Bozeman, Montana-based Summit Aviation has added another new Embraer Phenom 300E to its charter fleet. “This capped a really incredible year of growth for us and was the third 2021 Phenom 300E we added to our charter fleet last year,” says president Ben Walton.
The aircraft is based at the company’s headquarters at Bozeman Yellowstone International airport, but is part of a floating fleet with nationwide service. It commenced flights in early January.
Charter operator, aircraft sales and acquisitions, aircraft management and flight training company Summit Aviation began over 20 years ago with one pilot, one aircraft and a small hangar. It now boasts a university flight school programme frequently feeding into its charter operations, a fleet of eight charter Phenom 300 aircraft and 18 flight school aircraft, as well as a large managed fleet, plus a staff of over 80 charter and corporate pilots, qualified flight instructors and sales professionals.
“Our charter operation is known for its modern fleet of newer, low-time Embraer aircraft and this addition continues to uphold the standard that our customers have come to expect from our aircraft,” adds Walton. “It will provide our customers with expanded coverage and increased service options.
Summit’s charter fleet currently consists of five Phenom 300Es, making it the largest fleet of 300Es in the world at the moment. There are plans to add another four new Phenom 300Es over the next two years; the first arriving in March.
“Surrounded as we are by the Rockies and other ranges, the performance the 300E offers during take off in mountainous terrain on one engine is a critical deciding factor in its purchase,” Walton adds. “It covers a large area in terms of missions. Small hops into small airports are just as doable and economical as a non-stop flight from Denver to New York.”
In addition to enabling the acquisition of several Phenom 300Es for clients direct from the factory, over the past few years Summit has also facilitated the purchase of a number of Embraer Praetor aircraft, some of which reside in its managed fleet. “After FlexJet, we have the next largest managed Praetor fleet,” he notes.
Due to its continued growth, Summit will be moving into new headquarters, currently under construction on its home field at Bozeman. The company is bouncing back after COVID; like most operators it experienced an initial decline in charter operations during the pandemic, but this has been followed by an exponential increase in demand.
“Specifically, there’s been an increase in first time charter users – people who were capable of chartering prior to the pandemic but who still chose to travel commercially,” says Walton. “With the appeal of avoiding airport crowds and making their own travel schedules, these individuals have turned to our charter services for their travel needs.”