Jet Aviation has announced that they have been sold, pending
antitrust clearance, to the Permira Funds a leading international private equity
specialist. Ending several years of speculation, the Zurich based operator of
business jet services has finally accomplished what had long been expected: the
sale of the Hirschmann family business to outsiders.
As early as 2000 the sale of Jet Aviation had been expected by employees as well
as by industry insiders. Indeed, Jet Aviation management had been marketed
openly throughout 2001 by Goldman Sachs, but the sale was cancelled when a
suitable buyer was not found and the terrorist attacks put a further drag on an
already downturning economy. Still, rumors of the sale of the company persisted
and heated up recently with speculation that one of Warren Buffet's companies,
i.e., Gulfstream Aerospace, may have been interested in the company's
Currently, Jet Aviation is a Zurich-based concern employing 3500 people
worldwide. US operations remain strong with the bulk of the employees working
out of Teterboro [NJ] Airport.
Even with the probable sale of the company to Permira, speculation is persisting
as to what will become of the company after the sale is completed. Some industry
leaders believe that the company is more valuable for its parts than as a single
entity. Thus, parts of the company could be sold off and a scaled down Jet
Aviation might remain in place. Areas of the company thought to be susceptible
to a sale include:
1. US Maintenance Facilities. With prime locations at Bedford, Teterboro, West
Palm Beach, and Dallas the American facilities are capable of providing expert
airframe support to just about any type of business aircraft.
2. Completion Centers. Some or all of the company's award winning completion
centers are thought to be highly marketable. From the Boeing BBJ to the
Gulfstream 550, and to the Sikorsky S-70A aircraft delivered "green" to Jet
Aviation facilities are outfitted with state of the art interiors.
3. FBOs. Jet Aviation's group of fixed based operations which provide domestic
and international flight handling, line maintenance services, refueling,
passenger and crew transportation, catering and hotel accommodations and
immigration and customs services are an important asset for the company. Indeed,
the Dubai facility -- Jet Aviation's newest FBO -- is considered by some to be
unmatched in the industry.
4. Jet Professionals. Founded in 1983, Jet Professionals -- an aviation
personnel service provider -- became part of Jet Aviation as part of the
acquisition of K-C Aviation Transportation Services in 1996.
5. Aircraft Management. Over 160 aircraft worldwide are managed by Jet Aviation
including more than 50 in the US alone. Many of these aircraft are also
available for charter. US operations could be sold to Jet Aviation's strategic
partner, New World Jet Corporation, a FAR Part 135 charter certificate operator.
In all, the sale of Jet Aviation ends one big area of speculation while, at the
same time, it has opened up other areas. In the world of business aviation
speculation is business as usual.
Note: Permira Funds successfully completed its acquisition of Jet
Aviation during the Fall of 2005.
Matt Keegan is
the owner of a successful web design and marketing
company based in North Carolina, USA. He manages several
sites including the Corporate
Flight Attendant Community and