Two UK-headquartered business aircraft services providers, Gama Aviation and BBA Aviation, have merged their US charter and management operations to form the largest aircraft management business in the country, with a combined 200-strong fleet.
The partnership – which will trade as Gama Aviation Signature Aircraft Management – will create what Gama calls “a market-leading platform” for both companies to expand their presence in the “single biggest aviation market in the world”.
The venture agreement, which closed on 1 January, also gives both parties full coverage of the US market, with BBA’s predominantly West Coast-based fleet complementing Gama’s East Coast-centric business.
“Customers will benefit from the scale of the combined business through enhanced national and global service coverage and improved buying power, which will enable us to pass on significant cost savings to them,” says Farnborough, UK-headquartered Gama.
“They will also benefit from the comprehensive line maintenance support provided by Gama’s US ground-based business and BBA’s Signature Flight Support fixed base operator network,” Gama adds – although it stresses that these businesses are not part of the deal.
Signature is the world’s largest FBO chain with more than 200 bases worldwide, including about 130 in the USA.
BBA’s US aircraft charter and management activities operate under the Landmark Aviation banner. BBA acquired Landmark in 2015 for more than $2 billion, marking the biggest transaction in the history of the business aviation services industry. Landmark’s portfolio included more than 110 business aircraft and 68 FBOs which are now part of the Signature network.
Gama and BBA have established a holding company – GB Aviation Holdings – to oversee the venture, in which each has a 50% share.
Gama chief executive Marwan Khalek says: “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 while simplifying the financial arrangements with our US partners. As part of this strategically important transaction, we are also excited by the potential to cross-sell our US maintenance services into the enlarged fleet.”
BBA chief executive Simon Pryce says the agreement “marks another milestone” for the business, creating a leading charter and fleet management company “whose scale will benefit both us and our customers”.