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flyExclusive makes pilot training a priority for growing fleet
flyExclusive secures major funding from the State of North Carolina for new headquarters and a cutting-edge pilot training centre, and brings the 100th jet onto its Citation fleet.
flyExclusive has $30m from the State of North Caroline to build a pilot training centre at Kinston Regional Jetport.

The North Carolina Global Transpark, a multi-modal industrial park based at Kinston Regional Jetport, has secured a $30 million investment from the State of North Carolina for flyExclusive to construct a cutting-edge pilot training centre and headquarters.

The new facility is designed as a five storey complex containing up to five full-motion flight simulators, intended to allow the company to train and certify its own pilots and reduce a lengthy backlog in the nation's pilot training pipeline. The simulators will occupy 10,000sq ft across three storeys and five bays. The facility will also include 14,000sq ft in classrooms and training spaces, a rooftop terrace and a 22,000sq ft air operations centre.

“I am often asked why we chose Kinston for our headquarters,” says founder and CEO Jim Segrave. “First, we're perfectly positioned geographically within a short flight from some of the busiest private aviation destinations in the country. Second, we're able to recruit talent from the many nearby military bases to build careers in this great community. Third, we've received enormous support from the Kinston community, the Global Transpark and the state of North Carolina. We believe this latest investment will bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to the state and community we love. We're proud to call Kinston and North Carolina home, and I'm grateful for our partners in government who share our vision for the future and invest in our success.”

The company expects that once the simulators are functional, they will be able to reduce the amount of time new pilot hires must wait for outside training, giving the company an advantage as it competes for talent in one of the tightest labour markets in the US.

This is the latest in a series of steps the company has taken to modernise its facilities and grow its fleet. It has also just added the 100th jet to its operating certificate as part of an ambitious fleet modernisation programme that included an order of up to 44 new Textron aircraft, including up to 30 Cessna CJ3+ light aircraft. The total investment plan included the purchase of up to 14 midsize and super-midsize Cessna Citation business jets, including eight XLS Gen2 and six Longitude aircraft. Light size, midsize and super-midsize category aircraft will provide options to customers in flyExclusive's fractional programme and the delivery positions flyExclusive as the second-largest operator of Cessna Citation aircraft.

“Today is historic, and it is the result of the hard work of every member of our team,” adds Segrave. “Owning and maintaining our own fleet has been core to the success and growth of our business. We've acquired our fleet of now 100 jets in a disciplined, deliberate way. This helps us meet pre-existing demand, control the quality of our experience and make every minute matter for our customers. We are building something special, and I look forward to the next steps for our growing company.”

The new jets will be maintained at the Kinston multi-hangar MRO facility.

“Our MRO team is exceptional and has done a tremendous job ensuring that our fleet operates safely and reliably, while setting an industry standard in comfort and luxury,” Segrave continues. “We believe that having technicians who specialise in Cessna Citations and can do their job at our company headquarters has an important impact on the efficiency of our business and is key to our vertical integration strategy. We've reduced aircraft downtime, cut costs and reduced points of friction between our teams and our customers.”

The investments from the state are the prelude to the company's Phase III expansion. The recently completed Phase II saw the construction of four hangars, including one that is designed as a cutting-edge, electrostatic paint shop that can handle eight aircraft per month. The hangars, as well as the Phase III campus expansion, will ultimately allow the company to bring approximately 80 per cent of its maintenance in house, reducing the need to outsource, which can come with lengthy waits and higher costs. Earlier this year, the FAA granted flyExclusive Part 145 certification to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services on third-party aircraft.

Segrave also previously announced his intent to take the company public in 2023.

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