Father-son Oklahoma air charter company celebrates 30 years in business

Private Jets celebrates business milestone

Father-son Oklahoma air charter company celebrates 30 years in business

BETHANY, Oklahoma (Aug. 9, 2017) – When Happy Wells purchased the company now known as Private Jets Inc., he was hopeful he could get at least one jet under certificate and make an effort to get the company off the ground. 

As Wells assumed control of the company – then called Oklahoma Executive Jet Charter – it was a mere 8 years old, having been founded at Will Rogers World Airport in 1987.   Wells was purchasing little more than the company’s name. Getting that first jet on the roster meant he could start trying to build his business in earnest. 

Now the company, rebranded in 2002 as Private Jets Inc., boasts nearly 20 aircraft in its fleet. It has laid its home-base roots at Bethany’s Wiley Post Airport and counts six different bases of operation spread over Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.   As Private Jets celebrates 30 years of business in 2017, Wells reflected back and said it feels like a bit of a blur. 

“I know it’s been a long time,” he said. “But it just seems like a blink of an eye. Time has gone by so quickly.” 

Wells said that when he took over the company in 1995, he knew he wanted it to grow, but didn’t necessarily anticipate the level of growth his company has experienced. 

“Of course I wanted to grow,” he said. “I don’t know at that time that I had that type of goal. I didn’t have a long-range plan of multiple bases.” 

But that’s exactly what has happened, as Private Jets has been one of the Oklahoma City metro area’s most thriving businesses. In the past year, the company added bases in St. Augustine, Florida, and Austin, Texas.   Those bases joined existing locations at Naples, Florida (added in 2000); San Antonio (added in 2002); and Sugar Land, Texas (added in 2014).   This expansion of bases has been made possible by growth in the Private Jets fleet. The roster of aircraft essentially doubled between 2006 and 2016.   Wells credits the success of the company over the years with good luck and a willingness and ability to seize opportunities. 

“Knowing people in the industry and knowing how to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves – that has helped us get where we are today,” he said. 

For Wells, a lifelong aviator who once operated a flight school in Stillwater, the satisfaction of seeing his company grow is made even sweeter by one fact: he gets to share the journey with his son.   Eric Wells is president and director of operations for Private Jets, and has been flying airplanes almost as long as he’s been driving cars. The younger Wells obtained his commercial pilot’s license three days after graduating from high school. On his 19th birthday, he flew his first Learjet flight. By the age of 23, he had captained his first flight.   While still maintaining a schedule of flight duties, Eric Wells also oversees the day-to-day and regulatory operations of Private Jets. 

Eric Wells said he is proud to see the company thriving after 30 years in business, and also excited to continue building on the work he and his father have put in over the years. 

“We are very pleased to see where Private Jets is today, but we have a great deal of anticipation for the future as well,” Eric Wells said. 

Both father and son said they will seek to establish bases in several additional regional markets in the coming years, and to grow that network of locations into a national presence. 

“I really think from this point forward our growth potential is pretty much unlimited,” Eric Wells said. 

Happy Wells said he doesn’t anticipate the work required to achieve that growth will feel like much of a chore. 

“When you enjoy what you’re doing every day, that makes a huge difference,” he said. “That’s where I feel like I’ve been blessed."

“I’ve enjoyed this business.” 


About Private Jets Inc. 

Private Jets, Inc., a successor company to Oklahoma Executive Jet Charter, was founded in 1987 and has grown to become one of the largest air charter businesses in Oklahoma. Private Jets is dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service in the industry, serving destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and more. Private Jets operates an impressive and ever-expanding fleet of aircraft, with unparalleled safety standards. The company is headquartered at Wiley Post Airport in Bethany, Oklahoma; it also has bases in San Antonio, Austin and Sugar Land, Texas; and St. Augustine and Naples, Florida. For more information, go to www.PrivateJetsInc.com. 

For additional information, contact: 

Nick Trougakos, Koch Communications  (405) 607-0826    ntrougakos@kochcomm.com