Between flying its own charter service and maintaining planes for commercial airlines, Birmingham’s Southern Sky Aviation has grown to 65 employees and earned a spot among the city’s fastest growing businesses.
Founded in 2017, the company offers charter flights, aircraft maintenance, avionics, management and brokerage.
Its fastest growing segment is maintenance, says president and CFO Donald Howell, adding that the company provides overnight maintenance to all commercial airlines flying into Birmingham.
That work “is very important in attracting and retaining commercial air carriers” at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Howell says.
Southern Sky CEO and co-founder Bo Andrews remembers the wealth of corporate travel in Birmingham back in the 1980s, when he was learning to fly, and his dismay as that dissipated during the financial crisis of the late 2000s. He founded the company, with Bill Gunnells who is now chairman of the board, to help renew the city’s air travel.
“We want to serve the Birmingham community, support the local economy and bring aviation back to Birmingham,” says Andrews, adding that he hopes to help create jobs in his hometown.
Adds Howell, “Birmingham was once a hub for aviation jobs. We are trying to build a Birmingham-based aviation company and bring those skilled jobs back to Birmingham.”
In addition to flights across the Southeast, many to Boston, Chicago and New York, the company has won Federal Aviation Administration approval to begin offering international charters flights to the Caribbean, Canada and Central and South America.
Southern Sky was featured as the cover story in the March 2019 issue of Business Alabama Magazine. Click here to read the story.