Metro Aviation

Metro Aviation

What It Is: A Louisiana-based helicopter operations, completions, and training company. Metro Aviation completes about 35 helicopters each year for U.S. and global clients, including VIP and corporate interiors for Airbus Helicopters models. 

How It Grew: Pilot Mike Stanberry started Metro Aviation in 1982 at the Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Metro Airport with one flying Hughes 500 helicopter and one in pieces.  Shortly thereafter, Milton Geltz, an aircraft technician with a degree in aviation management, joined the organization. 

Together, Stanberry and Geltz (who now serves as managing director) offered helicopter services, including charter, flight training, and maintenance. They moved the company to Shreveport in 1983 and to its 160,000-square-foot present location, a former Solo Cup factory, in 2009. In between, the company began providing operations services for helicopter medical airlift customers in the southern U.S., starting with a long-term agreement with Schumpert Medical Center in Shreveport. 

Concentrating on safety helped the company grow. Metro’s website says it was the first air medical provider to equip its entire fleet with night-vision goggles and to require all pilots to maintain currency to fly in instrument conditions. The company claims to now be the largest privately held traditional air medical operation in the U.S. and the largest air medical completion center in the world. Metro branched out to offer VIP and corporate helicopter completions about five years ago.

What It Offers:

Operations. Metro Aviation operates more than 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, providing pilots and maintenance technicians for medical airlift programs in 22 states and the District of Columbia. 

Completions. Metro holds more than 30 supplemental type certificates for upgrading avionics, providing single/dual pilot IFR capability, adding air conditioning, and/or completing air medical and VIP interior configurations on nine Airbus Helicopters models. Completions services include custom paint, upholstery, matching to existing customer jet interiors, high-quality finishes, custom cabinet work, and avionics installation. 

Training. Under the name Helicopter Flight Training Company, Metro offers training and dry leasing of EC135 and EC145 full-motion simulators plus maintenance and communication technician training. 

Recent News: Metro served as the launch customer for the Airbus EC145e with a 25-ship order in 2018. The company received the first EC145e produced in the U.S. in September 2019 and had completed eight of them for customers by the end of November.  

Fast Facts:

Founded: 1982

HQ: Shreveport, Louisiana

Employees: Approximately 800

Revenues: Undisclosed

President and CEO: Mike Stanberry