Merger creates largest US management & charter operation

2017 took off with the announcement that aircraft charter specialist Gama Aviation and aviation services provider BBA Aviation, both UK-listed firms, are to merge their US aircraft management and charter businesses to create the largest aircraft management business in the US.

The merger provides national coverage, with BBA’s predominantly West Coast-based fleet complementing Gama’s currently East Coast-based management and charter operation, and will boast a fleet of over 200 aircraft. BBA entered the aircraft management and charter services sector when it purchased Landmark Aviation for $2.1bn in September 2015.

Aircraft management is just one part of operations at both BBA and Gama and the joint venture will be set up as a separate legal entity, known as Gama Aviation Signature Aircraft Management. The two listed firms will each own 24.5% of shares each. The remaining 51% will be “owned by a small number of individual US shareholders including the key operational management” to comply with US foreign ownership rules.

Gama CEO Marwan Khalek said: “The enlarged business creates a market leader and an unrivalled platform for growing our share of this massive business aviation market. The combination diversifies our customer base and extends our network coverage nationally whilst simplifying the financial arrangements with our U.S. partners. As part of this strategically important transaction, we are also excited by the potential to cross sell our U.S. maintenance services into the enlarged fleet.”

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