Beth Jones, a 15-year aviation industry veteran, recently joined Elite Air as chief dispatcher and sales representative. Prior to coming to Elite Air, Jones had worked for the past 13 years with Flexjet, the well-known fractional jet sales company formerly owned by aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.
In addition to her advanced knowledge of aircraft dispatch and charter purchase and sales, Jones brings to Elite Air a masters in business administration degree, an extensive human resources background, knowledge of accounting and billing, and experience in integration projects. Jones, a mother of two, said the move to Elite Air simply made sense for her at this point in her life.
“I have had a great relationship with Elite Air for 13 years—I’ve worked with [Elite Air CEO Gray Gibbs] ever since I started working at Flex, so we had already established a great relationship,” Jones said. “Elite Air had an opening, and this was a good change for my family and my lifestyle.”
Before going to work at Flexjet, Jones got her start in aviation somewhat accidently. Her first job out of college with a degree in communications was at General Electric, where her standout people skills quickly earned her a spot on the company’s human resources track. After 10 years in HR, Jones was looking for a change and happened upon a secretary job at Hill Aircraft, a full-service fixed base operation at Fulton County Airport where Jones’ mother, a private pilot, was having work done on her small airplane. Although overqualified for the position, she took the job temporarily, agreeing to use her HR skills to replace herself when she left. Instead, Jones caught the aviation bug at Hill Aircraft and was called upon to wear a number of hats owing to her recently acquired MBA degree and HR experience. Indeed, she found the aircraft she was working alongside so exciting, she said that “had I not just finished my MBA, I would have gotten my A&P,” a degree in aircraft maintenance. Jones started helping Hill Aircraft with billing, marketing, public relations, you name it. She worked out so well she was soon promoted to a full-time HR position, and when the company’s charter dispatcher went on maternity leave, she was asked to handle that job, too.
Jones’ next move was again due to her networking prowess. She found a resume for a dispatcher who had great capabilities but for whom Hill Aircraft didn’t have a need. At the same time, she’d noticed well-known charter sales firm Skyjet was looking for someone with those qualifications and forwarded on the resume.
Skyjet called her soon thereafter. The company didn’t want the guy with the great resume Jones recommended. They wanted Jones.
“They said, ‘you have a really good reputation in the industry,’ and I was like, ‘you have got to be kidding me’—we were so tiny,” Jones said.
Skyjet was acquired by Flexjet soon after Jones joined the team, and for the next 13 years she worked the charter broker side of the aviation business and “loved it.” Her latest move to Elite Air gives her a chance to work the other side.
“I think the most exciting thing for me, having been a charter broker for 13 years, is to go back to my roots as a charter operator and be more hands on,” she said. “To be a part of a 135 operator rather than a broker, it is a different feel. I love both, but I’m excited to be at a company like Elite Air that already feels like family.”
Elite Air is certainly excited to have someone like Jones.
“I’ve so enjoyed talking to Beth on the phone over the years, that it is just a treat she was in a position to come work with us,” Gibbs said. “I fully expect this to be a long and successful partnership.”