L. Russell Payson

Chairman of the Board

Russell Payson is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Sky Regional Airlines Inc., which started flight operations under the Air Canada Express banner, on May 1st, 2011.

The company began with five Bombardier Q400 aircraft flying to and from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport and under Russ’s leadership added 15 Embraer 175 aircraft in 2013. They serve the U.S. northeast markets, flying in excess of 100 flights per day into cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Chicago. In 2016, Sky Regional added an additional five E175 aircraft to its fleet servicing Jacksonville, Houston, Denver and Atlanta.

Russ is also the founder of Skyservice, one of Canada’s foremost providers of fixed-based operations. In a short time, the Skyservice fixed base operations earned No. 1 approval ratings in Canada as well as being voted as high as No. 4 in North America and Mexico out of some 4,000 fixed base operators. While under his guidance, the company grew to include business aircraft, air ambulance and commercial airline services, employing over 2,000 people. The Skyservice Airlines operation was repeatedly voted the number one Charter Airline in Canada. In October 2007, the airline operation was sold to private equity investors, and in 2012, the business aircraft and air ambulance divisions were also sold to private companies.

Russ is highly respected in the aviation industry and is a member of numerous aviation related associations. He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot License and is qualified on the Bombardier Q-400 and the Boeing-757.