about how good it was. Go figure.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
At Paramount Business Jets, we are regularly dealing with the hottest artists, singers and entrepreneurs. I must say from my experience that the majority of the most successful people are the nicest people in world. Before starting the private jet company I had the pleasure of working in a Spike Lee film, where I worked closely with not only the amazing Spike Lee but also Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. These folks were incredibly down to earth and had a truly wonderful presence. As part of our training Mr. Lee would show us films from the past and point out certain sections or feelings in the movie. Many thanks to my amazing agent Francis Delduca of FIFI Oscard.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
I am most looking forward to visiting Kenya and going on a safari. Seems like an amazing experience and place to see in person.
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Richard. Your tale about the soft-shelled crab caught my attention – it’s interesting that opinions can vary so much and that seemingly one man’s meat is another man’s poison! I haven’t made it to Kenya myself yet, but have enjoyed the safari experience in neighbouring Tanzania.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed when you come to do that trip. If you would like to be interviewed on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. Interesting and smart guy(Richard), you always have to think outside the box.

    However i don’t know why the author was so quick to discredit Kenya over Tanzania?? I’ve tried them both and there’s now way Tanzania comes close to Kenya. The scenery may be more or less the same but the diversity in Kenya is just amazing. From very traditional and cultured communities all the way to some of the hippest cities, restaurants, hotels, museums e.t.c- i mean it can truly feel just like any other western city and on the other opposite some of the most authentic and luxurious game lodges and tented luxury camps. All this complimented by some of the best hospitality ever and great genuine people. Thats why Kenya has the largest western and expat community of any other country in East and Central Africa!! C’mon now Tanzania doesn’t have anything close to all these….unless you want endless traffic jams in Dar-es-Salam!

  2. Exactly where did I discredit Kenya, Tony…?! I did nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I said “I’m sure you won’t be disappointed when you come to do that trip.”

    As yet I have never been to Kenya and can therefore only fairly comment on where I have been – Tanzania – which I would personally highly recommend for a safari. I did not say “you should go to Tanzania rather than Kenya” (or anything akin to that) so please don’t jump to conclusions!

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