The story is legendary in the private jet charter world. Whip-smart high school student Greg Raiff wanted to find an affordable way to fly fellow seniors to the sunny Bahamas for spring break. So, at age 18, he chartered a Boeing 747, the largest passenger airliner at the time, and proceeded to personally sell tickets to fill all 472 seats.
His concept turned into StudentCity.com, founded in his Vermont college dorm room, which grew into the multimillion-dollar operation of managing spring break air travel for over 50,000 students a year.
Fast forward to today, Raiff has evolved the fledgling student travel business he started over 30 years ago into Elevate Aviation Group (EAG), of which he is founder and CEO. This world-class, full-service, private jet operation focuses on everything from business charter flights and complex large group travel, to aircraft management and logistics, to full-service maintenance and aircraft acquisition and sales.
While Raiff likes to call EAG “the largest private aviation services firm that no one’s ever heard of,” his client list has included top sports teams from the NHL’s Boston Bruins to MLB’s San Francisco Giants; music legends like U2, The Rolling Stones, and Imagine Dragons; and presidential candidates, government agencies, and Fortune 500 captains of industry.
Today, EAG comprises four wholly owned subsidiaries: Private Jet Services, Keystone Aviation, Elevate MRO, and Elevate Jet. Each one works under the mantra of constantly striving to be the most trusted, most customer-focused source for every aspect of aviation service.
Need a group charter, corporate shuttle, or a jet to move executives or a sports team across the country or around the globe? EAG’s Miami-based Private Jet Services division has worldwide access to a multitude of aircraft, from compact turboprops to 747s—many of which can be airborne in as little as 30 minutes.
And to support its clients, EAG has expanded its international footprint with the opening of two new flight operations centers—one in Sydney, Australia and one in Seoul, South Korea—to tap into the key Asia Pacific charter market. It also has personnel in the U.K. and throughout the European Union.
How does it work? Private Jet Services offers a bespoke, white-glove concierge service with team members available 24/7 to provide consultations, counseling, and options. They research aircraft and operators, before creating personalized travel itineraries showing the available aircraft with photos and specifications, a carefully considered best-choice option, and pricing.
The entire process is managed through EAG’s proprietary software, called TripGrade, keeping tabs and scoring every pilot and flight attendant for service delivery and professionalism. Service standards for each Private Jet Services’ aircraft includes on-time performance, maintenance history, cabin design, layout, cleanliness, and Wi-Fi system speed.
Private Jet Services also has access to a growing fleet of aircraft managed by EAG’s recently acquired Salt Lake City–based Keystone Aviation division. The lineup includes a 15-seat Bombardier Global Express, a 10-passenger Gulfstream G200, a seven-place Pilatus, and more, with over 30 aircraft in total.
Keystone Aviation and The Elevate MRO—short for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul—division also provides an unrivaled service to aircraft owners and operators, offering full nose-to-tail maintenance, repair, and safety compliance work.
Looking to buy or sell a pre-owned jet? EAG’s Elevate Jet division has the proven expertise and data to track down potential aircraft to purchase, combined with the know-how to take a buyer seamlessly through the complex buying process. It even offers its own curated selection of carefully vetted aircraft for sale.
And as demand for its services continues to grow, EAG is expanding. The company recently earmarked an additional $10 million per year to fill key management roles, adding to its current team of 200 full-time employees.
In today’s complex private aviation sector, what sets EAG apart is its commitment to fiscal prudence and stability. For two decades, the company has maintained its operations under unwavering private ownership, notably without resorting to the external capital or credit card–like loans that many of its competitors have leaned on—loans that now threaten their existence.
This longevity and resilience are further underscored by EAG’s enduring partnerships with prominent banks, including JP Morgan Chase, where clients’ funds are safeguarded.
What Raiff insists will never change is EAG’s single-minded focus on personal service: “Our goal is to have every experience and every touch point with a member of our team, leaving our clients wanting to come back again.”