DENVER — Mountain Aviation recently celebrated 20 years of service to the Denver and Rocky Mountain region community.
Along the way it has picked up a trophy cabinet of awards for safety and best practices. From small beginnings it has grown to become a ARGUS Platinum safety-certified air charter and aircraft management business, with a managed fleet of 19 airplanes, over 100 employees and 43,000 hours of safe flying logged in its books.
Mountain Aviation is the creature of Rich Bjelkevig, its present CEO. In 1993, Bjelkevig, a pilot, was unemployed, along with a distressing number of his fellow Americans. But Bjelkevig saw opportunity in the failures of others. “I had worked for several operators that failed,” he says. “I was confident enough to think I could see why they were failing, and to think I could do better. So I set up an office in our spare bedroom, got hold of a good King Air, and gave it a go.”
Mountain Aviation has come a long way since then, as has the industry it serves. In the 1990s, ownership plans were pretty simple. Commercial fleets were owned by those who operated them, and private owners had little opportunity to market their airplanes for charter to defray their costs. Fractional ownership existed, but was in its infancy. As a result, commercial operators tended to maintain aging airplanes, and ownership of private airplanes was confined either to the very rich, or to those whose need for private transport was so great that they could bear the entire cost of ownership. The outcome was a bunch of aging fleets providing third-tier lift, and a tiny fleet of private airplanes, with no commercial connection between them.
Bjelkevig saw that private owners’ needs could be reconciled with those of ad hoc charterers, given a management plan.
The King Air was soon joined by a jet, a Citation II. Others followed, culminating in a Gulfstream G400 which brought stand-up trans-continental capability. The spare bedroom was replaced by an office, at first in rented premises. Then in 2008 MA built its own hangar and office facility.
Mountain Aviation, founded in 1993, is the largest aircraft management and charter company based in the Rocky Mountain Region. With bases in Denver, Eagle, Aspen, Fort Collins as well as Boise, Idaho, Mountain Aviation offers exceptional aircraft charter, management and maintenance along with sales and acquisition services to discerning clients looking for unrivalled safety, service and value. Mountain Aviation operates a fleet of Gulfstream, Hawker, King Air, Piaggio, Pilatus, Citation Jet and turbo-prop aircraft all available for charter.