Based in Aircraft Management

In Central Illinois, Flightstar has grown over the past 30 years by adapting to changes in the local market-place.

Three Primary Profit Centers
In its first year, Flightstar recorded revenues of $242,473, according to Hussey; today, it generates some $11 million in annual revenues. The company has over 90 employees, a third of which are in maintenance and avionics. Besides a modern FBO terminal building, Flightstar has six hangars, the largest 26,000 square feet. One hangar is dedicated to overnight maintenance for American Eagle, which has grown into a significant profit center. American Eagle and Mesaba (for Northwest) are the lone carriers serving Willard.

Comments Hussey, “We maintain five American Eagle Embraer 135s, seven days a week. It started with a call from American Eagle asking if we can kick the tires, check the lights. Now we do pretty much anything the airplane needs — clear the MELs (minimum equipment lists); do the APU changes; windshield changes; engine changes.

“We also do the cleaning for their Midwest fleet. They cycle their aircraft in here for carpet changes, seat cover changes, interior work. Our guys are specialists in repairing fuel leaks. We’re actually one of the few stations that enjoys working on lavatory systems.”

Looking ahead, Hussey says growth for Flightstar will come from continuing to focus on its three core businesses — aircraft management; maintenance; and line services. The company expects to pump some 1.7 million gallons this year.

The business here is primarily local; its Central Illiniois location is not attractive to cross-country transients. Flightstar is looking to grow its general aviation maintenance business in particular, but the Central U.S. market is competitive.

Says Hussey, “We have a quality maintenance base for turbines. But there are some pretty good maintenance bases nearby — Premier; Landmark; Midcoast; and not too far away two Duncan facilities.”

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