Kalamazoo Battle Creek International airport, Michigan-based Part 135 operator and aircraft management company RAI Jets is entering the heavy jet management market with the signing of its first heavy jet client, a Bombardier Challenger 601. The engagement opens up a new market for heavy jet management and Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) and Inspection Authorised (IA) maintenance for RAI Jets.
“We’ve been managing midsize and super-midsize jets for years and have always had the hangar space and capability to work on heavy jets. We hope this is the first in a long line of heavy jet management customers to come our way,” says director of operations David Riley. “We have invested more than $70,000 in specialty equipment for this market, and we are excited to serve more heavy jets here at Kalamazoo.”
RAI Jets provides jet charter service for business and leisure in addition to midsize, super-midsize and now heavy jet management services. As a Part 135 company, RAI Jets can offer jet owners the opportunity to offset their operating costs by up to 30 per cent by adding their aircraft to RAI Jets’ FAA air charter certificate. RAI Jets then charters flights on the aircraft when it is not in use by the owner.
RAI Jets is a family-owned company that has seen steady growth since its founding in 2009. However, the managing Riley family has a 30 year old aviation history that began as Riley Aviation at Kirsch Municipal airport, which operated as a flight school in the early 1980s and entered the Part 135 jet air charter business in 1990. RAI Jets opened its 30,000 sq ft hangar at Kalamazoo in 2016. Last year, RAI Service Center, the company's designated Part 145 repair station, opened there as well. RAI Jets also has plans to build an additional hangar on its property by the end of 2023.
The Challenger 601 has a spacious cabin and headroom is fuel efficient for its size. The aircraft is a 13-seater although it will be flown with nine passengers by the Part 135 company. Currently, RAI Jets is providing the heavy jet management, which includes the aircraft’s maintenance, crew and hangar space in addition to supplying fuel from RAI Jets’ own fuel farm.
“We hope to soon have the Challenger on our air carrier certificate and available for charter,” adds Riley.