FlyExclusive plans to continue its rapid expansion, executives told attendees at a ceremony to open a new 48,000 square feet maintenance hangar today in Kinston, North Carolina.
President and Chief Operating Officer Tommy Sowers says the company has hired 150 maintenance technicians in the past seven months and expects to add 100 more similar positions in the coming months.
The leading private jet fleet operator now operates three maintenance shifts on a 24/7 basis.
The new hangar includes 11,000 square feet of space dedicated to interior refurbishment, including re-covering seats, cabinets, and paneling.
It also includes facilities that enable FlyExclusive to install the Garmin G5000 Flight Deck into its fleet of Citation Excels.
Last year, FlyExclusive unveiled a 24,000 square feet stripping and painting facility.
The company’s fleet sourcing model had been buying and leasing preowned jets and then painting and refurbishing them, although it expects its first new aircraft delivery next year as part of its recently announced fractional ownership program.
“We want to be the most vertically integrated private aviation company in the world,” Sowers says.
With its fleet size expected to pass the century mark by early next year, Founder and CEO Jim Segrave tells Private Jet Card Comparisons more growth is in the pipeline.
An additional bigger hangar, a new FBO, and a terminal are under development.
The company also plans to launch its own simulator facility for pilot training, and it will build a hotel at the Kinston Regional Jetport, where it is headquartered.
The former military airport has an 11,000-feet runway, the longest east of the Mississippi.
Segrave says that move will bring money currently spent on 6,000 annual hotel room nights to North Carolina.
The overall plan will mean around 2,500 total jobs, mostly in Kinston, says Chief Strategy Officer Mike Guina.
The company currently has around 800 employees, with that number expected to hit 1,000 by early next year. It has added a net of 120 pilots since the beginning of the year as the total workforce grew from 450.
Executives say the investments mean 80% of maintenance is now done in-house. The goal is to have 90% of pilot training in-house by 2024.
Sowers says vertical integration decreases FlyExclusive’s dependence on the supply chains of third-party providers, which increases reliability.
As the industry struggles to handle record volume, nearly 44% of Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers say they had flights impacted by delays or cancelations, more than double from last year.
In addition to handling its in-house needs, FlyExclusive last year began taking third-party customers for its paint shop.
Sowers says the company has been successfully integrating its own work with outside customers.
For example, in the fourth quarter, when Fly’s fleet has its highest utilization, the company recently launched an incentive. It offers aircraft owners jet card member rates to fly while their airplane is in the shop.
Segrave says the company has increased membership in its Jet Club jet card program by 133% year-over-year.
He launched FlyExclusive in 2015 after selling Segrave Aviation to Delta Air Lines in 2010.