Who knew the Hudson Valley was home to a charter jet company and flight school? Richmor Aviation has maintained its corporate headquarters in Hudson, since 1967, when pilot Mahlon Richards won the bid to manage FBO (fixed-base operations) at Columbia County airport. Since then, Richmor has logged many thousands of sky-miles and established operations in Kingston and Schenectady. We asked Mahlon's daughter Sharyn, vice president of marketing and charter sales, to tell us a little bit about the business.
So what are charter flight customers looking for in a company? What makes a great charter experience?
Safety, aircraft and pilot consistency with repeat customers, and fair pricing. They are also looking for top notch service; for example, escorting passengers from their private flight to a connecting commercial flight terminal, carrying bags to and from the aircraft or providing specific catering. They are also looking for companies with a long term track record in the industry, and next year will be our 50th anniversary!
Does the Hudson Valley get a lot of private jet traffic, charter or otherwise?
It's certainly increased over the years. With Hudson, Columbia County, and the Hudson Valley really becoming a destination, it is attracting more and more people with means, both celebrity and noncelebrity alike. All of which is great for the local economies.
Just the words "charter jet" have a glamorous ring. Is running a charter company as glamorous as it sounds?
I suppose, but like any job you do for a very long time, it gets mundane.
I've done this pretty much my whole life. I worked nights and weekends through school and summers and holidays through college; I came back after college and several years away working in the banking industry and have been full-time for 25 years next year.
When I was 18, I talked with Robert Redford. Not to name drop but that was a long time ago so why not. He was flying with us at the time—I believe he was filming The Natural.
And this year we had a team of surgeons with a heart for transplant on Valentine's Day. Tragic outcome for one family, but a successful heart transplant for another.