CEO Phil Jordan Hopes to Expand Industry Footprint With Central Flying Service

CEO Phil Jordan Hopes to Expand Industry Footprint With Central Flying Service
Jordan worked as a college student giving flying lessons. (Jason Burt)

Phil Jordan, 60, has been in charge of Arkansas’ oldest aviation company since May, when Tricoastal Ventures LLC purchased Central Flying Service. A former commercial pilot, Jordan has spent more than 30 years in the private jet industry. His Tricoastal partner, Herb Knight, is now Central Flying Service’s COO.

Jordan graduated from the University of North Texas in Denton with a bachelor’s degree in finance, insurance and real estate.

What made Central Flying Service an attractive acquisition?

My partner and I were looking to expand our aviation industry footprint to complement our aircraft sales dealerships. Our initial thoughts were to target a small aircraft maintenance shop, though we also made a bid to purchase a business in Texas. When we learned that Central was available, we were quite excited. It presented an opportunity for us to acquire a well-established business that was well known in our industry and aligned perfectly with our vision. The reputation and the family legacy of Central are well known among Cessna and Beechcraft owners in areas far beyond Arkansas.

Do you expect a smooth transition from eight decades of family ownership to corporate control?

We spent a lot of time here during our due diligence process. It was very evident that there was a strength of commitment and loyalty among the members of the Central team; we could see that in the fashion that the Central experience, in all of the services, was delivered to the loyal client base every day. Although we are not the “family business,” we have worked in our short time here developing our new corporate culture. We have adopted a philosophy built around our “why statement,” which asks, “Why does Central Flying Service exist?” We are making investments in our facilities, our systems and equipment, and, frankly, in our people to ensure that Central maintains the commitment to this philosophy. The transition is far from done, but it has been welcomed and embraced on all fronts thus far.

What are the big plans for the new venture?

Our vision is to develop Central into four to five locations throughout the central part of the U.S. We see our development from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River and from the southern border to the northern border.

What areas of the business have the most growth potential?

Our plan is to continue our investments in systems to make the company infrastructure even stronger and further develop the Little Rock footprint. Our strategic plan calls for expansion of the Central brand, primarily through acquisition, adding locations in the central U.S. Little Rock is going to be the hub, the headquarters.

When did you first fall in love with flying?

I took my first flight at 14 with a member of our church. It was an incredible experience. While in college in Texas I decided to enroll in ground school and take flying lessons. After earning my private pilot license, I decided that a career in aviation would be worth exploring and found that while earning my commercial pilot license and flight instructor rating, I could give flying lessons while finishing my degree. Many people have that love of flying. I do love flying, but my real passion comes from the private aviation industry. It gives me the joy of being able to get up every morning and look forward to going to the airport; this passion keeps me going.