Jet Aviation hopes to complete its $250 million acquisition of fellow business aviation services provider Hawker Pacific in May, and says it is eyeing further expansion through strategic acquisitions and organic growth, as part of a strategy to provide global coverage for its customers.
The Swiss company, headquartered in Basel, says ownership of Hawker Pacific will expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions – notably in China, Dubai and Singapore, where both companies have thriving ventures. It will also open up new territories for the General Dynamics-owned subsidiary, including Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand – where Hawker Pacific has established maintenance operations – and, in particular, Australia.
Hawker Pacific began operations in Australia 40 years ago, and is now the leading business aviation services provider in the vast territory, with nine facilities. These include fixed base operations (FBO) in Brisbane, Cairns, Perth and Sydney – home to its headquarters.
Jet Aviation president Rob Smith says Australia was "a white spot on our map until now".
He describes the country's business aviation industry as "buoyant", and an increasingly popular destination for its customers.
Like Jet Aviation, Hawker Pacific offers a broad portfolio of services, covering charter, MRO, aircraft and passenger handling and government aircraft fleet management, for which it has secured a number of contracts. These include supporting eight Beechcraft King Air 350s on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force's 32 Sqn school of air warfare.
Smith is confident these state-allocated contracts will continue under Jet Aviation's ownership. "We are certainly not new to this business," he says. "We have supported a number of aircraft for the US government in the past, and Jet Aviation France supports the French air force's [Dassault] Falcon fleet [in Vélizy-Villacoublay]."
The Hawker Pacific acquisition does, however, mark Jet Aviation's first foray into the new and pre-owned aircraft sales market, with the former an authorised agent and distributor for Beechcraft, Bell, Cessna and Diamond Aircraft. "This presents a new and exciting opportunity for us to broaden our offering," says Smith.
Jet Aviation is also eyeing expansion into other new territories "to better serve its global clientele", Smith adds. He says there are several important locations around the world "where we do not have a presence".
Chief among these is London. "We had an FBO at Biggin Hill airport for a while, but that wasn't the right location for us, so we pulled out [in 2013]," he notes.
The company is evaluating other airports in and around the UK capital to establish a branded FBO, but will not disclose further details.
Jet Aviation currently operates one of the world's largest FBO chains, with a network of 23 facilities. The Hawker purchase with boost this to 28.