Jim Christiansen, a giant in the business aviation industry, passed away last night at the age of 67. He led several large air charter firms, as well as NetJets, over his nearly 50-year career, most recently serving as vice president of business development at FlightSafety International.
Christiansen’s start in aviation began with flying helicopters in the U.S. Army, where he served a one-year combat tour in Vietnam and two years as instructor pilot. After leaving the military, he managed the helicopter operations at Decair Helicopters and then BR Firestone before joining Executive Air Fleet/Jet Aviation in Teterboro, N.J. Christiansen joined EAF as a helicopter captain in March 1974 and rose to president before his departure in January 1990.
He then went to work for Richard Santulli at NetJets’ sister company, Executive Jet International, until September 1992. During his two-year stint as president there he integrated the company’s seven operating units and trimmed more than $10 million in annual overhead.
He also led K-C Transportation Services and then Wayfarer Aviation, before landing at TAG Aviation in 1999 as COO, a position he held for the next two years. Christiansen then rejoined the NetJets group in October 2001 as senior vice president at the fractional provider and was named president in 2007. In March 2010, he joined Hawker as vice president of sales for the Eastern U.S., a position he held until landing at FlightSafety in January last year.
At press time, details of funeral services had not yet been announced.