Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has acquired UK charter company FlairJet as part of its strategy to grow its charter fleet five-fold within two years and expand its Jetability business aviation services offering globally.
The three-year-old, Embraer Phenom operator "is a perfect match for us", says Steve Jones, Marshall's managing director of aviation services.
"They have experience in aircraft management, which we do not have. They also have a great relationship with Embraer," he adds.
FlairJet is the European launch operator for the Phenom 100 and 300 and has delivered 22 business jets to the Brazilian airframer's customers worldwide.
The Oxford-based operator also complements Marshall's dedicated charter company, Marshall Executive Aviation (MEA), which operates a Cessna Citation XLS, Bravo and Bombardier Challenger 300 from its Cambridge airport base.
Jones says discussions are under way to determine the future of each brand. "We are asking whether MEA and FlairJet should retain their separate identities, or be merged as one brand - existing or new," he says.
"We are clear about expanding our charter fleet from four to 20 aircraft by the end of next year and adding large-cabin, long-range types that will give us both a critical mass and a global reach." This will be achieved, he says, by securing new management contracts and potentially acquiring other small charter companies.
Talks are under way with potential partners in the USA to export the Jetability brand.
Jones says: "We are also looking at opportunities in India and the Middle East - which will provide a stepping stone to the Asia-Pacific region."