Metro Detroiters now have a whole new way to travel. In November, the former Oakland Air charter facility at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township reopened with brand-new tenants and a world-class upgrade.
Premier Jet Services, a fixed-base operator owned by the Florida-based full-service air charter company Premier Private Jets, now operates out of the facility. The launch involved extensive building renovations by Rhoads and Johnson Construction that totaled about $1.5 million, including a fully redesigned lobby, a full-service aviation catering kitchen, a new pilots’ lounge, and renovated office spaces.
“With private air travel increasing, our expansion is a direct response to these new industry demands and the reality that more people are choosing to avoid busy commercial airport terminals,” says Josh Birmingham, chief executive officer of Premier Private Jets.
Birmingham is no stranger to the world of aviation and as an entrepreneur is actively involved with the day-to-day operations. In fact, the Linden native was a pilot for Oakland Air before he started his own pilot-training business. He then moved on to the charter-jet business, building up his fleet over time and launching Premier Private Jets in 2013.
The welcoming, open space in the terminal is modern, with clean-lined appointments and pops of bright oranges complementing crisp whites.
“The former facility was dated,” says Marty Hetherington, director of marketing for Premier Private Jets. “It had closed-off spaces. We took down a major wall to open it up and added a higher ceiling. This benefits pilots and passengers alike.”
Travelers might also be tucked into one of three glass quiet rooms, ideal locations for a quick phone call pre-flight or checking in with family before takeoff. A door to the pilots’ lounge (there are 35 pilots total — and their numbers are growing) leads to a quiet space with special adjustable lighting and the latest in reclining chair design for ultimate comfort.
Then there are the birds themselves, which range from a Citation to a Gulfstream, which can hold up to 14 passengers. Hawkers also pull in and out regularly for, say, quick trips to Florida. The luxury continues in-flight with meals prepared by chef Adam Jarvis. “We can accommodate just about any request,” Jarvis says. He’s been in aviation catering since 1999 and has created in-flight entrees for everyone from business moguls and celebrities (yes, coq au vin is available) to families who want a tray of PB&J sandwiches.
What you won’t see at this sparkling facility are jammed parking lots, long lines, grumpy travelers, stale airport food, grouchy travel agents, or slow security lines. This kind of luxury flying, of course, isn’t cheap. To book an executive jet charter, you have a few options — you can book a small plane for a short trip between cities, a large airplane that can accommodate a whole department or business team, or a well-appointed business jet for longer trips. Different options come with different price models. How much the aircraft costs to operate and the value it delivers to clients will determine the charter rate for booking an executive jet.
General Manager Mike Duker, who graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in aviation management, will likely be there to see you off or greet you. Says Duker: “My favorite part of my job is interacting with all of our clients and making sure their needs are being met.”
Flight costs are variable depending on availability and distance. For more information and to book flights visit premierprivatejets.com.