Silvestro has helped guide the company through its acquisition of Flexjet from Bombardier and the challenges of ramping up in the Covid private jet travel boom
Flexjet Chief Executive Officer Mike Silvestro has been awarded the Living Legends of Aviation Lifetime Aviation Industry Award.
Silvestro was given the group’s highest honor at its 20th annual awards event on Jan. 20, 2023, hosted by John Travolta at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
“I am thrilled that the Living Legends of Aviation has honored Mike Silvestro with its Lifetime Aviation Industry Award,” said Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci, himself a recipient of the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award to which the award now carries his namesake.
Ricci continued, “I have worked with Mike for more than two decades, and he has revolutionized private jet travel with expanded accessibility and efficiency while also making Flexjet a leader in sustainability, technology innovation, and the creation of new forms of air travel.”
Founded in 2003 at the beginning of aviation’s second hundred years, the Living Legends of Aviation is a group of people of accomplishment in the field – entrepreneurs, pilots, astronauts, industry leaders, record breakers, and celebrities who have become noted pilots – who celebrate accomplishments and advances in aviation.
Members include astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, actor-aviators Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise, and business leaders Clay Lacy and Fred Smith.
Silvestro said, “This honor is a tribute to the people at Flexjet who embody our fundamental principles that enable us to lead our industry to new heights,” said Silvestro. “Over the course of my career I have been proud to be a leader in private aviation as it has evolved into the exciting industry it is today.”
About Flexjet CEO Mike Silvestro
Silvestro left a successful career as a marketing entrepreneur to join Ricci at Flight Options in 2000.
He served as CEO of the company through the severe downturn that followed the 2008 financial crisis and recession, allowing it to rebound with a year-over-year 467% increase in fractional jet sales in the first quarter of 2011.
In 2013, Directional Aviation acquired Flexjet from Bombardier, eventually merging its operations with those of Flight Options and naming Silvestro as CEO of the combined enterprise.
Since then, he led Flexjet through the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing new health standards and innovative initiatives such as Project Lift, under which Flexjet flight crews traveled to or from their assignments on Flexjet’s private fleet instead of commercial airlines, minimizing the risk of contagion.
Under Silvestro’s leadership. Flexjet has become an industry innovator, launching premium offering Red Label, providing integrated travel options worldwide through its fleet of large-cabin and ultra-long-range aircraft, establishing a growing network of private jet terminals, and becoming the only operator to offer seamless travel via its own private helicopter division.
In addition, Flexjet has been a leader in sustainability, providing carbon-neutral service in the U.S. and Europe through 4AIR.
Silvestro holds a degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame, where he was roommates with Ricci.
Silvestro is married to his wife of 40 years, Mary Lynn Silvestro, with whom he has brought up four children.
He serves on the Board of Trustees of Ursuline College and is actively involved in youth education initiatives.
Silvestro’s honor comes in advance of the combination of Flexjet and Horizon Acquisition Corporation II (NYSE: HZON), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, which will result in Flexjet becoming a publicly listed company.
He will serve as co-CEO of the combined company.