Pilot Travel Centers LLC
Pilot Flying J
Company typePrivate (Subsidiary)
Industrytruck stop, convenience store, petroleum, restaurant
Founded1981; 43 years ago (1981) (as Pilot Truck Stops)
November 15, 1993; 30 years ago (1993-11-15) (as Pilot Travel Centers, LLC)
July 1, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-07-01) (as Pilot Flying J)
FounderJim Haslam
HeadquartersKnoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Number of locations
838 (2023)
Areas served
United States and Canada
Key people
Adam Wright, CEO
RevenueIncrease US$45 billion (2021)
OwnersBerkshire Hathaway
Number of employees
  • Pilot Travel Centers
  • Flying J Travel Plaza
Footnotes / references

Pilot Travel Centers LLC,[2] doing business as Pilot Flying J, is a North American chain of truck stops in the United States and Canada. The company is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The company is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.[1][3][4]

The company operates truck stops under the Pilot Travel Centers, Flying J Travel Plaza, ONE9 Fuel Network, and Mr. Fuel brands.[5][6][7]


Pilot Corporation opened its first truck stop in 1981. On November 15, 1993, Pilot entered a joint venture with Marathon Petroleum Company, and all Pilot Truck Stops were renamed Pilot Travel Centers. At its inception, the number of stops was around 60; however, that was to be short-lived.

In the next few years, Pilot Travel Centers experienced significant growth. Marathon converted many Speedway truck stops, wholly owned by Marathon, over to the Pilot Travel Center moniker starting in mid-2002. Midway through 2003, another major expansion occurred with the purchase of the Williams Truck Stop chain. The Marathon-Pilot joint venture successfully increased the Pilot Travel Center name recognition throughout the United States, as the number of stops more than quadrupled.

In 2008, Pilot bought out Marathon's interest in the business and entered into a new partnership arrangement with CVC Capital Partners, an international private equity firm.[8] Pilot also has partnerships with Road Ranger and Town Pump, and purchased a controlling stake in Mr. Fuel in 2014.[5] In October 2014, Pilot Flying J announced they would borrow funds to provide a $750 million dividend to shareholders and facilitate a buyout of its private-equity partner CVC Capital Partner.[9] In 2015, the Haslam family completed the buyout of CVC Capital Partner's stake.[10]

Flying J merger

A Pilot diesel fuel truck at a Flying J in Pasco, Florida

In July 2009, Pilot agreed to purchase Flying J's travel centers, as a part of Flying J's efforts to remove itself from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[11] The deal was finalized July 1, 2010, and the combined company took the d.b.a. name Pilot Flying J,[12] while Pilot Travel Centers LLC remained the company's legal name.[2]

As part of the deal, both the Pilot and Flying J chains will keep their identities intact, while both chains started accepting the Comdata and Flying J's in-house TCH fuel cards. In addition, Flying J received cash and equity in the new combined chain. Flying J's oil & refining operations as well as its banking & insurance division will remain separate from the new company,[13] and was subsequently renamed FJ Management Inc.[14]

To settle antitrust concerns with the Federal Trade Commission, Pilot sold 20 Pilot Travel Centers locations and six Flying J locations to Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores on June 30, 2010.[15] The merger left the combined company with over 550 locations in 44 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces.[16] In 2011, Pilot Flying J began a partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking.[17]

PFJ Southeast

On June 23, 2016, Pilot Flying J and Speedway announced a new joint venture between the two companies that will see 41 Speedway locations (all former Wilco Hess locations) and 79 Pilot Flying J locations primarily in the Southeastern United States form PFJ Southeast LLC. The locations will be operated by Pilot Flying J and the Speedway locations will be rebranded as either Pilot or Flying J.[18]

Berkshire Hathaway purchase

On October 3, 2017, it was announced that Warren Buffett-controlled Berkshire Hathaway will acquire 38.6% of Pilot Flying J, with plans to increase its stake to 80% in 2023. The Haslam family and FJ Management will retain ownership stakes until then, upon which the Haslam family will retain the remaining 20% and FJ Management will withdraw altogether. The Haslam family will retain control of day-to-day operations of the company.[4] In January 2024, the Haslam family sold the remaining 20% to Berkshire Hathaway.[19]

