Meet the man behind Million Air Dallas Flight Operations

Don Rickerhauser, VP of Flight Operations

news | Jun 14, 2019


Don Rickerhauser has 5 years with Million Air Dallas, but he is no stranger to aviation. In fact, he is over 35 years into a career that has run the breadth of aviation roles beginning, naturally, with piloting aircraft anywhere from single-engine piston aircraft to commercial jet aircraft. Prior to joining Million Air Dallas, Don was the Manager of Safety and Security for Bombardier Flexjet where he spent a decade in the operational, regulatory and safety aspects for the private aviation sector. As the Vice President of Flight Operations for Million Air Dallas, he is responsible for the safety and operational control of all flights operated by Million Air Dallas. If it’s moving, Don’s accountable. And that’s a big job.

Q: What attracted you to aviation back in the early 80s?

A: As a child, I often flew with my father in his single-engine airplane and as a teenager, I developed the dream and passion for one day piloting an aircraft on my own. I became so determined to be a professional pilot that after graduating from high school I chose flying airplanes to be my career and went to a college dedicated to developing their students to become professional pilots and/or managers in the aviation industry. As I fast forward to today, I have had the privilege of piloting all types of aircraft from single engine piston aircraft to commercial jet airliners and as an aviation manager in both the commercial airlines and the private business jet sector. The aviation business is my dream job and 35 years later I still love coming to work every day and would never want to do anything different.

Q: What does your typical day look like now?

A: As the Vice President of Flight Operations I spend my day ensuring that each Million Air Dallas pilot is trained and qualified to safely operate the aircraft they are assigned to fly, that each aircraft we operate is compliant to applicable airworthiness standards and regulatory requirements and that every flight we operate for our clients is in accordance with the highest safety and quality standards. The most exciting part of my day is making sure every client that uses our services has a travel experience that exceeds their expectations and is an experience that is second to none.

Q: What do you love about working for Million Air Dallas?

A: The Private Transportation business is the most exciting in the aviation industry and this year Million Air Dallas is celebrating its 35th year serving our clients and the private transportation industry. We have approximately 150 employees with several having 25 to 30 years of dedicated service to Million Air Dallas and its clients and customers. That says a lot about Million Air Dallas. This company has a “customer comes first” culture that is purely driven by the employees and their passion of providing the best service experience for every customer that comes through our doors. That’s what I love about working at Million Air Dallas. We are one team of people that loves what we do and loves the business we are in and we all go out of our way to make Million Air Dallas a safe and enjoyable place to work and at the same time make the Million Air Dallas experience the best experience our customers receive.

Q: Do you offer any perks or discounts to charter clients?

A: We recently launched our rewarding charter discount program called MAnext which is a three-tiered membership program that offers three options to choose from each with a distinct hourly rate discount per tier. The program gives members full access to our private terminal and other member-only perks to include locked-in hourly rates for the term of the agreement, waived cancellation fees on our in-fleet aircraft, no long term contracts, which the balance is fully refundable at any time and without penalty, zero initiation fees and no annual dues, and quick signature only booking on all flights and most importantly, is the significant hourly rate discounts on every flight.

Another perk we offer our clients is access to our preferred luxury travel advisor, Julie Chaump. Julie specializes in luxury travel vacations to any destination in the world. These vacations can be the adventures of a trek through the jungles of Laos, an African safari, fine dining in the streets of Paris or in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy. Whatever your taste of a luxury vacation, Julie will make your vacation an unforgettable experience.

Q: How do I know Million Air Dallas is safe to fly?

A: We uphold the highest level of safety and consistency in the industry to ensure the comfort and welfare of our passengers and crew on every flight and we back that up through our consistent recognition from independent agencies for superior safety practices in the private transportation industry. We go beyond industry best practices and regulatory requirements to ensure the highest level of safety in the maintenance of our aircraft, flight operations and all activities related to flight and ground operations. This year we were awarded for the 13th consecutive year, Platinum status from ARGUS. The Platinum status is the highest rating awarded within the ARGUS rating system which focuses on a well-developed safety management system, industry best practices and regulatory compliance. We also received our IS-BAO Stage III rating for the 6th consecutive year. The Stage III rating is the highest rating possible awarded from the International Standard for Business Aviation and it recognizes operators who meet the highest level of safety management compliance across all international boundaries. And finally, we are proud to say that our Maintenance Department was recently awarded the FAA Diamond Award of Excellence for the 12th consecutive year. This prestigious award is the highest recognition awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration for excellence in maintenance practices, training and safety processes.  As you can see, we take safety very seriously and we make a large investment in our safety management systems to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew on every flight. In fact, Safety is our number one corporate value. We regard safety as a way of life. It’s the core of our business and every employee’s number one priority.

Q: Who maintains your jet aircraft?

