Runway to The White House

Gregg Brunson-Pitts discovered business aviation when working in The White House. He then built his own charter company. Words: Alasdair Whyte

Runway to The White House

Gregg Brunson-Pitts discovered business aviation when working in The White House. He then built his own charter company. Words: Alasdair Whyte

MANY AMERICANS think that US presidential campaigns last too long. But Gregg Brunson-Pitts is not one of them. Not only is the founder of Advanced Aviation Team a keen political watcher but campaigns are also a key part of his business. In 2020 his team arranged more than 1,130 flights for the Biden/Harris campaign.

Brunson-Pitts began his career in The White House in 2003, under president George W. Bush. He eventually became director of The White House Travel Office where he developed his love for business aviation.

“As a kid, I grew up loving politics. I was fascinated with American politics and wanted to live in DC,” he says. “I wanted to be involved in campaigns and then just stumbled into aviation.”

After a stint at a major charter broker, he launched Advanced Aviation Team. “The other thing I always wanted to do was launch my own company,” he says. “For me, owning your own business really is the American dream.”

Although political campaigns are a niche part of the business, Brunson-Pitts says the company has a wide range of customers including individuals, family offices, business executives and sports teams. While he is keen to keep growing, he is not looking to become the world’s largest charter company. “I would never want to lose the personal touches that we have,” he says. “Our clients come to us and stay with us because we have this personal boutique feel.”

An early riser, Brunson-Pitts starts the day with emails and CrossFit before getting his two children ready for kindergarten and pre-school. Brunson-Pitts and his husband, who works in government relations for a large telecommunications company (another very DC job), take turns to drop the kids off with the other hitting the office early.

“I love to work with our customers. They all know my name. They can reach out to me directly,” he says. “I love working with operators too and get involved with things like catering. It's important to do all that kind of stuff and not lose touch with things.”

But during the campaign he worked crazy hours. “I was up before 4:30am. I would work until the kids woke up and then see them before heading into the office by 8am,” he says. “I would go home and see the kids for about 30-40 minutes and then work till 11 or 12. Then be back up at 4am. It was just constant.”

Advanced Aviation Team had a staff member aboard every time Biden’s Boeing 737 took off. Brunson-Pitts personally saw many departures off from the ramp.

Overall, it is a lot harder to find aircraft now than in 2020. But Brunson-Pitts is confident that they have the resources to meet all of their clients’ needs. “In 2020, aircraft demand lagged supply, but that’s not the case now. There’s been a massive shift driven a lot by the pandemic,” he says. “In 2021, demand outpaced supply. Thankfully, we have a reliable list of owners and operators that we work with and these relationships were built over time. Our business has not been impacted by the supply problem and that’s a huge value to our clients.”

CJI Connect

Gregg T. Brunson-Pitts

Founder & CEO | Advanced Aviation Team

+1 202 579 8823 | [email protected]

Suzanne Meiners-Levy

Managing attorney and partner +1 239 213 0066

[email protected]

Alasdair Whyte Editor-in-Chief, Corporate Jet Investor