Flexjet Inc., has opened its a global headquarters at Cuyahoga County Airport (KCGF), east of downtown Cleveland. Inside, the company’s Global Operations Control Center features one of the largest seamless LED screens in the U.S. and is the most technologically advanced.
“Flexjet has undergone tremendous growth during the past decade with operations expanding throughout North America, Europe and beyond,” said Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci. “Our new Global Operations Control Center enables us to manage flights all over the world, in a setting that is optimized to the nuances of our unique business, ensuring aircraft owners the highest levels of service and responsiveness. This facility provides a world-class environment to do the work necessary to continue our ascent as the world’s preeminent private aviation provider.”
The new Global Operations Control Center serves as the building’s core and has the private aviation industry’s most advanced technology, including the largest seamless LED screen in the U.S. and third largest in the world – a gigantic 176 feet wide by 19 feet high with 1,572 individual LED panels. The screen displays every Flexjet flight around the world in real-time, creating a visually immersive experience. Designed to accommodate planned growth, the center can handle the staff and technology required to manage twice the current fleet of nearly 270 aircraft. The center’s stadium-style seating, which is arranged by job type, maximizes the flow and speed of information, particularly during issues such as major weather systems. In addition, the bridge at the center of the room has a pop-up command station that is used during peak travel season (such as the winter holidays) when customer flying is at high volumes requiring heightened coordination.
On the exterior, the glass-enclosed marquee structure is positioned to give all employees in the building a front-row seat to the aircraft comings and goings on the airport ramp. The building was designed with dramatic sharp angles and triple-paned, treated glass that minimizes the sound of the aircraft on the field, creates privacy and controls the temperature inside. The HVAC includes a charcoal filtration system that continuously recirculates and purifies the air inside.
The facility also houses Flexjet’s primary data center that feeds over 30 locations worldwide. Great thought and effort went into the development of a network of power with multiple redundancies. In addition to a complex system that converts AC power to DC power to get exactly the 120V current needed, there is a backup generator and five sets of power inverters and batteries. If for any reason the building lost power, the battery backups would switch on to cover the seconds it takes for the generator to kick in. All of this is necessary to make sure there are no interruptions in electricity to the data center, ensuring Flexjet maintains operational control of its fleet.
Construction included an enclosed connector to Flexjet’s previous headquarters building, where renovations are underway. Combined, this campus-like setting frames the entire Northwest portion of the Cuyahoga County Airport grounds.
The 51,453-square-foot Global Headquarters and Operations Control Center will increase the campus size to a total of 243,000 square feet with office space for 670 of the company’s 4,000 employees who work for Flexjet and its sister companies globally. An aviation theme continues indoors with conference rooms named after aircraft that Ricci flew during his career as a pilot. The largest room, named Gulfstream, sits in the center of the building with a view of the Global Operations Control Center. Inside the Gulfstream room is a custom-made conference table made from the fuselage of the first Gulfstream G4 to come off the factory line. That aircraft, serial number 1, was one that Ricci personally flew. The fuselage is positioned under a glass table so that the iconic oval windows of the Gulfstream are the center of attention.
Flexjet employs approximately 4,000 aviation professionals throughout the world, and more than 1,100 of them are non-union dedicated crew pilots. Its U.S.-based pilots and cabin servers can choose from more than 100 domiciles in the U.S. to live. In addition to Flexjet’s executive leadership, other Cleveland-based Flexjet employees include those working in global operations, flight support, safety, aircraft Owner service, human resources, information technology, sales and marketing.
"From the simplicity of where we started 25 years ago, to the advancements in technology and where we are today, this new Global Operations Center is truly a marvel and it defines a new future in aviation,” said Ricci. “None of this would be possible without the dedication of our employees. This new operations center is a demonstration of our relentless progress and vision."