- Ricci a 2019 Inductee to the Living Legends of Aviation
- In 2018, the Living Legends renamed its Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award after Ricci
- Bezos Presented with the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award at the 16th Annual Living Legends of Aviation Gala in Beverly Hills
CLEVELAND OH, January 21, 2019 – Flexjet announced today that its Chairman, Kenn Ricci, has been inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation, a prestigious organization composed of men and women of extraordinary accomplishment in aviation including industry leaders, innovators, pilots and astronauts. Ricci, who was chosen by the current members of the Living Legends, was inducted at the 16th annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards Gala, held Jan. 18 in Beverly Hills, California.
Ricci’s induction continues a relationship with the Living Legends of Aviation that began when he received the Living Legends Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award in 2017, an award that previously had been given to Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, Fred Smith of FedEx and Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. In 2018, the award was renamed the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award and presented to Robert T. Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace.
“I am deeply honored that the Living Legends of Aviation has elected me to membership in their class of 2019, joining men and women whose achievements in aviation I deeply admire,” said Ricci. “I hope to use the platform as a Living Legend to promote the cause of the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, which produces the Living Legends Awards Gala and helps to instill an interest in aviation in the next generation. In this time when the global need for aviators is front and center, Kiddie Hawk’s mission is more important than ever, and I hope to help it inspire young people to pursue careers in aviation.”
Beyond his induction, Ricci presented fellow 2019 inductee Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon and founder of space exploration innovator Blue Origin with the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award from the Living Legends of Aviation.
“Through Amazon and his other ventures, there are few industries that have not been touched by the entrepreneurial spirit of Jeff Bezos, including aviation,” said Ricci. “Through Blue Origin, he is redefining our relationship with space, and is an inspiration to millions of aspiring entrepreneurs in aviation and in a variety of fields. He is a worthy recipient of this award not just as an entrepreneur, but as one of the true innovators of our time, who will help to bring our industry forward into the farthest reaches of space.”
Ricci’s aviation career includes more than 6,000 hours in the air as a pilot of type-rated aircraft and service flying Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. Later, Ricci founded Directional Aviation, which is the parent of such prominent private aviation companies as pioneering business jet remanufacturer Nextant Aerospace; aircraft maintenance provider Constant Aviation; Sojourn Aviation, a global leader in aircraft sales; N1 Engines, a provider of turbine engine services; and the OneSky portfolio of private jet travel providers including Flexjet, the world’s finest fractional private jet ownership provider; jet card pioneer Sentient Jet; and digital on-demand private jet charter providers Skyjet and PrivateFly.
Collectively, the Directional Aviation companies currently employ more than 2,200 people; generate more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue; service private aviation needs in more than 70 countries around the world; and operate more than 175,000 flight hours annually.
Directional Aviation has continued to expand. In 2018 alone, it made three major acquisitions that will help shape the future of global aviation including PrivateFly, a leader in on-demand private jet charter in Europe; Sirio S.P.A., which will serve as the platform for Flexjet to grow substantially in Europe; and SIMCOM, which is the largest independent provider of flight simulator-based training services for the global general aviation, business aviation and regional airline markets.
Ricci’s pledge of support for the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, which the Living Legends of Aviation helps to support, follows his commitment to other philanthropic causes including Able Flight, which provides people with disabilities a way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training; the search for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis; and the expansion of educational opportunity. In order to increase opportunity, Ricci has pioneered a new form of giving – called a Philanthropic Succession Partnership – that he used in 2017 to donate $100 million to Notre Dame, the largest such commitment ever for that iconic university. In 2018, Town & Country Magazine named Ricci among the Top 50 philanthropists for his charitable work.
Flexjet first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing. Flexjet’s fractional aircraft program is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard, is the first and only company to be honored with 19 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating and is IS-BAO Level 2 compliant. Flexjet’s fractional program fields an exclusive array of business aircraft— some of the youngest in the fractional jet industry, with an average age of approximately six years. In 2015, Flexjet introduced Red Label by Flexjet, which features the youngest fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 25 different interior designs across its fleet, which includes the Learjet 75LXi, Challenger 350, the Embraer Legacy 450, Global Express, the Gulfstream G450, G500 and G650, and the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jets. In addition, the overall jet collection includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Bombardier Challenger 300. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit www.flexjet.com or follow us on Twitter @Flexjet and on Instagram @FlexjetLLC.
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