Executive Fliteways asking, 'What downturn?'

 - May 9, 2008, 7:06 AM

With 13 aircraft in its stable, Executive Fliteways at Long Island McArthur Airport (ISP) in Islip, N.Y. has seen 45-percent growth over the past two years, and it is looking for more. The 20-year-old business acquired the former Liz Claiborne hangar at ISP in February and spent some $250,000 refurbishing and equipping the facility as its charter dispatch headquarters. Executive Fliteways’ fleet includes aircraft from a Bell LongRanger to a Gulfstream IV, with particular emphasis on its Learjet contingent.

The company has established a relationship with Bombardier in which it will simultaneously list a pre-owned aircraft for sale and continue to operate it on its charter ticket. All Executive Fliteways aircraft are customer owned and operated under Part 135. A helicopter shuttle service to Manhattan is planned for the LongRanger, with an expected cost of about $350 (.3 hr at $975 per hour) one way.

Executive Fliteways employs 35 full-time pilots, all of whom live in the Long Island area, within a 30-min drive of the airport. Company president John Grillo said all pilots are hired as first officers, regardless of their experience level, and they then train to Executive Fliteways’ customer-service standards. The Wyvern-approved charter operator uses SimuFlite for recurrent training, sending captains on a six-month schedule, and first officers on an annual cycle. Grillo said about 22- to 25 percent of charter business comes from backing up fractional operators, including Executive Jet’s NetJets program (for which the operation and its pilots are regularly audited), Bombardier Flexjet, Raytheon Travel Air and Flight Options.