Tag Archives: Learjet

Private Jet Charter Operator In Unlikely Location has Success, Lofty Plans

ATI Jet Charter Service Aims High

By David Crowder, El Paso Inc.

El Paso has one high-flying charter service. Using Lear jets that take off from El Paso International Airport, ATI Jet hauls Hollywood stars, doctors and business executives around the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

A renowned pilot himself, ATI Jet owner Lyle Byrum has lofty ambitions to turn the company into a national force with a fleet of 100 planes by 2023.

He’s got a ways to go.

Today, ATI Jet has eight, sleek Lears in service, 22 pilots, more than 400 regular customers and a lot more occasional passengers, according to Byrum. That makes the company one of the larger charter services in the Southwest.

ATI Jet private fleet of charter Learjets.

ATI Jet private fleet of charter Learjets. Photo. Photo by Jorge Salgado

“The Lear 60 is the world’s fastest, highest-flying midsize jet,” he said.

It’s an expensive way to get around. Booking one of the eight-seat speedsters for the 3½-hour, 2,000-mile flight to Washington, D.C., and back will cost about $30,000, Byrum said.

ATI Jet’s full fleet of 8 charter Learjets, with aircraft and operator details, is available in FlightList PRO.

When former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher needed to come to El Paso in 1990 to address the Republican Party, he picked her up in Dallas and says she insisted that he accompany her on the trip back.

“What’s driven our charter business has been security; you don’t have to worry about security,” Byrum said. “No. 2, you can get here five minutes before you want to leave or an hour later. You’re not tied to schedules.”

ATI’s more recent big-name passengers include the queen of Jordan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dennis and Randy Quaid and Julia Roberts, according to Byrum.

ATI Jet’s repeat customers come from just about everywhere – except El Paso.

“We only have 24 customers here in El Paso,” he said. “A few years ago there was a study done and we were No. 3 in the country doing charters to Mexico. A lot of people like to use us because we know our way around.

ATI Jet's Lyle Byrum in the Learjet 60

ATI Jet’s Lyle Byrum in the Learjet 60. Photo by Jorge Salgado

Byrum talks a big game, but as one close acquaintance said, “He’s the real deal.”

He’s an Ysleta High School graduate whose family owned the second largest crane company in the Southwest in the 1960s and 1970s, Byrum Crane and Rigging. He became its general manager before his parents sold the company.

“I personally erected half of Cielo Vista Mall,” Byrum remembers.

Out of a job, he headed off to college, learned how to fly, became an instructor and took over a flying school and Cessna dealer in Midland. He’s been in aviation since, doing everything from helping the FAA write regulations to performing crazy stunts for movies.

His business ventures also included Quicksilver Enterprises, a publicly held company that became the world’s largest manufacturer of ultralight aircraft from 1980 to 1996, selling more than 12,000 aircraft worldwide.

Byrum made big money doing movies and TV as a Hollywood stunt pilot, stunt man and actor. He has the movie-set publicity photos with stars on the walls at ATI Jet’s headquarters to prove it.

“I think I have been in more movies than any native-born El Pasoan other than Debbie Reynolds, and maybe her,” he said.

Those movies and TV shows include “Arizona Dream” with Fay Dunaway and Johnny Depp, “Jackknife” with Robert De Niro, “CHIPS,” “Fantasy Island,” “A-Team” and “Remington Steel.”

Then, there was “Howard the Duck,” the George Lucas-backed movie that bombed. In that movie, Byrum says he flew a plane through the open doors of a moving boxcar, tearing off the wings.

The rise of computer graphics starting in the 1990s put a big dent in the demand for real air stunts, and after a series of business and personal setbacks, including the loss of his 12-year-old son to cancer, Byrum came back to El Paso.

“I decided I wanted to come home,” he said. “I don’t know why; I can’t tell you. I didn’t do anything for two years.

“Then, I went to work for this company, and then I bought it from Doc. Nelson and the Lowenfields.”

Things were moving along for Byrum and ATI Jet’s small fleet of Lears when he made the mistake of going into business with Bob Jones, the CEO of the nonprofit National Center for the Employment of the Disabled, or NCED, in 2003.

