Colorful past, bright future
International Jet has a long and proud history. We celebrated our 40th year in business in September of 2019! Over those years a lot of great people have worked at the company or used our services. What follows is a brief look at our company's history.
In 1979 Lynn Krogh and Bill Milam began the company in Long Beach, California. The first plane was a 1975 Cessna 421 turbo prop. Business was good and in February of 1980 the company acquired a Lear 24 and moved the operation to Denver, Colorado, where space was rented from Tiger Air. During this time International Jet flew a lot of cargo flights for Emery Air Freight and Purolator.
In June of 1980 we added a Lear 25 and became the first charter Lear Jet at Centennial Airport. Our first hangar, today’s maintenance hangar, was built shortly after arriving in Denver. Today, International Jet is the longest tenured company at Centennial Airport.
We flew cargo for several years and at one point we even operated a helicopter charter. Long-time Denver residents might remember Mike Silva, pilot of the KCNC-TV helicopter. He was the first pilot for the International Jet helicopter charter services—Shy Charter.
During this time we also had a military contract to fly missile launch codes to the different air bases throughout the United States. And then there was the time Ronald McDonald asked us to fly BeBe, a female gorilla, to the Cincinnati Zoo. (BeBe was sedated for the entire flight.) Did we say we have an interesting history? Cargo, top-secret military flights and a 700 pound gorilla—just another day's work!
Brian Smith joined International Jet in 1989 as the company was transitioning to more passenger charters. Columbia Air Life (later becoming HealthOne) became a long-time customer in the early ‘90s. Over a twenty-five year period International Jet flew more than 10,000 medical transports using twelve to fifteen different planes.
In 2002, we broke ground on the current building at Centennial Airport and it opened in 2003. A series of large aircraft were added in the mid-2000s as International Jet became a completely passenger charter company.
In 2008 Brian became a full partner in the business.
At International Jet we believe in giving back to the community and we put those beliefs into action. Five times one of our jets has been painted “like a Lifesaver,” as the kids say, and we do our best to make a few dreams come true by taking some of the kids on a flight to remember. In 2019, we flew Make-A-Wish Foundation kids from Denver, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque and Los Angeles. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) honored International Jet Aviation Services and the Make-A-Wish Foundation as co-recipients of NBAA’s 2014 Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership.
We’ve flown a lot of interesting and wonderful people over the years, including: Neil Armstrong, Pat Bowlen, Johnny Cash, Jack Nicklaus, Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey. We look forward to flying them, other superstars, executives and families for another forty years.
It’s all been possible because of the great people who made International Jet their home—some for a while, others for years. We couldn’t have accomplished it without them or the great individual who choose to fly charter with us!