Elite Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
7Q MNU MAINER
Founded2006
Commenced operationsJuly 28, 2014
Ceased operationsJuly 2022
AOC #19EA891L[1]
Operating bases
Fleet size11
Destinations4
HeadquartersPortland, Maine, U.S.
Websiteres.eliteairways.net

Elite Airways was an airline based in the United States that operated charter and scheduled passenger flights. The airline was headquartered in Portland, Maine.[2]

History

Elite Airways LLC was founded in 2006 and received FAA Part 121 scheduled certification in 2012.[3] When the airline obtained its scheduled authority it announced it would begin scheduled passenger flights to and from Melbourne Orlando International Airport, the airline's operating base; the first scheduled passenger route was announced on July 28, 2014, when the airline said it would begin twice-weekly services between Melbourne and Washington Dulles International Airport on September 8 that year.[4] Flights went on sale August 25, 2014 utilizing Branson Air Express as the ticketing airline.[5] In November the airline began operating the Branson Air Express flights from Branson Airport to Chicago Midway Airport and Houston Hobby Airport.

The airline announced that service from Northern Colorado's Fort Collins-Loveland Airport to both Newark Liberty International Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport would begin on August 27, 2015.[6] The airline subsequently announced flights starting December 10, 2015 from Vero Beach Municipal Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport,[7] representing the first-ever commercial scheduled jet service at Vero Beach airport.

In early 2016, Elite Airways introduced scheduled service from Naples Municipal Airport in southwest Florida to Newark Liberty, Melbourne Orlando, Vero Beach and Portland International Jetport in Maine, representing the first commercial services at Naples Municipal Airport since 2006.[8] In March 2016, the airline announced the restart of twice-weekly service between Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport starting May 23, 2016.[9] On April 15, 2016, the airline announced that it would begin regular flight operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York. The airline announced service to three destinations: Orlando-Melbourne, Florida; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Portland, Maine.[10] Flight service began at Long Island MacArthur Airport the morning of June 17, 2016[11] On December 7, 2016, the airline announced it would begin non-stop service from Long Island to Newport News, Virginia beginning in March 2017,[12] and on December 13, 2016, the airline announced plans to further expand service from Long Island MacArthur Airport to Vero Beach, FL.[13]

Beginning April 27, 2017, Elite Airways begins its first international service, flying between Melbourne Orlando International Airport and South Bimini Airport in The Bahamas.

Beginning September 28, 2017, Elite Airways began doing business as Cal Jet Elite,[14] and flew between McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cal Jet and Elite provided irregular service, frequently canceling flights and stranding travelers.[15][16] The service was quietly ceased by the airline in April 2018, and Elite Airways has not made an announcement on whether or not to maintain the Cal Jet route. As of June 20, it is not possible to book flights on the official website.[17]

In 2018 the airline refocused its scheduled operations on the core Newark & Portland to Florida flights and has since added flights from Florida to Asheville, North Carolina and Traverse City, Michigan.

On August 6, 2019, it was announced that Elite Airways signed an operating agreement to provide the initial aircraft, flight crews, and maintenance service for the revival of the Midwest Express brand.[18] On September 18, 2022, BizTimes.com reported that Midwest Express had terminated the agreement and was bringing suit.[2]

In 2019, Elite Airways opened a dedicated maintenance facility at Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport.[19] In 2019 Elite Airways also ceased scheduled service to Melbourne-Orlando, which it had served since it began scheduled passenger service.

In 2020, Vero Beach, Florida city council recommended terminating Elite's lease at Vero Beach Regional Airport due to a funding gap from Florida Department of Transportation as Elite's passenger's numbers had exceeded 10,000 but less than 200,000.[20] The city council ultimately extended the lease while trying to work out a longer-term solution.[21]

In 2021, Elite begins building its operations at Westchester County Airport by adding new destinations like the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket located south of Cape Cod, and later adding routes to its destinations in Florida and Maine. In Martha's Vineyard it is the first carrier to operate jet service to Westchester County Airport. Nantucket Memorial Airport has had jet service to Westchester County Airport from JetBlue since 2019. Cape Air has also flown to both islands from Westchester County Airport since 2011, but it is using nine seat piston engine aircraft. Beginning November 2021, Elite will operate flights twice weekly between Newark, New Jersey and St. Augustine (Florida) Regional Airport.

According to VeroNews.com as of July 14, 2022, the carrier had cancelled all of its scheduled July service at Vero Beach in addition to 27 of the 35 flights for June, due to the expiration of a TSA waiver.

Elite suspended all scheduled and charter flights in July of 2022.[22] In October 2023, it was reported that the DOT had revoked Elite's operating authority.[23]

Fleet

As of January 2024, Elite Airways fleet was composed of the following aircraft:[24][25]

Elite Airways CRJ 200ER
Elite Airways Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Notes
Bombardier CRJ200ER 1 In a Corporate 16 seat configuration
Bombardier CRJ200LR 6
Bombardier CRJ701ER 3 All CRJ700 were previously owned by Lufthansa CityLine, one aircraft stored, one aircraft leased to Air Wisconsin for fleet familiarization, which was then transferred to GoJet Airlines to be converted to a CRJ550.
Bombardier CRJ900LR 1
Total 11

Destinations

As of January 2024, Elite Airways operated both charter and scheduled operations. Charter operations were primarily NCAA charters, music tours, and other ACMI operations flying throughout North & Central America, and the Caribbean.

