Air Charter with Augusta Aviation

Every year there is a feeling of excitement in the air during that first full week of April. In addition to the amazing golf being played less than three nautical miles away from Augusta Aviation, the air is also filled with planes taking off and landing at Daniel Field all week long, patrons in tow. 

“It all started in 1940 when two brothers, Willis ‘Buster’ and Forest Boshears, founded the Augusta School of Aviation, located on Shultz Hill in North Augusta, SC. The brothers moved the business to Daniel Field Airport in 1947 where we are located today,” says Amelia Gay, Augusta Aviations’s head of marketing and communications.  “A name change to Augusta Aviation, Inc., in 1961 was necessary due to the variety of services offered, including air charter.”  Since then, Augusta Aviation has grown into a booming business including air charter, fuel sales, maintenance, a flight simulator, and so much more.

Air charter is a large focus of their business, and Augusta Aviation dedicates themselves to making sure the customer has the best experience. They offer everything from what you want to eat or drink on board, help with hotels or transportation when you get to your destination and more. “We really want to tailor and take care of our customers. Even our pilots — they are such a great crew,” says Chris Wilson, vice president of operations. If your goal is to get out of Augusta during that week or any other week of the year, they can fly to any destination as far south as Florida, northeast to New York and as far west as Texas. In addition, they are also able to act as a brokerage and book other aircrafts for charter trips to accommodate farther distances and larger groups, if necessary.

During Masters, Augusta Aviation has four schedulers on site who work a 24/7 operation with a fleet of four charter aircraft. According to Becky Shealy, vice president of business development, the busiest days are Wednesday and Friday. “On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we have different planes coming in the morning and leaving the same day. The planes we see on Monday, we don’t see on Tuesday as these are the practice rounds,” she says. The whole dynamic changes on Thursday when we will see the same plane daily but may have different groups of people each day on board. “It is not uncommon to see 60-70 aircraft on the ground,” she adds.  

All of the employees know they will be doing many different tasks during this busy week, and no job is too small or too crazy to take on. “I always compare us to a symphony — everybody knows their part — you hit your part and I hit my part and it all provides this harmonic melody,” says Becky.

Augusta Aviation’s owner, Steve Gay, also focuses on cancer awareness, specifically to help families with any travel needs. In September 2023, Augusta Aviation dedicated a plane to Childhood Cancer Awareness. “The support we received during our awareness campaign in September was so inspiring and has led us to dedicate each of our aircraft to raising awareness for some of the most overlooked and deadliest of cancers,” adds Amelia. Their newest dedicated plane represents Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness (NET) which hits close to home as Steve has battled this cancer since 2008. It will debut in November, which is NET Awareness Month.

Several years ago Steve founded the General Aviation Initiative to promote general aviation in our area. They honor this initiative by keeping their low lead fuel prices down, which has helped keep local prices low as well. They also work with other organizations in the community such as other area A & P schools and the Boys & Girls Club to promote flying.  An in-house flight simulator also aids in helping students get their pilot’s license in a more timely manner.

Augusta Aviation also houses a top notch maintenance department with seven mechanics who maintain their own fleet as well as customers’ planes. Besides fueling and line maintenance repair, they are the only local authorized service center to work on the Cirrus CAPS Aircraft parachute, which includes a rigorous training program.

The excitement in the air is literally alive at Augusta Aviation on a daily basis! Since 1947, Augusta Aviation has been taking care of any flight needs in our community. From charter flights to maintenance to promoting cancer awareness, it is a jewel in our community and we are fortunate to call it our own.