A: Million Air Dallas maintains the highest level of airworthiness and aircraft operating standards. All aircraft that are in our aircraft management program is maintained in our own 28,000 square foot maintenance facility to the strictest FAR Part 135 Standards and by fully trained and qualified maintenance technicians who are full-time employees of Million Air Dallas.  All Million Air Dallas maintenance technicians are factory trained and routinely go through additional intensive training programs which includes factory courses and in-house factory approved courses. Our maintenance program, which includes maintenance technician training, is routinely audited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and several independent auditing agencies to verify compliance with FAA regulations, company policy and procedure, and industry best practices.

Q: If I decide owning a jet is right for me, what is the value to hiring a jet management company over private management?

A: A jet management company provides a service that simplifies the complexities and maximizes the value of private jet ownership. As a jet management company, we are in a sense, “your flight department” where we handle everything on your behalf such as personnel sourcing, pilot training, jet maintenance, regulatory record-keeping and the time-consuming accounting that comes with jet ownership. A big benefit to having the jet managed by a professional management company is the opportunity for us to help offset the cost of your asset by placing your aircraft into our charter program where your jet will be marketed by a professional ad agency to an extensive list of elite charter clients who exclusively use our services. As a client of our aircraft management program, you also get the financial benefits of our fleet-wide purchasing discounts which will help reduce the overall cost of owning your aircraft. These purchasing discounts include special home-base fuel pricing, crew training, which due to our large fleet size Million Air Dallas is given favorable rates for all pilot training and the aircraft owner only pays the actual costs to Million Air Dallas. And aircraft insurance, with over 35 years of aircraft management experience, our impeccable safety record,  operating one of the largest fleet sizes in the United States, and our high level of crew qualifications and training, Million Air Dallas is provided some of the lowest rates on aircraft insurance in the industry.

Q: What are your operation capabilities?

A: We have been operating private jet aircraft for over 35 years connecting jet owners and charter clients with unmatched expertise and resources for every type of jet from light jets all the way to the large cabin- long-range heavy jets. You can call one of our charter specialists 24/7/365 and they can book you a short Texas jaunt in one of our light jets, coast to coast travel in a mid or super mid-size jet, or to a global destination in one of our large cabin heavy jets. What we are recognized and most well-known for is our international capabilities. Our international aircraft are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology offering the safest travel to any destination around the world to include destinations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and the beautiful islands of the Caribbean. In addition to our highly qualified pilots, all of whom have extensive international flying experience, our long-range large-cabin aircraft are provided with a highly trained and experienced Cabin Server to provide a personalized travel experience with attention to detail unrivaled by any other.

Q: What other services does Million Air Dallas offer besides charter and jet management?

A: Million Air Dallas pioneered the concept of luxury airport facilities with the opening of our Flagship FBO 35 years ago and we pride ourselves on ensuring our guests experience a higher level of service when they visit our facility. Our facility boasts 168,000 square feet of heated hangar space, pilot lounge, Hi-def theater room, fitness center, on-site catering, and on-site U.S. Customs. Our Line Service Technicians are the best in the business with each technician NATA Safety 1st certified which attests to the rigorous training they must undergo before they begin to service the aircraft that are at our facility. Our Customer Service Representatives are top concierge and customer service experts and they are always ready to create a custom experience for every guest that visits us. In addition to our FBO, our Acquisitions Team brings three decades of experience in aircraft acquisitions and brings to the table the expertise you need to assist you in identifying and purchasing the right jet for your lifestyle and travel needs. When you are considering the purchase of a jet, we invite you for an informal consultation with our Vice President of Aircraft Acquisitions and Marketing, Don Gantt. Don has specialized in aircraft acquisitions and marketing for the last three decades and his passion for service, dedication and expertise have made him a leader in the industry and an asset to his clients. Million Air Dallas is at the forefront of private jet services and as the longest-operating aviation service organization in North Texas, we have built a reputation on exceeding expectations through unrivaled safety, elegance and expertise to every aspect of our business from charter and jet management to FBO services and aircraft acquisitions and we are very proud of who we are and the excellent services we provide to our clients.

Q: What makes Million Air Dallas unique to other charter or management companies?

A: In 2019 Million Air Dallas is celebrating its 35th year of providing the exceptional private jet charter and management services that we are known for. Private jet travel is our core business. It’s what we do, and we are experts at it. For every flight, our mission is to bring a private travel experience to our clients that goes beyond their expectations. Every client of Million Air Dallas has a dedicated charter specialist on hand to accommodate their travel planning. This includes special catering and ground transportation. On the day of travel our clients enjoy the luxury of departing and arriving from their own exclusive private terminal where they can enjoy a comfortable and quiet setting with fresh beverages and designer coffee, a fully stocked bar and private and secure boarding. Our client’s vehicle is valeted and kept inside a gated facility and upon their arrival the vehicle is positioned planeside for quick and easy exit from the airport. We provide every individual aircraft owner and charter clientele an exceptional personalized travel experience tailor-fit to their individual needs and we do it with an attention to detail that sets us apart from the others.

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