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Fractional Ownership

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Flexjet CEO honoured for lifetime of service
The Living Legends of Aviation's lifetime award honours Mike Silvestro's 22 years in the industry. The long time Flexjet CEO is recognised for his pioneering advancement of fractional aviation.
Living Legends of Aviation Lifetime Aviation honouree Mike Silvestro with Flexjet colleague and Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur award holder Kenn Ricci.

Flexjet CEO Michael J Silvestro, the longest tenured CEO in the fractional private jet industry, has received the Living Legends of Aviation Lifetime Aviation Industry Award. The group's highest honour was given at the 20th annual awards event, hosted by John Travolta at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California.

“I am thrilled that the Living Legends of Aviation has honoured Mike Silvestro with its Lifetime Aviation Industry Award,” says Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci, himself a recipient of the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award. “I have worked with Mike for more than two decades and he has revolutionised 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, the Living Legends of Aviation is a group of people of accomplishment; entrepreneurs, pilots, astronauts, industry leaders, record breakers and celebrities who have become noted pilots and 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.

“This honour is a tribute to the people at Flexjet who embody our fundamental principles that enable us to lead our industry to new heights,” says 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.”

In 2000, Silvestro left a successful career as a marketing entrepreneur to join Ricci at Flight Options which introduced, for the first time, shares in pre-owned aircraft. He positioned Flight Options as a leader in the industry. Silvestro served as CEO of the company through the severe downturn that followed the 2008-09 financial crisis and recession, allowing it to rebound faster than its peers, with a year-over-year 467 per cent 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.

In 2018, Silvestro marked his 10th anniversary as a fractional jet travel provider CEO, becoming the industry's longest-tenured leader. Since then, he has led Flexjet through the COVID pandemic, establishing new health standards and innovative initiatives such as Project Lift, under which Flexjet flight crews travelled to or from their assignments on Flexjet's private fleet instead of commercial airlines, minimising the risk of contagion.

Under Silvestro's leadership. Flexjet has become an industry innovator, launching the 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 US and Europe through 4Air.

Silvestro holds a degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame, where he was roommates with Ricci. Silvestro serves on the board of trustees of Ursuline College and is actively involved in youth education initiatives.

Silvestro's honour comes in advance of the combination of Flexjet and Horizon Acquisition Corporation II, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, which will result in Flexjet becoming a publicly listed company.

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