Business Air Comes to Central Oregon


Beginning this June, on-demand charter air carrier, Business Air, out of Denton, Texas, will set up shop in Bend. With their arrival, Central Oregonians will have another way to fly the friendly skies. The new service will be available to serve the Bend, Redmond and Sunriver airports.

“We are planning on testing the market,” says Damon Ward, president of Business Air. “Then, we’ll move equipment and pilots here.”

Charter Flights allow business professionals and leisure travelers flexibility in scheduling flights. The timesaving benefits can mean the difference of spending four hours to reach your destination or spending an entire day in multiple airports. Extensive charter pilot training and strict aircraft maintenance guidelines ensure a high level of safety.

Business Air, established in 2001, specializes in King Air to medium-sized jets. In December 2014, Business Air’s Fixed Base Operations (FBO) and Charter Service located at the Denton Enterprise Airport was acquired by Bend-based investment firm, High Plateau Ventures. High Plateau Ventures, run by Gene Buccola, has partners with more than thirty years of experience in aviation and real estate. By January of this year, Business Air expanded their charter management service offerings to Seattle, Washington.

“We started looking at Bend when we began operations in Seattle,” says Ward. “We are currently looking to expand our footprint into other Northwest Areas.”

In addition to their parent company being headquartered in Bend, Business Air saw transportation challenges similar to their home base in Denton. Bend’s geographic location and local airport size limits the commercial aviation options. Flying becomes more of a hassle, as well as time-consuming, for Bend residents who have to factor in a thirty minute drive to the Redmond Airport, plus one or two connecting flights reach a destination. Overall, the market seemed underserved. The timing also coincides with the Redmond airport closing May 2-23, 2016 to perform major runway reconstruction.

Business Air will slowly move into the region by leasing hangar space at the Bend Municipal Airport and having an office at High Plateau Ventures corporate headquarters. Their fleet of planes will fly in as necessary. Leasing hangar space for FBO is industry standard. In anticipation of further growth in the area, airplanes will be stationed here upon demand. High Plateau Ventures and Business Air have plans in the works to construct a new 24,000 square foot hangar capable of housing the latest ultra-long-range business jets.

Unscheduled air carriers, such as Business Air, cater to a wide range of customers. Business professionals, small groups of vacationers, and those with last minute emergency needs all benefit from chartering a plane.

“We see a fair amount of leisure travel,” says Ward. “But, by and large, we see mostly middle management customers, such as business executives who visit multiple locations in one day. If they flew commercial, they would have to spend three days traveling. Really, we create time for individuals.”

Each aircraft has a pilot and co-pilot flying the plane. Any special catering needs are provided upon request. Your baggage boards the same aircraft at the same time customers do. To increase efficiency for business travelers, Business Air’s airplanes can fly into over 4,000 airports larger commercial airplanes can’t.

Pricing for chartered flights is a customized process, based upon the needs of the customers. In general, the cost to charter a flight through Business Air runs from $1,500 to $3,000 per flight hour, depending upon aircraft. The minimum time a flight can be arranged is two hours.

Last year, Business Air flew over 3,000 hours of chartered flights. According to IBISWorld’s Charter Flights market research report, Charter Flight companies bring in and annual revenue of $18 billion. The industry’s contribution to the Gross National Product is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 5.2 percent, as opposed to last year’s 2.5 percent.

Business Air
Headquartered in Denton, Texas. New office in Bend. For more information, interested parties should call Ginger Peterson, Business Air’s Director of Charter Services at 541-323-5494.
President: Damon Ward
Employees: 30
Established: 2001
Service: Charter Air Service out of Denton, Texas, Seattle, Washington, and now, Bend, Oregon.
Hot News: Beginning in June, Business Air will offer charter flight services to Central Oregon.
Outlook for Growth: Since being acquired by High Plateau Ventures, Business Air has expanded from their FBO in Texas into Washington and Oregon. They are currently looking for other Northwest areas to offer services. High Plateau Ventures has plans to build a private hangar at the Denton, Texas Airport. They will also increase their fleet by an additional 25 percent.

(Photo above | by Stephanie Shipp, Luminous Photographs)


About Author

Bend-based freelance writer Gregg Morris honed his wit in suburban Michigan and his gift for the written word at Michigan State University. When not writing, Gregg can be found riding his bike, earning his turns, or playing guitar alongside his wife and daughter.

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