Reach for the Sky: Janine Iannarelli, founder and president of Par Avion

Even in her freshman year, Janine Iannarelli ′83, founder and president of Par Avion Ltd., knew the world of business was calling her. Taking advantage of the opportunities presented to students through the Montclair State's Career Resource Center, Iannarelli, a student of the School of Business Administration, took a position at a market research firm specializing in business aviation. And the rest is history. After years of selling and acquiring business aircraft for Aerosmith/Penny Inc., in 1997, Iannarelli decided to start her own company, Par Avion Ltd., an aircraft brokerage/marketing firm specializing in the sale of pre-owned business aircraft. Her company focuses mostly on Challenger 300s, Citation, Falcon (she is known as the “Falcon Lady” in the industry for her knowledge of the plane), Hawker, Learjet, and Phenom products.

Houston-based Iannarelli probably knows airplanes just as well as the pilots. She has extensive experience in multi-million dollar, cross-border transactions, and her knowledge soars beyond the procurement process to in-depth interactions with manufacturers, maintenance facilities, and completion centers (or the customization of aircraft interiors). “I found a job in an interesting profession and realized I was good at it,” she said.

Buying and selling airplanes across the globe is certainly an “unusual” profession – not to mention exciting. Through hard work, relationship-building, and experience, Iannarelli has found success in an industry with very few women leaders. The scope of her experience with aircraft sales transactions reaches far and wide. Iannarelli also has worked directly with designated representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and with multi-national civil aviation authorities, where she has placed or procured aircraft.

One of many notable adventures in Iannarelli’s career was her involvement in the ferrying of the Falcon 10 and 100 aircraft from the tip of South Africa to Texas in 1997. The range of these airplanes dictated numerous stops en route, particularly on the African continent, making it necessary to make stops within range of then war-torn countries. Iannarelli’s knowledge of French came in very handy while negotiating access to landing facilities with French-speaking local ground support.  The experience included traversing the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic Ocean, the Canary Islands, and on to Europe.  The North Atlantic leg posed one of the greatest challenges, given that flight planning is especially critical with a short-legged airplane.  

Iannarelli credits her professors at Montclair State with giving her the diverse educational foundation to succeed in business. In particular, she benefited from having adjunct professors who “transferred invaluable real-world business examples to the classroom,” which is instrumental when students go out into the business world and put the “theory” they learn in the classroom into real-world business “practice.”  When it comes to the practice of selling and client interface, Iannarelli advises recent alumni entering the business world to “exceed expectations.” She says, “Don’t just fulfill what is only on their wish listthink outside the box. Make an effort to answer questions before they are asked.” 

When she is not on the tarmac, Iannarelli enjoys riding horses.  A member of the Equestrian Team while at Montclair State, she has never really stopped riding or competing, and travels the country attending horse shows with her horse, Meacham Fieldnamed after Meacham International Airport in Fort Worth, Texas.