Business profile

A Pilot Travel Center branded location in Lost Hills, California

Currently, Pilot Flying J is the largest purveyor of over-the-road diesel fuel in the United States. Pilot Flying J also is known as the largest Travel Center chain in the country with over 750 locations under the Pilot, Flying J, & Mr. Fuel brands. Pilot Flying J is also the third largest franchiser of quick service restaurants in the nation, offering one to three different concepts at each location, making it the largest franchisee of Subway in the world with over 200 locations. Unlike many travel centers and truck stops, the majority of locations with the Pilot Travel Centers brand do not utilize full-service dining. However, the Flying J brand does utilize full-service dining with Denny's, as do a small handful of Pilot-branded locations.

Pilot Flying J's main restaurants include Arby's, Chester's Chicken, Dairy Queen, Denny's, Hardee's, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Subway, Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Cinnabon. Recently they have also added Huddle House (full-service restaurants), Moe's Southwest Grill, and Dunkin Donuts.

Pilot Flying J's main competitors include Love's Travel Stops, Travel Centers of America, Stuckey's, Roady's Truck Stops, and TA-owned Petro Stopping Centers.

In 2012, the company signed country music singer Trace Adkins to become its new spokesperson for its relaunched loyalty program.[20] In addition to Adkins, the company has a NASCAR sponsorship with JR Motorsports driver Michael Annett as the primary sponsor for Annett's number 1 Chevrolet Camaro in NASCAR's Xfinity Series. In 2015 and 2016, the company sponsored Annett in the number 46 Chevrolet SS for HScott Motorsports in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series and in 2014 the company sponsored Annett in the number 7 Chevrolet SS for Tommy Baldwin Racing.[21] In 2013, the company sponsored Annett in the Richard Petty Motorsports number 43 Ford Mustang in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.[22] In 2016, the company was the title sponsor for the "Battle at Bristol" at Bristol Motor Speedway.[23]

Travel center amenities

Pilot Travel Centers' former logo

Amenities featured at Pilot Flying J locations include:[24]

Truck repairs

Diesel pumps at a Flying J branded location

At some locations, Pilot Flying J offers truck maintenance through garages operated by third-party companies. Wingfoot Truck Care Centers, operated by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, provide 24-hour road service, preventative maintenance, tire service, part replacement, oil changes, and light mechanical work.

In addition to Wingfoot, Pilot Flying J also has Bosselman Boss Shop garages operated by Bosselman that provide similar services as Wingfoot. The Boss Shop partnership expanded as part of an agreement for Pilot Flying J to acquire most of Bosselman's truck stops in November 2011 in order to boost Pilot Flying J's presence in the Northern Great Plains region. Before the deal, Bosselman bought diesel fuel from Pilot and continues to do so for its remaining travel center location in Grand Island, Nebraska.[25]


In 2005, Pilot Flying J joined forces with Victory 500 marketing to publish Challenge magazine, a magazine aimed at professional truckers and sold exclusively at Pilot Flying J travel centers as well as by subscription.[26] The magazine ceased publication after 110 issues in December 2014.[27]

Rebate fraud

Pilot Flying J Chairman Jimmy Haslam

On April 15, 2013, the headquarters of Pilot Flying J, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, was raided by FBI and IRS agents as part of an "ongoing investigation". On April 16, CEO Jimmy Haslam reported the investigation involved claims of failure to pay rebates to trucking customers.[28]

On April 18, 2013, an affidavit used to secure various search warrants was made public. The documents alleged that several members of the Pilot Flying J sales force, as well as company president Mark Hazelwood, were either involved or aware of the alleged scheme.[29][30] Three sales employees' private homes were also raided as part of the investigation.[31]

On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, a federal judge in Arkansas granted preliminary approval to a proposed settlement agreement between Pilot Flying J and several trucking companies that had sued over allegations of fuel rebate fraud.[32] Pilot Flying J paid restitution to customers and agreed to pay a $92 million penalty pursuant to a Criminal Enforcement Agreement.[33]

