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Haitian Success Story: From Airplane Cleaner to Airline Owner/CEO

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Harold Charles is a Haitian man who migrated to Turks and Caicos Islands at the age of 13; he went from

airplane cleaner to pilot, and from pilot to eventually owning the airline for which he once worked. He went on to found the airline Sky King, which became the leading carrier in TCI. After more than three decades of living and working in the Turks & Caicos, Harold was honored in the best way possible for a man who has spent most of his life working in the aviation and tourism industry: An airport was named after him. Yes, there’s a "Harold Charles International Airport" in the Turks and Caicos.
Harold is a great example of a person who, with seemingly nothing, finds his way to become a successful entrepreneur and willing philanthropist. By dreaming big and working exceptionally hard he was able to overcome many challenges, climb the ladder of success and carried others along with him.

Born in Poverty- Stricken Haiti in a family of 13, Harold was always excited about airplanes. When he first expressed his dream of becoming a pilot at the age of 9 everybody laughed at him – for a poor Haitian boy, his dream was simply unrealistic. Less than a decade later, Harold left Haiti for the Turks & Caicos Islands nearby and with nothing, found work as an airplane cleaner. With determination and hard work, he not only fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a commercial pilot, he ended up buying and owning the airline, he worked for – Provo flying service in 1983, which he renamed Charles Air. In 1992 Harold sold Charles Air and two years later he founded Skyking.

As the dynamic CEO of SkyKing Group of Companies, Harold Charles led the company to become the Leading carrier in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the most efficient commuter airline in the Caribbean. He was also responsible for the establishing Caribbean fuel Services which provided aviation fuel for commercial airlines in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Which also provided full line maintenance for the major carriers for both piston and turbo Prop crafts.

 

Harold Charles and former U.S. President Bill Clinton

More companies followed including Professional Flight Services that provided commercial jet ground handling services for major airlines like delta, British Airways, Air Canada, WestJet, Continental, US Airways and others. He founded SkyBase FBO, which handled corporate and private executive jets. Recognizing the importance of real estate in his commercial enterprises, Harold- the master of the art of business diversification and a superb negotiator- didn’t stop with just aviation. He became part owner and VP of the Turks and Caicos Sporting Club on Ambergris Cay- a private island in the Turks & Caicos Islands, as well as Senior Vice President of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and housing Development Project in West Caicos.

Countless awards, honors and recognition have followed but since having an airport named after him- the Harold Charles International Airport, and realizing all of his boyhood aspirations, Harold has decided to answer a higher calling of helping others. From his long-time home in the Turks and Caicos Islands, he manages his philanthropy with a mission to restore dignity and prosperity to Haiti. Always open, honest and candid, to his easy to approach style belies his determination. His sense of duty, guided by his strong faith clearly bodes well for his mission to help others improve their lives.

Mr. Charles is a seasoned entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor and successful international businessman born in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Despite his demonstrated business success in multiple disciplines he has never lost sight of his commitment to Haiti. He is recognized internationally for his deep subject-matter–expertise in the following:

 Harold Charles and Donald Trump Jr.

Mr. Charles balances his busy professional life and constant international travel with a similar commitment to his faith and family, having been married for over thirty years to his beloved wife Veronica they reside in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The TCI is where Mr. Charles started his very first business over three decades ago, operating a charter and cargo airline between TCI and his home town Cap Haitien, Eastern and Western Caribbean.

From those humble beginnings, relying on faith, Family and friendship, Mr. Charles successes have been many. He was recognized in the Caribbean Region by having the Harold Charles International Airport in the TCI named in his honor.

In addition to having an international airport named after him, Mr. Charles has numerous other honors and achievements including

 Mr. Charles has been featured in countless newspapers, magazines and business publications, including an expose’ in the June 2009 American Way Magazine, the in-flight publication of American Airlines. By invitation, Mr. Charles frequently shares his life story as a motivational speaker, fuels by his appreciation for the man mentors who looked beyond his limited means and provided opportunities for him to channel his childhood dream to be a pilot and successful entrepreneur. He never fails to address the needs of his native country which he faithfully serves.

Mr. Charles is a Philanthropist who assists a number of families in Haiti, students in school in the Turks and Caicos Islands, donating to World vision, the Hunger Project and Religious entities guiding small business persons in the Caribbean and United States of America. He considers himself preparing them for success. He has also introduced numerous other philanthropists, ambassadors and investors to Haiti including media-moguls, investment bankers, ambassadors, ex-presidents and dignitaries.

U.S Congressman Charlie Rangle and Harold Charles

A business development expert with a rich and enviable track record, Mr. Charles currently provides international consulting services and investment analysis through Harold Charles & Co. Based in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He also serves in numerous Boards of director capacities, particularly in real estate developments. Over the years, he successfully founded, operated and sold two scheduled airline companies, Charles Air Services and SkyKing Airlines, started, developed and sold SkyBase FBO, as well as a money transfer company and a car rental agency among others.

Mr. Charles has always pursued recognized quality – driven, branded projects and has served in strategic operational and advisory roles with the Ritz- Carlton Hotels. Based on his significant experience in founding two airlines and a fuel company over the past decade, Mr. Charles has also developed keen interest in Fresh Water Sources and Energy Sector.

Mr. Charles considers his many accomplishments only as a precursor to his ultimate desire to help his native Haiti return to its better days that he is convinced is rightfully due. Ever the optimist and always driven by his faith in God and fellow man, he stands ready to help. He was appointed by Haiti’s President Martelly to the Presidential Advisory Council on Economic Development, Co-chaired by former US President William Jefferson Clinton.

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