“The Future of Business Jets in the Middle East”–a conference set for Jan. 25 and 26, 2011, in Bahrain–will offer updates on strategic, regulatory, legal, financial, insurance and technical issues in the region.
It is just more than two years since Gama Aviation (Booth No. 927) acquired PrivatAir and a foothold in the U.S. aircraft management and charter market. The timing of the deal may not have been entirely auspicious–closing before the full impact of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis was understood–but the UK-based group has no regrets about seizing the opportunity to move into the mother of all business aviation marketplaces.
PrivatAir is targeting a July 1 opening date for its new charter/management business in Bahrain. The company recently went through a restructuring aimed at making it leaner but still profitable, after having been purchased by a group of private investors, including CEO Greg Thomas. PrivatAir’s main business consists of wet leasing all-business-class single-aisle airliners equipped with long-range fuel tanks.
Swiss PrivateAviation, the Swiss International Air Lines subsidiary that expanded its sales activities in March by taking over responsibility for Lufthansa Private Jet, announced here at the show yesterday that it is actively seeking to manage larger private aircraft, including the Airbus A380. It will do this by leveraging the resources of the wider Lufthansa Group in areas such as maintenance and training.
Gama Aviation (Booth No. 141) reached an important milestone in its global expansion plan by gaining an air operator’s certificate from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February. The UK-based group secured the AOC in barely six months, having applied for it in June 2009. It operates from a new base at Sharjah International Airport and has a sales office in Dubai.
Geneva-based PrivatAir has gone through a restructuring aimed at making it a leaner, but still profitable company ready to embark on expansion in the Middle East. Formerly part of the Latsis Corp., the aircraft management and charter company was recently bought by a group of private investors, including long-time CEO Greg Thomas.
PrivatAir, the Geneva-based company specializing in executive charter with large aircraft, announced the launch of a training service for employees of private jet operators. The new service aims to help operators cope with upcoming regulatory changes requiring mandatory and regular flight-crew training in areas such as safety procedures, medical requirements, handling of dangerous goods, security and crew resources management.
Buoyed by the first European deliveries of Cessna’s new Citation XLS+ aircraft, Lufthansa Private Jet is now offering “exclusive and flexible” flight options on its own fleet of Citations–a Citation CJ1, two Citation CJ3s and two new Citation XLS+ medium-cabin jets. The charter network is currently operating an average of about 10 flights each day.
The charter industry has seen a flurry of acquisitions and mergers in the past year, and by all accounts the activity will continue. One of the most surprising, perhaps, was the acquisition of PrivatAir by UK-based Gama Holdings, a company relatively unknown in the U.S. The new business was named Gama Aviation and is based in Stratford, Conn., with additional locations in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Norwich, N.Y.
Founded in 1976 as the air arm of the Latsis shipping group, PrivatAir until recently catered exclusively to the top end of the executive charter market with a fleet consisting of a Gulfstream IV, a Boeing 737-300, three BBJs and a Boeing 757, all based at Geneva International Airport.