Business jet charter and management specialist Hangar 8 is hoping to seal at least one acquisition over the next six months - with another three potentially in the pipeline.

Chief executive Dustin Dryden said the Oxford airport-based company is working on four deals, "at least three of which look very promising". He hopes at least one will conclude within the next six months, he said.

The company is also expanding its managed fleet. At the time of its trading update on 11 August, the company had 32 aircraft - including the only Embraer Lineage in Europe - on its books. However, this has subsequently increased by two, with the addition of an Embraer Phenom 100 and a Bombardier Challenger 300. Dryden said another four aircraft will join the fleet by the end of the year: a Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 4000, two Hawker 900XPs and another Challenger 300.

There are another two Embraer Lineages due to be added to the European register this year, said Dryden, and he feels that Hangar 8 is in "a pretty unique position to be able to take those on".

Hangar 8 is also growing its presence in Africa, which it sees as a "huge demand area".

"It's the perfect model down there for business jet operation. The roads are poor and companies need to move high-value items quickly. Airlines can't operate into the areas that we can," said Dryden.

The company has a base in Lagos, Nigeria, with another office located in South Africa. It plans to add maintenance capability to the Nigerian operation to support the charter operation.

Business in Africa has mostly been driven by work from the oil and mining sectors, which see an advantage in "dealing with a European-registered aircraft and a European crew", which can be booked via an office in London "partly as a duty of care to its employees".

Although many companies are scrambling to enter the Chinese market, Dryden sees the bureaucratic hurdles the company would be required to negotiate as a barrier to setting up operations there. "I don't see it as a country we could easily trade in at the moment," he said.

Source: Flight International