The recent addition of a Legacy 600 brings Elite Air's Legacy fleet to three; the other two are a 600 and 650. The company currently manages 25 aircraft, mostly based in Florida.
“The Legacy 600 will be used to support the heavy demand for large cabin aircraft,” says president AJ Becker. “It features a 13 passenger interior that was completely refurbished in 2017, and further upgraded in 2019.”
The aircraft has been given new quartz countertops, all new metal trim plating, new generation LED lighting and custom acoustical soundproofing by Skandia. At the same time it received an upgraded Ovation cabin management system by Honeywell along with a GoGo Avance L5 high speed broadband system that provides connectivity to an Apple TV and Google Chromecast. There is also an Alto surround sound system and two GoGo Visions.
More aircraft are expected. “We have two currently under contract for clients that will be added to the fleet within the coming months,” adds Becker.
Charter numbers were up 55 per cent last year compared to 2019, and, he says: “Our real goal for 2022 will be to maximise revenue on each trip for our owners, while still having their aircraft available to them.”
In the meantime the company has had to add an operations position just to handle all the COVID-related issues: “Whether it be preparing our clients and crews for international travel restrictions and requirements or for ensuring our aircraft are kept clean,” he notes.
The company recently completed another ARGUS audit, marking 10 years of platinum rating. One of fewer than 150 operators to achieve platinum status, Elite Air keeps comprehensive pilot and safety data, continuously updates its emergency response plan and safety management system, and passes ARGUS’ regular on-site audits with no fault findings or corrections required.
Towards the end of last year, the company began chartering a second Citation XLS, based at Harry P Williams Memorial airport in Louisiana.
“We’ve been very happy with our charters,” says pilot John Lemelle. “The XLS might not be the best airframe at everything, but it does a lot of things really well: runway performance, speed, range, altitude, fuel efficiency, comfort. You might find planes that do one or two things better, but the XLS is affordable and a lot of customers fit its demographics.”
That same month, Elite added a Gulfstream G-V, the first long range Gulfstream to join the company’s certificate in several years.
“Everyone knows the G-V, and for good reason,” says Becker. “It’s a beautiful airplane and offers top-of-the-line performance.” It is based in Florida at Orlando International airport under charter friendly ownership, and is crewed by captain Ricardo Ortega and first officer Kevin Brockett, as well as cabin hosts Jazzmine Dougherty and Kimberly Pelaez.
“This is a great crew and aircraft,” Becker continues. “We’ve managed several Gulfstreams over the years so we know the airframe well, but this is the most attractive Gulfstream charter option we’ve seen in some time.”