“Those Who Know Use FlightList PRO.”
80% of those using FlightList PRO have arranged charters for more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – more than 20 years.  Just $90/month, 30-day free trials are currently available. 

Jones, a prominent El Pasoan who would later be convicted in the biggest corruption scandal and fraud against the federal government in El Paso history, put up $1 million to gain an interest in the company.

It was supposed to be Jones’ money, but it wasn’t. It belonged to NCED, and the arrangement implicated Byrum and his company when the FBI learned about Jones’ fraudulent investments in 2005.

But the greater fraud occurred at NCED during the 12 years Jones controlled the nonprofit, which existed to provide jobs for the severely disabled under set-aside contracts to manufacture boxes, military uniforms and chemical protective ware.

Under Jones, NCED had grown to 4,000 employees with contracts in excess of $200 million a year when it was reported that the vast majority of its employees weren’t actually disabled.

They were displaced clothing workers, many from Mexico.

In all, the total of misspent federal dollars paid to NCED approached $2 billion, and Jones had amassed a fortune estimated at $50 million. He was convicted in 2011 and is still serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Byrum sued Jones, who had actually gained control of ATI Jet, for stock fraud, provided evidence to the FBI and was cleared of all wrongdoing.

NCED agreed to pay for the bills Jones had run up using ATI Jet to shuttle Army generals and others back and forth from Washington and around the country.

“For three years, he wasn’t paying me for what he was doing,” Byrum said. “The bill just got bigger and bigger. I barely survived.

“After it was all over, I think I was the only guy that got paid back, and I got paid every penny.”

Byrum said ATI Jet has bounced back, allowing him to buy two newer Lear 60 jets recently and to expand by using what he calls the Southwest Airlines model – using one type of aircraft requiring the same parts and training for pilots and mechanics.

ATI Jet's Learjet 60 cabin

ATI Jet’s Learjet 60 cabin.  Photo by Jorge Salgado

He’s also kept up his interest in very fast cars and drag racing, which he still does at the age of 69.

He owns El Paso Motorplex with a dirt track and drag-strip near Socorro where he was planning to add a 2-mile, $2 million paved road course for Formula 1 racing until last year.

“I decided to keep expanding ATI Jet instead, so we put the project on hold,” Byrum said.

Asked if he intends to go public with ATI-Jet to buy 90 more jets and become a national charter service, he said, “I’m planning to, yes – at the right time.”

Article in El Paso Inc.

The FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of those using FlightList PRO have been arranging charters more than 10 years, and a full 1/4 – more than 20 years.  Currently 30-day free trials are available.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

New to Charter, Hawker 800XP and Learjet 60 in Florida and New York

New to charter, a Hawker 800XP and Learjet 60 are the latest additions to the growing operator fleet, now numbering 17.  The 2003 Learjet 60 is based KMMU Morristown, NJ and the 2001 Hawker 800XP with Wi-Fi on board is based KPBI West Palm Beach, FL.  The two midsize jet models are among the most popular aircraft in the category due to their combination of cabin size, range and speed.

The full 17-aircraft fleet of Jet Access Aviation is available ONLY in the FlightList PRO  platform.

Jet Access Aviation, a FAR Part 135 worldwide operator with 15 other aircraft based across the eastern half of the US is growing its charter fleet.

The Learjet 60 boasts a 7 passenger capacity and is based in New York. The Hawker 800XP midsize jet is fully dedicated to charter, comes with unlimited Wi-Fi, and accommodates up to 8 passengers. Both aircraft have been fully refurbished within the last year and are currently available for charter.

“As we continue to grow our charter fleet, I want to ensure we are providing aircraft that support the needs of the market,” states company president and owner Jack E. Lambert Jr.  “Since we have several bases and a floating fleet of aircraft, we are able to provide cost effective solutions to our clients.”

Learjet 60 midsize jet with Wi-Fi based New York, operated by Jet Access Aviation.

Learjet 60 midsize jet with Wi-Fi based New York, operated by Jet Access Aviation.

