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Setting the Record Straight in the Collegiate Athletic Air Charter Market

July 23, 2019

STM Charters to have seventeen exclusively contracted jet aircraft dedicated to NCAA travel, including more 50 and 70-seat regional jets than any other company

Waterloo, Iowa – For the last several months, an athletic association has been marketing a “strategic sourcing” air charter proposal to universities across the country, promising to provide aircraft that will fix the perceived availability issues in the regional jet marketplace. In a recent email, the association claimed that “30-seat and 50-seat operator options have dwindled down to four.” The truth is that there are at least ten 30-seat and 50-seat air charter operators in the marketplace today. While 50-seat and 70-seat options are limited, the association’s recent announcement of a new carrier in the marketplace provides no solution to the shortage of the larger aircraft. Indeed, the association’s claim that its new airline will have two Embraer 145s that can be configured in a 30-seat or 50-seat configuration is misleading, as the aircraft—by law—will have to remain in the 30-seat configuration for the foreseeable future. For the carrier to operate 50-seat aircraft, an FAA Part 121 certificate must first be obtained, a process that can take years to complete. In fact, the athletic association’s new carrier, which is owned by the consultancy administering the program, does not yet have the Embraer 145 ready for operations on its current FAA Part 135 certificate—meaning when they do offer service this fall, they will be doing so on a fleet type that is entirely new to the operator.

STM Charters, a division of Short’s Travel Management, will again this season offer the largest, exclusively contracted, FAA-approved Part 121 and Part 135 air carrier network in the collegiate athletic marketplace. Across its network of three exclusively contracted air carriers, STM Charters will offer the collegiate athletic community access to seventeen 30, 50 and 70-seat regional jet aircraft, several of which feature complimentary wi-fi and in-seat power ports. Among the seventeen aircraft are nine 50-seat and 70-seat regional aircraft operated by two already certificated FAA Part 121 air carriers. STM Charters offers access to more 50-seat and 70-seat regional aircraft than any other charter management consultancy. This year, STM Charters intends to further enhance the travel experience of its customers by directly managing and integrating the scheduling of all seventeen aircraft*.

In addition to the unparalleled fleet access afforded to STM Charters’ customers, STM clients also benefit from having the industry’s most experienced staff overseeing their travel journey. The STM Charters’ staff is comprised of veteran aviation professionals with more than 100 years of “real world” FAA Part 121 commercial air carrier and Part 135 charter operator experience.

“For us, it is very simple. STM Charters is the best. There is no better partner for RVR Aviation and our fleet of Embraer 135 aircraft than the team at STM Charters. They know the market, and more importantly, they know aviation. That is hard to find in today’s fragmented market, and we are proud to partner with them again this season,” says Ron Whitehead, President and Director of Operations for RVR Aviation, LLC.    

Now in its eleventh year, STM Charters has developed the most transparent and cost-effective collegiate charter program in the country, serving the travel needs of close to 100 colleges and universities and over 300 teams each year. Year-after-year, STM Charters is entrusted by multiple air carriers with close to one billion dollars’ worth of aviation assets to manage the sales and marketing, contracting, and operational coordination of more than 2,500 flight segments in the collegiate travel market.

*While STM will provide comprehensive scheduling support, each carrier will maintain operational control of its aircraft at all times.

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