Former destinations

City Airport IATA Code Destinations Notes
United States United States
Arizona Arizona
Bullhead City/Laughlin (Nevada) Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport IFP Phoenix
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport PHX Bullhead City
Rochester
California California
Carlsbad McClellan–Palomar Airport CRQ Las Vegas
Colorado Colorado
Denver Denver International Airport DEN Branson (Seasonal)
Fort Collins Fort Collins–Loveland Municipal Airport FNL Chicago-Rockford
Florida Florida
Key West Key West International Airport EYW Melbourne (Florida)
Melbourne Melbourne Orlando International Airport MLB Bimini
Key West
Long Island/Islip
Washington-Dulles
Naples Naples Municipal Airport APF Newark
Melbourne-Orlando
Portland (Maine)
Sarasota Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport SRQ Portland (Maine)
Traverse City
White Plains
St. Augustine Northeast Florida Regional Airport UST Newark
Portland
Vero Beach Vero Beach Regional Airport VRB Newark
Portland
Illinois Illinois
Chicago Midway International Airport MDW Branson
Rockford Chicago Rockford International Airport RFD Fort Collins
Louisiana Louisiana
New Orleans Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport MSY Branson
Cancun (Seasonal)
Maine Maine
Bar Harbor Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport BHB Newark
Portland (Maine)
Portland Portland International Jetport PWM St. Augustine
Vero Beach
Massachusetts Massachusetts
New Bedford New Bedford Regional Airport EWB Vero Beach
Martha's Vineyard Martha's Vineyard Airport MVY White Plains
Nantucket Nantucket Memorial Airport ACK White Plains
Michigan Michigan
Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport TVC Sarasota
Missouri Missouri
Branson Branson Airport BKG Cancun (Seasonal)
Cincinnati
Denver
Houston-Intercontinental
New Orleans
Nevada Nevada
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport LAS Carlsbad
New Jersey New Jersey
Newark Newark Liberty International Airport EWR St. Augustine
Vero Beach
New York (state) New York
Albany Albany International Airport ALB Myrtle Beach
Long Island/Islip Long Island MacArthur Airport ISP Melbourne-Orlando
Westchester County Westchester County Airport HPN Vero Beach
North Carolina North Carolina
Asheville Asheville Regional Airport AVL Vero Beach (Seasonal)
Ohio Ohio
Cinciniati Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport CVG Branson
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh International Airport PIT Sarasota
South Carolina South Carolina
Myrtle Beach Myrtle Beach International Airport MYR Albany
Newport News
Texas Texas
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport IAH Branson B
Virginia Virginia
Washington, D.C. Washington Dulles International Airport IAD Melbourne-Orlando
The Bahamas Bahamas
Bimini South Bimini Airport BIM Melbourne
Newark (Seasonal)
Canada Canada
Halifax Halifax Stanfield International Airport YHZ Portland (ME)
Mexico Mexico
Cancún Cancún International Airport CUN Branson (Seasonal)
New Orleans (Seasonal)

References

  1. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  2. ^ "Love to Fly Again | Elite Airways | About Us". res.eliteairways.net. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  3. ^ ELITE AIRWAYS, AMERICA’S NEWEST AIRLINE, PREPARES FOR TAKE-OFF, Elite Airways PR via EAS Flights blog, November 6, 2012, retrieved 2014-04-24
  4. ^ Craig, J.; Writer, ersonStaff (2014-07-29). "Maine-based Elite Airways takes flight path to expansion". Press Herald. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  5. ^ Price, Wayne T. "Now boarding: Direct flights from Melbourne to D.C." Florida Today. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  6. ^ Muserallo, Sean. "Rockford airport to serve Denver, New York City areas". www.wrex.com. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  7. ^ "Elite Airways flights from Vero Beach to Newark begin December 10". www.tcpalm.com. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  8. ^ "Your Naples Florida News Source | Naples Florida Weekly | News, Arts and Entertainment". Naples Florida Weekly -. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  9. ^ "Loveland flights to Rockford resume May 23 (updated)". Loveland Reporter-Herald. 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  10. ^ "Long Island MacArthur Airport to welcome Elite Airways". Newsday. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  11. ^ "Elite Airways begins flights serving LI MacArthur Airport". Newsday. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  12. ^ Pascale, Jordan. [1] "The Virginian-Pilot" December 7, 2016
  13. ^ Caddell, Catherine. "Vero Beach Regional Airport, Elite Airways celebrate partnership anniversary". Treasure Coast. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  14. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View".
  15. ^ "Airline halts Carlsbad to Vegas flights but says it will resume service". 22 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Cal Jet abruptly cancels more flights". 2018-04-20.
  17. ^ "Book Flights | Cal Jet".
  18. ^ Taschler, Joe. "Midwest Express enters into agreement with carrier as process continues to begin service in Milwaukee". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  19. ^ "StackPath". www.aviationpros.com. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  20. ^ "Vero Beach Airport Commission recommends ending Elite Airways commercial flights". 10 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Vero's airport funding extended for three years while city searches for permanent solution". 3 February 2020.
  22. ^ "US's Elite Airways secures FAA dormancy waiver extension". 14 August 2023.
  23. ^ "US DOT revokes Elite Airways' operating authority". 5 October 2023.
  24. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2016 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2016): 38.
  25. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Aircraft Detail". av-info.faa.gov. Archived from the original on 2020-10-16. Retrieved 2020-04-27.