Jet Access Aviation is a ARG/US Platinum and Wyvern Approved Charter Operator specializing in empty leg and one-way private jet charter flights. The company’s fleet consists of a variety of aircraft which includes a Gulfstream IV, Citation Sovereign, plus several other Light, Midsize, and Large Jets.

Source:  company press release

All 17 Jet Access Aviation charter aircraft are available ONLY in the FlightList PRO multi-search platform which includes all 16,631 charter aircraft and 3,419 charter operators worldwide.  FlightList PRO is used by the most successful and experienced brokers and travel professionals in the industry; 80% of users have arranged charters more than 10 years, 25% more than 20 years.

Air Charter Alerts by FlightList PRO, are the latest announcements in the private air charter industry about operators, brokers and charter aircraft, and geared towards active participants in the industry.

Three More Premium Charter Aircraft Added to Key Air Fleet

Key Air Jet Charter OperatorKey Air added three new private jet charter aircraft – the Bombardier Global 5000 Vision, Gulfstream IVSP and Learjet 45XR – to its managed fleet within the first month of the New Year, according to a company press release.  Upon the heels of celebrating its 30th anniversary in the aviation industry, Key Air continues to strengthen its infrastructure and expand its offerings to remain a leader in the marketplace.

All 13 Key Air charter aircraft are available ONLY in FlightList PRO.

The 3 new charter aircraft, based in the Northeast US, brings to 13 the total charter fleet operated by Key Air – midsize through long range jets, from the new Lear 45XR to the Gulfstream G650ER and new Global 5000 Vision.

“I am pleased with the hard work demonstrated by the entire Key Air community”, said Alan DePeters, Key Air President and CEO. “Through everyone’s dedication and commitment, Key Air was able to add the Global 5000 Vision to our Ops Specs in record time – within one week from the date of closing!  Our Operations and Maintenance divisions continue to operate optimally as they previously did in adding the Gulfstream G650ER and Falcon 7X to our Ops Specs capabilities.”


New To Charter Learjet 45XR w/Wi-Fi Based Dayton, OH

Solairus Aviation jet charterCharter Operator Solairus Aviation has added new to charter, N117WH, a low time 2006 Learjet 45XR which is based at KDAY Dayton, Ohio and is currently available.

The aircraft features Wi-Fi on board, forward galley with microwave oven, cabin climate control, and seating for up to 8 passengers in the desirable Learjet 45 double-club configuration.

This is Solairus’ first Learjet 45 model for charter.  Solairus operates 37 aircraft for charter based throughout the U.S., 13 of which are available ONLY in FlightList PRO.

The full Solairus fleet is a diverse variety from the King Air B200 executive turboprop to the new Gulfstream G650 long range jet.

Learjet 45XR charter

Learjet 45XR N117WH with charter operator Solairus Aviation, based KDAY Dayton, OH

Five Learjet 75 Now For Charter in U.S., Two in Europe

Learjet 75 Operated By Clay Lacy Aviation

Learjet 75 Operated By Clay Lacy Aviation

The newest Learjet 75 is available for charter out of KVNY Van Nuys, CA from operator Clay Lacy Aviation.  Added in March, it brings to five the total number of Lear 75’s available for charter in the U.S.  Others are based in Texas, Indiana and Tennessee.  Two are available in Europe, based in Switzerland and Poland.

With deliveries that began in 2014, the Learjet 75 is a midsize jet capable of seating up to 8 passengers in double-club configuration with a rear enclosed lavatory.  It is certified for 51,000 feet and leads the midsize category in high-speed cruise, capable of Mach .81.  Cabin height is 5’0″, width 5’1″, and length is 19’10”.  Up front are the latest in avionics, dominated by the Garmin G5000 three 14″ hi-res displays.

The 75’s new sister-aircraft, Learjet 70, with cabin seating for 6 is considered a light jet.  Three Learjet 70’s are chartering in the U.S., based in Michigan and Florida.

All Learjet 70 and 75 for charter worldwide are available in FlightList PRO.

Learjet 75 Interior

Learjet 75 Interior

Learjet 75 fact sheet from Bombardier    Learjet 70 fact sheet from Bombardier