Here’s one more reason for Wichita to love QuikTrip.
The Tulsa-based convenience store chain known for its clean stores and bathrooms, made-to-order food and fountain drinks is a long-time supporter of Wichita’s aviation industry.
To manage the operations of the $11 billion privately held company with more than 700 stores in 11 states — 37 in Wichita, Derby and Park City — QuikTrip has its own corporate flight department with eight full-time pilots.
And they fly four Wichita-built Bombardier Learjet 75 business jets.
QuikTrip Flight Operations was the subject of a video produced by Garmin Aviation and posted to its Facebook page this month.
Based at Tulsa International Airport, QuikTrip Flight Operations operates two to three of its Learjets on most weekdays, Ed Ptak, QuikTrip’s director of aviation services, said in an e-mail to The Eagle on Friday.
“We fly regularly to all our markets from out west in Phoenix to the East Coast, Atlanta and Carolinas,” Ptak said in the e-mail. “Most of our flights are multi-leg flights, allowing passengers flexibility with their schedules.”
Ptak added the multi-leg flights “also help us utilize the aircraft in the most efficient way.”
He said the company purchased its first Learjet 75 in 2014. Two years later, it took delivery of three more of the midsize jets that are priced at $13.8 million. Ptak added that the Learjet 75s replaced two Learjet 40s and two Learjet 45s. QT’s flight operations also had previously operated a twin-engine Cessna 414 and Beechcraft Bonanza, which were also built in Wichita.
The proximity between the two cities makes it convenient for QuikTrip to buy from Wichita manufacturers.
“We have had the honor of working with several aircraft manufacturers in Wichita since we first purchased airplanes in the 1970s, so the city’s aviation expertise and knowledge base was a major consideration,” Ptak said.
So, too, was the Learjet 75’s avionics, which were made by Olathe-based Garmin and the reason for the video.
“We were drawn not only to its performance but specifically the G5000 as the advancement in avionics we needed in the cockpit for future mandates,” he said.
Still, Wichita’s “proximity to Tulsa and our relationship with Wichita was a major bonus to the decision” to purchase the Learjet 75s, Ptak said.