Private Jet Services Group wins $29 million judgment

A Florida court has confirmed a $29 million arbitration award against iAero Airways for Elevate Aviation’s PJS Group.

By Doug Gollan, August 1, 2023

A Florida court has confirmed a $29 million arbitration award against iAero Airways for Elevate Aviation’s PJS Group

Private Jet Services Group was awarded a $29 million judgment against Swift Air, now known as iAero Airways.  

It appears that the judgment could be related to a partnership agreement dating from June 2020.  

The ruling, from The Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County in Florida, stems from an arbitration judgment issued on February 13, 2023.  

According to the Florida Court’s filing, the total amount of the award was $28,504,084.82, with interest to accrue at 9% per annum, or a per diem rate of $7,028.40, after a 90-day grace period.  

It states iAero “did not move to vacate, modify, or correct the award.”  

PJS Group, a unit of Elevate Aviation, filed the petition in this action on April 26, 2023, seeking confirmation of the award.  

iAero was then served with the petition and summons in this proceeding on April 28, 2023, and did not file a responsive pleading under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.  

PJS then filed two notices of appearance for its attorneys on May 23, 2023.  

On June 19, 2023, PJS filed the motion seeking confirmation of the award under the Federal Arbitration Act, the Florida Arbitration Code, and a judicial default under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.500(b), and entry of judgment on the principal amount of the award, post-award interest.

PJS, iAero Partnership

At the time of signing the partnership with PJS, iAero Group CEO Robert Caputo said, “Our partnership with PJS further establishes our mutual capabilities, vision, and growth well into the future.”  

In 2020, PJS Group CEO Greg Raiff added, “After 18 years of working with various airlines for group charters, PJS has always been impressed with and confident in iAero’s capabilities.”

He continued, “When you pair their fleet and capabilities with the PJS customer service and logistics experience, you have created the best offering in the industry.”  

PJS specializes in group, sports, and entertainment travel, plus on-demand charter and offers customized jet cards.  

It was understood the partnership was designed so PJS would act as a sales agent for iAero Airways, which had approximately 35 Boeing 737s in its charter fleet at the time.  

On its website, PJS described the partnership as “an increased opportunity to align resources to enhance growth.”  

Based on the award, people familiar with the group charter market say it could represent around $300 million in sales that were being contested.  

Specifics of the case from arbitration were not readily available.  

According to iAero’s website, in 2018, it received backing from The Blackstone Group to acquire engine MRO AeroThrust Holdings and airframe MRO Miami Tech Aircraft Maintenance.

In 2019, it acquired Swift Air. It rebranded its acquisitions to iAero Thrust, iAero Tech, and iAero Airways.

Neither PJS nor iAero responded to requests for comment.

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