Nicholas Air offers personal touches and great customer service in private air travel.
Written by Leslie Criss | Photos provided by Nicholas Air
Undoubtedly the crown jewel of Oxford’s South Lamar Court, Nicholas Air has landed its home base of operations in a sleek space defined by glass, chrome and various aviation-themed accents creatively worked into the design.
The company that offers private air travel to its members moved its headquarters from Columbus, Mississippi, to Oxford in 2019, settling in its current 15,000-square-foot spot after 18 months of hard work to make the space what it is today. The planning, architecture and interior work was completed by Eley|Barkley|Dale.
Many of the company’s current employees were with them before their move to Oxford, but have seen the benefits of being here in such a short time.
“I grew up in Columbus and certainly have a soft spot in my heart for that town, but the move to Oxford and the opportunity it has brought to all of us has been incredible,” said Ryan Dye, a five- year veteran of Nicholas Air. “The space we work from, the people we engage with daily, and the recognition of what Nicholas Air has brought to the community has created a buzz around town and a sense of pride for the people who work here.”
Along with the size of the business, the size of the Nicholas Air headquarters has grown accordingly. “Our space here is four times as big as the space we had in Columbus,” said Peder von Harten, Nicholas Air’s vice president of sales and marketing. “There’s 45,000 feet of cable running through the building to help us stay connected and communicating.”
The reasons for moving the base of operations to Oxford include the quality of life, diverse restaurants, a strong school system and, geographically, Oxford’s place in the Mid-South was appealing.
“This was a town that offered a lot to our people and allowed us to maintain a great quality of life for our team and their families, but also provided a great recruiting base for those wanting to join our company,” von Harten said.
A well-lit walkway leading to Nicholas Air offices and meeting rooms is lined by large photographs of Nicholas Air in action: close-ups of its jets in flight, shots of some of its high-profile members, like Eli Manning and actress Nicole Kidman. If the aim is to impress first-time visitors, Nicholas Air hits the mark.
Nicholas Air is the brainchild of N.J. Correnti, who was so intrigued with airplanes and the concept of flight that at the age of 5, he loved watching planes land and take off at a close-to-home airport in Arkansas. Just before he became a teenager, his parents suggested he find a hobby. Correnti, of course, chose flying. Flying lessons only fueled his passion for flight, and when he turned 16, he’d amassed more than 1,000 hours in the air.
“After my first flying lesson at the age of 12, I knew my calling,” he said. “Taking every opportunity I could to fly and working at the airport fueling and servicing aircraft, I saw that there was a better way to do this business — put the customer first and fly the best aircraft you can. The service culture here at Nicholas Air is what has set us apart for nearly 25 years now.
“Customer service will always be the calling card of our company,” Correnti added. “And here in the South, we are blessed that great hospitality and a servant’s heart come naturally to our team. We hear all the time from our members that our pilots are incredibly friendly and our service teams are exceptionally helpful. We never want to lose those elements from our business, so it’s great that our members take notice.”
To build on the customer service elements necessary to provide that world-class hospitality level, those newly employed by Nicholas Air go through a week of what von Harten calls charm school.
“Folks new to our company are taught from the beginning that our members expect a certain level of service that goes from how they speak, to how well they dressed for the day, and the professional nature of how we handle our business,” he said. “They learn about appearances and customer service, and how those pillars are critical to our business. Time and time again we hear how our pilots create a great visual representation of the quality of the brand.”
Today, Nicholas Air has a fleet of 23, even adding jets during the pandemic and having taken delivery of 4 new aircraft already this year with more on the way. The company operates a fleet of aircraft that vary in size, allowing the customer to choose on a flight-by-flight basis what aircraft matches the mission at hand.
“We moved into our new space when the world went haywire,” von Harten said. “And we were here every day, no Zoom meetings. Our employees were in here working throughout the quarantine. The reality is that no matter what is going on in the world, our members are consistently moving about, and we are always here to assist.”
A primary goal of Nicholas Air is to provide its members with the best customer service with personal touches aplenty and aircraft maintenance and safety. With glowing testimonials and reviews from the Manning family, 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker, broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw and many others, it’s clear Nicholas Air continues to meet its goals. It also serves as the official private air company for Ole Miss Athletics.
Nicholas Air offers various private air travel programs to members, including three jet card programs, a jet lease program and jet share and fractional jet ownership. For more information about Nicholas Air membership options, visit nicholasair.com.