Luxaviation’s ambition to become the largest business aircraft operator in the world after NetJets has been realised, thanks to its successful acquisition on 30 April of ExecuJet Aviation Group.

The purchase of the Zurich, Switzerland-headquartered business aviation services provider boosts Luxaviation’s fleet from around 100 to over 250 aircraft and expands its global footprint to include Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia, Latin America and the Middle East.

ExecuJet is Luxaviation’s largest purchase, in terms of both size and value, since it started down the acquisition trail in 2011. Germany's FairJets was snapped up first and since 2013 the Benelux company has added four more European companies to its portfolio through debt-funded acquisitions: the UK's London Executive Aviation, France's Unijet, Belgium's Abelag and Portugal’s Masterjet.

“ExecuJet has provided Luxaviation with an optimal engine room to consolidate the fragmented charter marketplace in Europe,” says ExecuJet outgoing chief executive and chairman Niall Olver, who has led the 24-year-old company since 1993. He is referring to Europe’s 1,000+ charter operators, the vast majority of which have one-tail fleets. “It has the money, the vision and now the platform to really shake up this market place,” adds Olver, who is remaining with the company in an advisory capacity. Gerrit Basson, ExecuJet’s former president and chief operating officer, will take over the reigns as chief executive.

In common with other Luxaviation Group companies, ExecuJet will retain its identity, management team and operational independence but will benefit from the “valuable synergies within the group”, it says. “These benefits include economies of scale in the purchasing of fuel, insurance, training and other significant cost areas; increased aircraft availability and utilisation within the group, with a broader range of aircraft types; and collaboration with other group companies to enhance best practice in all operational areas."

Hansen (L)Olver (R)

Luxaviation's co-chief executive, Patrick Hansen (left), with ExecuJet's outgoing chief executive, Niall Olver

“The acquisition of ExecuJet is the next step in our growth strategy and significantly increases Luxaviation’s global reach,” says Patrick Hansen, co-chief executive of Luxaviation and newly appointed chairman of ExecuJet.

“It’s operations give us a strong presence in some of the world’s fastest-growing business aviation markets, including Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, as well as a significantly larger managed fleet,” he adds.

The Luxaviation fleet now spans the business aircraft spectrum, including types such as the Pilatus PC-12NG single-engined turboprop, the entry-level Cessna Citation Mustang, super-midsize Bombardier Challenger 300, the ultra-long-range Gulfstream 650 and the Boeing Business Jet VIP airliner. The ExecuJet acquision also brings with it a fleet of single and twin-engined helicopters.

Source: Flight International