From humble beginnings as a flight training school, Priester Aviation has always been about the aircraft and aviation. Founded by George Priester in 1945 the company has expanded to include a world-class fleet of aircraft and a team of aviation experts, providing an ever-growing list of services to enhance and manage the flight experience. Our tradition of customer service spans generations and across the globe.
Five years after the Wright Brothers' historic flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, founder George Priester is born. George begins his career as a locomotive engineer for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroads.
George Priester's vision starts with opening a flight training school in 1945 that eventually evolves into the multi-disciplinary aviation services company that it is today. It's a simple proposition at first: to provide a platform to educate and demonstrate the practices of a progressing industry that would eventually integrate itself into the lives of on-the-go business and leisure travelers alike.
The Priester family buys Gauthier's Flying Field and renames it to Pal-Waukee Airport (currently Chicago Executive Airport). At age 14, son Charlie Priester joins the family business and soon begins an airport improvement program. "When we bought the airport from Parks College, who had used it during WWII as a military training field, there were two hangars plus some 'T' hangars, and the longest runway was 2,800 feet of cinders," said Charlie Priester.
A 5,000 ft. runway is constructed in anticipation of increased jet aircraft demand. "The airport consisted of 108 acres, and there wasn't a square inch of blacktop at the airport. The paving of the runways was all part of the development," Charlie Priester said. "We bought property piece by piece as we expanded the airport, and as part of that process, we started paving runways."
After starting the flight school and buying the airport, George's vision is realized with increased business aviation activity. He expands the business to include FBO services and jet charter operations with his son Charlie who goes on to obtain an ATP rating and logs more than 25,000 flight hours.
Palwaukee Airport is named the busiest privately owned airport in the world. After 33 years of building one of the nation's finest airports, the family decides to sell the treasured airport to the neighboring Illinois communities of Wheeling and Prospect Heights.
The family sees their jet charter and aircraft management business expanding and invests additional resources with the pursuit to become the preeminent choice in aircraft management and jet charter. A deal is struck with Signature Flight Support, the world leader in FBO management, and Priester sells both their FBO and maintenance businesses.
Priester Aviation receives the industry's highest safety accreditations from the four most rigorous auditing firms. Priester is ARGUS Platinum, Wyvern Wingman, IS-BAO and Air Charter Safety Foundation approved.
Priester Aviation celebrates the company's 65th anniversary. Making business fly.
Headquartered at Chicago Executive Airport, Priester opens one of the industry's most sophisticated operations centers to manage its global fleet. The operations center is staffed 24/7, monitoring all flight activity.
Andy Priester is named President and CEO. Andy's leadership will drive "The New Priester" with a renewed focus on the company's vision and values, while honoring its rich family heritage.
Priester Aviation celebrates 70 years of committed excellence.
Priester Aviation celebrates 75 years of committed excellence
As the aviation community developed and businesses began to expand, George Priester saw that the airplane was going to become the business vehicle of choice, anticipating the growth of the market. The need for flexible point-to-point travel became a necessity and alternatives to commercial airline service were imperative. He provided discerning travelers with premium aviation services, tailored to fit the individual needs of each client. Today, Andy Priester leads a group that holds that same commitment to customer service, expanded to clients all over the country and the globe.
Flying is a business tool.George Priester