If Hobby Airport had a red carpet VIP entrance cordoned off with velvet rope and a doorman with a clipboard, the name on the sign above the golden double doors would be “Million Air.”

But instead of a red carpet, in reality it’s a mahogany and marble counter in a luxury hangar staffed by smiling professionals who look fit for a cocktail party.

There at 7555 Ipswich Rd., private jet owners who use Million Air’s services can browse Elite Traveler magazine and take in the sumptuous photos of places you’ve yearned to go and baubles you’ve longed to splurge on.

Come in, Million Air beckons. You deserve it.

There’s just the small matter of price that may give you pause. For customers who own a private jet, Million Air will happily staff it, from pilots to flight attendants, and provide ground support like inspections and fuel. Customers can also charter a jet through Million Air.

Fixed base operators (FBOs) like Million Air are companies or organizations granted airport operating rights to provide aeronautical services such as fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction and similar services.

Million Air was founded in 1984 by the Mary Kay cosmetics family as an FBO in Dallas. The original goal was to deliver outstanding luxury service to Mary Kay customers and sales representatives at the company’s hometown airport, where previously, customers were stepping off multimillion dollar aircraft into facilities that were subpar and designed for maintenance and flight schools. So, Million Air first established a full-service business welcome center.

The “Million Air Experience” quickly received national attention. Soon the business launched a network of private facilities in dozens of cities to accommodate people flying in private jets.

“Private aviation travel makes good business sense,” said Roger Woolsey, CEO of Million Air. “The private aircraft is today’s proven formula for success.”

Woolsey said the company provides access to airports worldwide not served by commercial airlines.

The time you spend in your aircraft, he said, is constructive and always private. Companies that use business aircraft often dominate their industries and experience greater sales growth, earnings growth and productivity, according to Woolsey. Aircraft owners and operators lead Fortune’s Top 100 companies.

The Million Air system operates throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, with 1,000 employees and more than 800 aircraft.

Also, Million Air plays a role in transporting human organs to be transplanted into patients being treated in Houston. The company supports an average of eight transplant missions a day, Woolsey said.

“We are part of this family that is saving lives; it gives us a real mission, focus and purpose,” he remarked.


— By Brian Rogers