By Mary Pauline Lowry
Cirrus Aviation, a family owned and run business, is the largest Las Vegas private jet charter operator. With a focus on aircraft acquisitions and management, they have a wide range of high-net worth clients including business owners, entertainers, DJs, musicians and movie stars.
Based in Las Vegas with plans to expand to Los Angeles soon, the company is run by Greg and Mark Woods, two brothers who grew up in an aviation family. Their father, Milton Woods, has been a pilot all his life. “Back in the 1970s, when I was a kid, my dad was a pilot on South Pacific Island Airways,” Greg explained. “From my earliest recollection, I’ve been around airplanes.” Greg worked as an engineer for companies such as MPR and Cray Super Computers before deciding to purchase Cirrus Aviation with his father in 2009. As soon as their new family business began to boom, Greg’s brother Mark – who is also a pilot and was working as a captain for Alaska Air Group – joined the team. Since 2014, Greg and Mark have run the company together. “Mark and I are close in age – we’re just 16 months apart. We’ve been close all our lives. We work together very well. Mark is a great pilot and is very sharp. We’re very complimentary people,” Greg said.
Cirrus Aviation is growing so rapidly that Greg and Mark sometimes have to turn down potential clients. What’s the secret to the brothers’ success? “I actually think it has to do with the way our mom brought us up, and the fact that we are Canadian – we have a slightly different perspective,” Greg said. “We believe strongly in ethical behavior and doing things right.” As a result, the company’s biggest source of business is referrals. “That’s why we are growing so quickly. We have a large group of people entrusting their planes to us. The word of mouth is like a snowball – it’s a very strong recommendation. Having a sales guy pitch the business on the Internet doesn’t have the same effect as when someone whose airplane we manage says, ‘Hey these guys are great; they are straight up and honest; they are clear about their financials.’”
Greg and Mark believe in being completely transparent with their clients, providing them with detailed information about their accounting process, as well as itemized lists of all costs. They provide many amenities for free that other companies charge their clients for. “Because they are so happy with our service, most of our clients opt for full management,” Greg said. “We do everything from stocking the plane, to maintenance, to scheduling, to hiring and training pilots, to payroll.”
The Woods believe in providing the highest quality service to their high-net worth clients, but they also believe in giving back to those in their community who are less fortunate. To that end, they regularly donate sizeable private jet packages to charities to be sold at silent auctions. Greg explained his family’s commitment to donating generously to charities that help underserved youth in Las Vegas. “If you can change the path of somebody when they are young, you can do a lot for their life, so we try to focus on the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, as well as other organizations that will help kids be successful in life.”
I don’t know why more companies don’t do business this way… If you are straight up with people and try to achieve for them, things tend to work out.
Cirrus Aviation also donates to nonprofits supporting cancer survivors or cancer research. “I’ve had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and my dad had a brush with cancer. One of our uncles passed away from cancer. Everyone’s family has been touched by cancer. It’s part of our responsibility to our community to give back to the community we live in.” In 2018 alone, Cirrus Aviation raised over $200,000 for local charities.
Cirrus Aviation has developed a winning recipe – working with the utmost honesty and integrity, they provide excellent service, expertise, and clear financials to their high-net worth clients, while doing all they can to support a strong, healthy community. “I don’t know why more companies don’t do business this way,” Greg said. “If you are straight up with people and try to achieve for them, things tend to work out.”
To find out more about Cirrus Aviation, you can check them out online at www.cirrusav.com.