Sale of Ultimate Air Shuttle to OneJet is off; expansion at Burke Lakefront on hold
NORTH CANTON, Ohio – The parent company of Ultimate Air Shuttle, which operates the popular Cleveland-to-Cincinnati flights from Burke Lakefront Airport, won’t be purchased after all.
The cancellation of the sale of North Canton-based Ultimate Jetcharters to OneJet also negates, at least temporarily, a planned expansion by the two carriers, both of which serve business travelers in medium-sized cities in the Midwest and East.
Rick Pawlak, managing director of Ultimate Air, said he could not discuss the reasons why the sale was called off. But he said Ultimate would continue to look at expansion possibilities in Cleveland and elsewhere.
“We are not going to slow down,” said Pawlak. “We are ready to grow.”
OneJet, founded in 2015 and headquartered in Massachusetts, has been going through a rough patch of late – recently under fire from Pittsburgh International Airport for cutting routes that the carrier was paid to provide.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates the Pittsburgh airport, this month sued OneJet to recoup $763,000 it paid the carrier to provide service to 10 markets for five years. The carrier also received $2 million in loans from Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania.
OneJet is currently flying only three routes – two from Pittsburgh, to Hartford and Indianapolis; and one between Buffalo and Albany.
As recently as June, OneJet flew from Pittsburgh to Albany, Kansas City, Louisville, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach.
A spokesman for OneJet could not be reached.
At the time the sale of Ultimate was announced in May, Pawlak and OneJet CEO Matt Maguire extolled the benefits of combining forces. OneJet was expected to provide needed capital to help accelerate the new company’s expansion plans; Ultimate, meanwhile, was generally perceived to have a stronger history in aviation services.
OneJet currently is using two Ultimate airplanes on a temporary basis, said Pawlak.
Ultimate Jetcharters owns 10 airplanes, all with 30 seats each. While Ultimate Jetcharters offers traditional charter service, Ultimate Air operates like a commercial airline, with regularly scheduled routes. It’s the only commercial service operating out of Burke Lakefront.
Ultimate has provided twice-a-day service from Cleveland to Cincinnati since 2015; a route to Morristown, New Jersey, outside New York City, was canceled in early 2017.
Pawlak said the carrier is looking for ways to fund its expansion in the future.
In the meantime, the carrier continues to have conversations with Cleveland travelers about what routes they’d like to see in the future. Among the top contenders: Indianapolis. “There are no direct flights there,” said Pawlak. “And it’s a very long drive.”
Related: Sale of Ultimate Air Shuttle to OneJet could bring new flights to Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport