KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) The aviation industry is taking off in the east.
“A lot of jobs being created here across eastern North Carolina,” said Allen Thomas, Executive Vice President of Fly Exclusive.
And that’s evident at one fast-growing business at the North Carolina Global Transpark in Kinston.
“The seventh-largest aircraft charter company in the country, based right here in eastern North Carolina at the Global Transpark,” said Jim Segrave, Founder of Fly Exclusive. So, I think people will be really surprised to know that there’s one that big happening right here in eastern North Carolina.”
Owner Jim Segrave started Fly Exclusive five years ago after he sold his first charter air company to Delta Airlines.
The company offers customers private flights for business trips or vacation getaways, all while avoiding the hassle of flying commercial.
“We have airplanes all over the country,” said Segrave. They’re a floating fleet. We’ve got 48 airplanes right now that are literally all over the country. There is probably not anywhere in the country that we can’t touch within about an hour, hour and a half.”
The company employees about 260 people, many of them based right here in eastern North Carolina.
“Everything is controlled and dispatched from here,” said Segrave. Operational control is 100% in this building. So, an airplane can’t move if we don’t have a flight dispatcher dispatch it, send them a trip release and 100% of that happens right here in Kinston, North Carolina.”
“So, what we have up here in real-time is where all the aircraft currently are across North America,” said Thomas. The planes in blue are actually in flight all over the country right now. So, it’s all centered and commanded right here out of this room in eastern North Carolina here in Kinston at the Global Transpark.”
Former Transpark executive director Allen Thomas now works for Fly Exclusive.
For Thomas, being a part of something homegrown means a lot.
“Well, this is really a testament that you can do this in eastern North Carolina. Just from the vision, just from an idea, be an entrepreneur and be able to do something that’s competing on a global level,” said Thomas.
And that means Fly Exclusive is rapidly expanding.
“I think we’ll take this thing in the next five years to 100 airplanes,” said Segrave.
Soon they’ll fly customers to and from Europe.
But that doesn’t mean the company is jetting off to another location
For Segrave, it’s important for Fly Exclusive to continue to grow where it all started.
“Very important,” said Segrave. I was born here. This airport gave me a chance to grow the business and have supported me along the way. The North Carolina Global Transpark has been terrific for the business in supporting our growth. So, we want to stay right here at home.”