STURGIS, Mich. (June 24, 2014) — Traveling on commercial airlines. Some of us enjoy it, business folks probably dread it, and those fees for checked baggage as well as long security lines can be a bit overwhelming. But there is a better way!
Welcome to the Kirsch Municipal Airport in Sturgis, home of RAI Jets. It’s a family company that began back in the 1980s as Riley Aviation and now provides corporate air travel for executives, air transportation for leisure travelers, and aircraft management services.
David Riley, Brian Riley, Becky Bakeman (all brothers and sisters) and their mom run the company. Much of the business they do is actually overflow from fortune 500 companies that have overbooked their own private jets, or whose jet may be down for maintenance. Brian and David are both commercial rated pilots and fly all of the time.
RAI Jets operates primarily out of Sturgis with one jet, and they keep two others at the airport in Kalamazoo. That said, the company can travel to any airport with a 5,000 foot landing strip and pick up passengers. The Cessna Citation 650 can travel at about 500 miles per hour and has a range of the West Coast. Places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Alaska and Mexico to name a few.
Whenever time is money, especially in the corporate world, people usually charter jets. They have the ability to get people swiftly from place to place, meeting to meeting, within the same day even if it’s in different states. Imagine this…a production line in Mexico is about to run out of stainless steel screws in their assembly department. For every minutes the line is stopped, it costs the company $10,000. Screws are available in Michigan and can be flown directly to the plant for say $25,000 to $30,000. A small price to pay in the big scheme of things. Or how about an executive that’s about to make a major real estate purchase across the country but needs to see the property, place a bid, discuss the specifics, and still get back home for a meeting later that day. The importance of the corporate jet simply cannot be matched by the commercial industry.
In other cases where the upper class have much more disposable income and can afford it, chartering a small private jet for vacation purposes may be the way to go. No worries about checking luggage, no security issues, no lines, and little/no delay.
RAI Jets is always looking to expand their management services. If a company or individual wants a jet, but doesn’t want the hassles of hiring pilots, mechanics, or acquiring space associated with owning it, RAI Jets can provide those services. The fact that this Sturgis based company is at such a small airport is unique in and of itself. Back in the 1990s when business was booming charter jet service was available everywhere. Today, many of those companies have folded. RAI Jets has stood the test of time and can fly to almost any small town or city to pick passengers up, so that means minimal ground transportation to and from.
RAI Jets also operates a helicopter ride service as well. Seeing the corn crops in season or experiencing the Fall colors may be just the thing to do for a quick thrill. Click here for their website and contact information. Click here for their Facebook page. Click here for the Kirsch Municipal Airport in Sturgis.