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New World Aviation provides aircraft management, charter, and maintenance services at ABE.

Rafael Henríquez
Managing Editor

President & CEO Darrell Frey on the company’s ramp at ABE (Lehigh Valley Intl, Allentown PA).

Based in Allentown PA, New World Aviation has come a long way in its history. Originally founded by a group of aviation enthusiasts who initially focused on private jet ownership and charter services, the company was acquired by its current President & CEO Darrell Frey, who teamed up with other managing partners to bring a wealth of experience and a vision for the future of the company.

New leadership with strong aviation background

Frey started his career in aviation as a Gulfstream aircraft mechanic when he enrolled in the US Navy. Later he would join Gulfstream SAV (Savannah GA), where he worked his way up the ranks from an entry-level technician to crew chief, and eventually to shift manager.

In 2001, he took on the role of general manager at the OEM’s West Palm Beach facility, where he helped expand the Gulfstream service network. In 2002, he returned to SAV to hold various leadership positions. He was instrumental in establishing Gulfstream service centers around the world, as well as starting important customer support programs such as the FAST teams.

In 2019, after a successful tenure at Gulfstream, Frey joined Journey Aviation, where he spent time as a flight engineer on a Gulfstream G550 supporting the State Department missions. This role allowed him to rekindle the hands-on experience that would later benefit New World Aviation.

From left to right are Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez, President & CEO Darrell Frey, and Director of Maintenance Matt Stothoff.

When Frey heard about New World Aviation possibly being for sale, he knew he had to act fast. “I came here as a customer in 2020, and I saw a huge opportunity,” he relates. “So I got some people together to buy the company.”

Under his leadership, New World Aviation has grown from a combined Part 135  & Part 145 business into 2 diversified organizations that offer an MRO that now employees 40 maintenance technicians on 3 shifts, and a dedicated aircraft management and charter team with 10 pilots who fly 5 aircraft – a Bombardier Global 6000, a Challenger 604, a Gulfstream 450, and 2 Learjet 60s.

“And we have definitely grown,” Frey adds. “We’ve taken New World Aviation from a family business of watching over a couple airplanes, to focusing heavily on our charter side of business.”

Flight operations

Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez wears multiple hats within New World Aviation. In addition to being the pivot between the company and federal aviation authorities, he oversees charter operations, ensures fleet compliance, and manages pilot schedules.

When creating pilot schedules, Rodriguez must ensure adherence to stringent regulations. “We’re very cautious when scheduling pilots, because most of our airplanes are managed,” he explains. “So we have them on a 5 days off, 10 days on schedule for 3- crew rotation.”

Director of Ops Jose Rodriguez discusses safety procedures with his pilots.

JetInsight is Rodriguez’s go-to software, which has proved instrumental in maintaining seamless schedules, minimizing overlaps, and managing pilot training timelines effectively. For recurrent training, New World Aviation pilots attend either FlightSafety International or CAE, depending on aircraft type.

As a pilot himself, Rodriguez holds an ATP license and has logged 12,000 flight hours during his career, flying Learjet 45/35, and Gulfstream G550/G450 bizjets.

However, despite his passion for flying, his current role demands more administrative attention than actual cockpit hours. Nonetheless, he keeps current with certifications and foresees a shift back into the skies by 2024.

Typical aircraft mission

New World Aviation mission profiles extend beyond domestic flights, occasionally venturing overseas for owner-based trips. Although international ops mark less than 10% of the total flight roster, the company has flown its larger bizjets to European destinations like Ireland, Greece, Italy, and England.

Learjet 60 Captain Jesse Knecht.

“Within the US, common destinations are California, Texas, and Florida,” says Rodriguez. “There’s also been a couple of flights to Bermuda and the islands, so there’s a little bit a little bit of everything in our mission profile. The whole fleet logs roughly 2000-2500 hours annually.”

The company’s operational prowess extends to meticulous management, including closely-knit relationships with FBOs like Signature and Atlantic Aviation to ensure smooth operations with consistent experiences for the passengers.

The usage of JetInsight for price evaluation among various fuel suppliers has streamlined their operations. “We benefit from very good rates from both Signature and Atlantic Aviation,” says Rodriguez. “And we also work with different contract fuel companies, like World Fuel and Avfuel.”

Discussing the future, Rodriguez projects a potential operations into Asia. However, the shifting geopolitical climate presents a challenge for flight planning and routes.

Learjet 60 Chief Pilot Paul Foelster. Since new ownership took over New World Aviation, the company hasn’t lost a single pilot to the airlines.

Maintenance shop

An exceptional advantage enjoyed by New World Aviation is its in-house 85,000-sq-ft Part 145 Repair Station that caters to diverse aircraft types. The company’s capability to self-conform and provide immediate post-flight checks adds value and peace of mind to owners of the managed aircraft.

And in terms of warranties and maintenance, the New World Aviation fleet falls predominantly under corporate care programs, ensuring smooth support while many of the aircraft are past their warranty stages.

“There’s always a post-flight inspection with mechanics on board checking everything,” says Rodriguez. “If there’s any write ups, they get cleared right away, as long as it’s not something huge. It works really, really nice. It’s it’s huge advantage for us. And owners love it.”

Director of Maintenance Matt Stothoff’s initiation into aviation commenced with a friend’s request for a helping hand during night shifts. “A friend of mine who was the director of maintenance for New World aviation needed some help during his night shift, so I would come down and help him every once in a while,” he relates. “That was back in 2002. I actually really grew to love what I was doing and enjoyed the people, so I’ve been here ever since.”

Bombardier Global 6000 Captain Scott Ackerman.

Stothoff’s transition was marked by milestones, scaling from a night shift technician to eventually ascending to the helm as the Director of Maintenance.

