Christine Holifield graduated from Sylmar High School and spent much of her time afterwards daydreaming about owning her own business. Last week, Holifield, who now owns Elite Aviation, was partying with Christina Aguilera to celebrate an exclusive deal to sell a line of premier Piaggio Aero jets.
Elite Aviation has been operating for nearly two decades and is a full service aviation company providing high-end service and guidance in aircraft charter, aircraft management, maintenance and sales. Since the beginning, Elite Aviation has flown nearly 70 million miles – equivalent to 150 trips to the moon and back. The company has a diverse fleet of nearly 20 jet aircrafts including Citation, Hawker, Challenger, Falcon and Gulfstream.
Following the “All that is Fabulous” bas on Thursday at Van Nuys Airport, which drew 400 VIP guests to mingle among luxury planes and cars from Maseratis to Marilyn Monroe’s pink Caddy, Holifield says, “I wanted to launch my own company under new ownership – and give it a new send-off.” Holifield is one of the few women in the world to own and operate a full-service premier charter jet company.
Elite Aviation employs 34 workers and is one of five fixed-base operators at Van Nuys Airport. The company has three women executives, who manage and maintain a fleet of 13 charter jets.
The company flies clients such as Aguilera and provides 24-hour access to staff, concierge service and an in-house gourmet chef. It also has an unblemished safety record during its 20 years of service.
The new partnership with Italian maker of luxury jets and scooters, Piaggio Aero, will make Elite Aviation’s 20,000-square-foot hanger and adjacent offices the West Coast sales center for California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. It will also allow Elite Aviation to fly and sell Piaggio’s flagship jet, P180 Avanti II, which is billed as the fastest and most advanced executive turbo prop in the world. It sells for approximately $8.5 million and is furnished in cherry wood and leather. It is expected to be available by Thanksgiving.
John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America says, “We’re focusing efforts to expand our presence in North America and this new partnership will help us achieve this. Elite Aviation has the experience and capabilities needed to connect with buyers.”
Holifield is the daughter of a Cuban father and Spanish mother and after graduating from high school she went from job to job never lasting more than three months before getting fired. Eventually, she began buying apartments and homes and fixing them up to sell before co-founding Lynx Realty to develop 4,000 upscale apartments, mostly in the Central Valley. In 2007, Holifield purchased Elite Aviation to being a personal touch to premier charters, with clients she describes as Fortune 100 – off-limits to paparazzi.
“Whatever a client wants, we do. I’m known for my attention to detail,” she says. “I’m known for getting on the plane and personally inspecting the china. And to make sure each bottle is properly chilled. If I see a pilot who has rolled out of bed, I’ll make sure he’s changed his shirt.”
Source: The Daily Mail