See also


  1. ^ a b Mohamed, Theron (1 March 2023). "Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway quietly made a $8.2 billion acquisition that taps into the electric-vehicle boom". Archived from the original on 2 March 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Pilot Flying J". Pilot Flying J. 2012-07-11. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
  3. ^ Mangan, Dan (2024-01-16). "Haslam family sells Berkshire Hathaway remaining 20% share of Pilot Travel Centers". CNBC. Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  4. ^ a b "Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway acquiring majority stake in Pilot Flying J truck stops". USA Today. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Ex Pilot Flying J execs' attorneys argue against guilt by association".
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2019-05-12.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Buffett's firm to buy majority of Pilot Flying J truck stops". Archived from the original on 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  8. ^ Pilot buys Marathon stake in travel centers, sells 47.5% of PTC to CVC Archived 2008-10-03 at the Wayback Machine, Knoxville News Sentinel, October 1, 2008
  9. ^ Pilot Flying J to Buy Out Partner? Archived 2014-10-04 at the Wayback Machine, cspnet.com, October 2, 2014
  10. ^ Simon Clark, "Pilot Flying J’s Haslam Buys CVC Capital’s Stake in Truck Stop Operator Archived 2017-01-18 at the Wayback Machine," Wall Street Journal, 16 October 2015.
  11. ^ Duncan Mansfield (2009-07-14). "Pilot to acquire Flying J's 250 travel centers". Utah Daily Herald. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  12. ^ [1] Archived August 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Pomerleau, Charlie. "Merger official today for two companies". Standard-Examiner. Archived from the original on 2017-06-30. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  14. ^ FJ Management website Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed: 15 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Pilot, Flying J Finalize Merger". Convenience Store News. 2010-07-01. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  16. ^ Complete Locations Archived 2015-12-12 at the Wayback Machine, Pilot Flying J website. Accessed: 15 February 2016.
  17. ^ "Pilot Flying J Supports Truckers Against Trafficking". Convenience Store News. November 7, 2011. Archived from the original on September 7, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  18. ^ "Latest Pilot, Speedway JV Builds On History Archived 2016-06-24 at the Wayback Machine," CSP, 23 June 2016.
  19. ^ Mangan, Dan (2024-01-16). "Haslam family sells Berkshire Hathaway remaining 20% share of Pilot Travel Centers". CNBC. Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  20. ^ "Pilot Flying J". Pilot Flying J. 2012-02-17. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
  21. ^ Pearce, Al (November 15, 2013). "Michael Annett to replace Dave Blaney in Tommy Baldwin Racing's NASCAR Cup seat in 2014". Autoweek. Archived from the original on November 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  22. ^ "Annett claims another solid finish at Fontana | News". Motorsport.com. 2012-03-25. Archived from the original on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
  23. ^ "Pilot Flying J partners with Bristol Motor Speedway as title sponsor for 2016 Battle at Bristol". pilotflyingj.com. Knoxville, Tennessee: Pilot Flying J. November 24, 2015. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  24. ^ "Pilot Flying J - Amenities". Pilottravelcenters.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  25. ^ "Pilot Flying J Acquiring seven travel centers from Bosselman". Cspnet.com. Archived from the original on 2011-11-06. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
  26. ^ "About Us - PTC Challenge". Archived from the original on 2015-02-18. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  27. ^ "Farewell - PTC Challenge". Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  28. ^ "Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam: Raid Part of Criminal Investigation into Rebates to Trucking Customers Archived 2013-04-19 at the Wayback Machine," Knoxville News Sentinel, 16 April 2013. Retrieved: 16 April 2013.
  29. ^ Flory, Josh (April 18, 2013). "FBI: Pilot engaged in fraud". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  30. ^ Gervin, Cari Wade (April 24, 2013). "The Case Against Pilot: Behind the Accusations of Fraud at Pilot Flying J". Metro Pulse. Knoxville, Tennessee: E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  31. ^ Witt, Gerald (April 18, 2013). "Three private homes raided under Pilot warrant". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  32. ^ Flory, Josh. "Judge OKs Pilot Flying J, truckers agreement on fuel rebate fraud lawsuits". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  33. ^ Ellen Myers, "Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's truck stop chain will pay $92 million fraud fine" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 2014.