“I worked in the field for the required amount of time,” he says. “Then I went to Baker School of Aeronautics to get my A&P. Three years to the day after getting my A&P,  I went for my IA. That’s how it happened for me.”

New World Aviation also has an avionics shop that handles any related jobs, including WiFi installations. The company’s planes are equipped with inflight connectivity.

“For domestic flights, we use Gogo,” Stothoff explains. “Our next step is going to upgrade to 5G. And for international flights, our Global 6000 and G450 have broadband multilink systems.”

All New World Aviation techs go to FlightSafety for model-specific training courses, and they do Part 145 recurrent training in house using Blue Tuna. To track aircraft maintenance events,  the company uses CAMP and myCMP, which ensure meticulous scheduling, monitoring, and customer interactions.

(L-R) Flight Ops Mgr Nicholas Hallahan, Dispatcher Chase Turner, Flight Coordinator Eva Burke, and Dispatcher Andrew Masters are responsible for scheduling trips, checking the weather, and communicating with crew and passengers.

Adding more talent

While Stothoff oversees a team of 40 maintenance techs, his aspirations go far beyond his department’s current stance, as he wants to add at least 20 more mechanics to the team within the next 5 years – although the path to expansion is lined with challenges, primarily due to space constraints.

However, the New World Aviation’s expansion plans involve opening additional locations in South Florida and Teterboro.

In order to achieve this, Frey emphasizes that finding the right people is crucial. He believes that offering competitive benefits such as a 401(k) matching program and a healthy work environment is key to finding and retaining employees.

In addition to comprehensive medical coverage, substantial PTO programs, and a vibrant culture, employee benefits must transcend the conventional, stitching a familial bond within the workplace.

Furthermore, to encourage future talent in aviation, Frey actively engages with local A&P schools, sharing his passion for aviation, and providing students with opportunities.

New World Aviation pilots

With an 85,000-sq-ft hangar and a 69,000-sq-ft maintenance floor, the fully-staffed Part 145 Repair Station has enough room and personnel to store and take care of several business jets at the same time.

Brian Swarat is the lead captain for the Gulfstream G450 managed by the company. He’s always been interested in travel and had a natural love for meteorology, so aviation became an apparent path since he was young. He first joined New World Aviation back in 2004.

“It was a different company back then,” he says. “I went on to work for other companies over the years, and came back because the owners of the G450 that I currently fly called me and asked me if I  would join them. I knew them from my first time at New World, so it was an easy decision to come back.”

While Swarat usually flies 12 to 14 days a month, he appreciates his schedule and the time he can spend with his family. “One thing I like, especially with these owners working with New World Aviation, is that they normally work with if for some reason I needed to be home,” he adds. “And I always do the same in return.”

Captain Jesse Knecht flies the company’s managed Learjet 60. “We do all the flight planning and general trip stuff using FltPlan.com,” he says. “We also book hotels, rental cars, and do weight and balance and runway performance calculations.”

Knecht enjoys his work-to-life balance flying with New World Aviation. “One thing that all 3 Learjet 60 pilots like is they that they don’t mind what we do with our schedules, as long as the airplanes covered,” he explains.

Maintenance Technician Jason Schlieman monitors the company’s maintenance tracking systems.

“We just do a 10-days-on, 5-days-off schedule amongst ourselves, which they have respected. And if there’s an overlapping charter or a conflicting situation, we just pick who is covering the trip.”

Knecht alternates training between FlightSafety Atlanta GA or Tucson AZ, and CAE Dallas TX. “I’ve been to those facilities, and they’re all great,” he says.

Chief Pilot Paul Foelster flies New World Aviation’s Learjet 60, which operates under the company’s Part 135 certificate. Mostly of his missions include domestic destinations, but he has made a few trips to Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Much like his colleagues, he likes the way scheduling works at the company. He says, “I think we know pretty much what we’re doing for the next 2 weeks right now. And we have our days off scheduled through the end of the year. Still, we’d be excited to pick up a new pilot so we can have a better schedule.”

Foelster typically logs between 40 and 50 flight hours per month, and just passed the 7000-hr TT mark. For training, he also attends FlightSafety or CAE.

New World Aviation provides in-house parts support. Pictured is Sr Mgr Supply Chain Hilary Kuhar sorting documents and parts.

Challenger 604 Captain Mike Williams holds ATP and CFI licenses. He heard that New World Aviation was looking for a Challenger 604 pilot. “I sent over my résumé and letters of recommendation, came out and met with everybody, and was offered the job,” he remembers.

He has been with the company since 2020, and absolutely loves the work environment and the time he can spend with his family when he’s not flying.

For the future

One of Frey’s key goals is to maintain a balance between charter and maintenance services. By working closely with OEMs, ensuring safety and quality, and retaining skilled technicians and pilots, he aims to uphold New World Aviation’s reputation as a top-tier provider in the industry.

A recent major investment in a Boeing Mobile Automated Ultrasonic System (MAUS) scanner paves a path for future non-destructive testing (NDT) solutions.

This machine bolts to the outside of the aircraft and maps every layer all the way through without taking the aircraft apart, saving down time and money to the customers.

And in terms of fleet expansion, he intends to focus on Gulfstream aircraft, particularly the large cabin models, to ensure a predictable comfort and functionality to keep providing customers with the best possible service and ownership experience.

The maintenance team consists of 40 techs across 3 shifts with on-site NDT and dedicated aircraft detailing team.

Overall, New World Aviation remains dedicated to maintaining exemplary standards in flight management, aircraft maintenance, and fostering strong relationships within the aviation community.

New World Aviation’s future looks bright with Frey’s strategic approach to growth, support for local aviation talent, commitment to maintaining a strong workforce, dedication to delivering top-notch service, and utilization of cutting-edge technology.