Gama Aviation

Gama Aviation Plc
Public limited company
Founded 1983
Headquarters Farnborough
Key people
Sir Ralph Robins, Chairman
Marwan Khalek, Group Chief Executive Officer
Neil Medley, Chief Operating Officer
Revenue US$ 432.4m Total Group revenue (2016)
Website http://www.gamaaviation.com/

Gama Aviation (AIM:GMAA) is a global business aviation services company specialising in providing aviation support for individuals, corporations and government agencies. The company offers two distinct service divisions: Air and Ground. The company was founded in 1983 by Marwan Khalek and Stephen Wright, who function as CEO and Executive Director.[1] Sir Ralph Robins, who formerly served on the board for Rolls-Royce, is the group's chairman.[2] Kevin Godley was appointed as CFO in 2015 but resigned in November 2017.[1][3]

Air division

Air services

Since 1983, the company's managed fleet size has grown to over 250 aircraft via organic growth and M&A activity. The most significant of these deals being; the reverse takeover of Hangar8 Plc,[4] the acquisition of Aviation Beauport [5] and most recently the merger of its US Air division with that of BBA Aviation Plc.[6]

Further specialist services were added with the addition of FlyerTech[7], the organic development of flight training services [8] and its own in-house pilot ground school.

A core capability of Gama Aviation is its ability to deploy turnkey special mission solutions. This is most visibly evidenced in its near 30-year relationship with NHS Scotland and its provision of the Scottish Air-ambulance Services (SAS). The SAS contract [9] involves the provision of fixed and rotary aircraft as well as the coordination and operational management of all flights 24/7. This long-term contract resulted in the company investing in the development of new infrastructure at Glasgow International Airport, with the creation of the SCOTSTAR facility.[10]

Gama Aviation LLC, its US associate business, provides similar turnkey support for Wheels Up. The business currently provides all operational support, pilots and pilot training for the fleet of King Air 350i and Cessna Citation XLS aircraft across the US.[11][12]

Ground division

Ground services

Gama Aviation conducts maintenance support for most business aircraft types across its global network of bases [13]

Gama Aviation also provides fleet support. In the US this extends to the 55+ aircraft of Wheels Up utilising Textron Aviation's Citation XLS+ and the Beech King Air. In January 2017, the company's Europe Ground division announced a 15 aircraft fleet deal with Wijet to provide maintenance support across Europe for AOG, line and base maintenance.[14]

As with the Air division, the company operates a number of special mission contracts with the likes of NHS Scotland, the Ministry of Defence[15] and primary contractors such as Atkins.[16] Central to this is a unique combination of military and civilian engineering skills allowing the company to draw upon a wide knowledge base for the effective implementation of upgrade and re-role projects. This has included updates to the RAF's primary trainer fleet and the Army Air Corps Gazelle fleet,[17] amongst others. The company's most recent special mission support service contract awards were disclosed in January 2017.[18]

Geographic development of the ground division

Over the past two / three years Gama Aviation has built a network of bases in the US (Bedford HF, Bridgeport, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Palm Beach, St. Louis, Teterboro, Van Nuys, White Plains) and UK (Farnborough, Aberdeen, Fairoaks, Glasgow, Jersey, Kennington, Doncaster, Waddington, Oxford). Additional maintenance facilities have also been added in Nice (France), Sharjah (UAE) and most recently Hong Kong. [19]

Controversies

As of July 2017, Gama is facing a High Court claim brought against it by Dustin Dryden, CEO of Hangar8, for £6.1m.[20] The counterclaim is a reaction to an allegation made against Dryden in November 2016, alleging that Gama Aviation provided services and spare parts to Dryden, who failed to pay.[20] Dryden claimed in response that the work was not performed properly and some of the spare parts had been pledged to another company.[20]

Dryden claimed that, rather than a dispute over his conduct as director, there had been a “departure agreement” including a promise to sell his 5% stake in Gama and spend the proceeds with the company in order to help it hit second-half financial targets in 2015.[20] Gama also attempted to impound one of Dryden’s planes, which they claim Dryden unlawfully seized back.[20] Dryden admitted to taking the jet back, but denied any legal wrongdoing.[20]

Gama Aviation informed investors only after the suit was made public by newspapers, making an announcement to the London stock exchange.[21] Its share price fell shortly afterwards.[21] In response to the allegations made by Dryden, Gama Aviation announced that it would not comment while legal action was ongoing, but did release a background statement.[21] Following this, Gama took out an injunction, forbidding newspapers from naming most of its clients.[3] The cases will be heard next June.[3]

A further case was brought against Gama Aviation by Credit Suisse.[22] The bank filed a High Court claim stating that Gama had not turned over a private jet that Credit Suisse was entitled to sell after Challenger-Mondel, who financed the purchase of the aircraft, defaulted on a loan.[23] In addition to this, the millionaire Andre Serruys has also taken action, alleging that the company overbilled him and performed sub-standard technical upgrades while under the management and maintenance control of Hangar8.[24] As of January 2018, Gama is potentially exposed to $15.3 million in damages from claimants. [25]

References

  1. 1 2 "Company Overview". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  2. "Gama Group announces appointment of Sir Ralph Robins". corporatejetinvestor.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 Bourke, Joanna. "More woes for Gama Aviation as finance boss jets off". standard.co.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  4. "Hangar 8 to buy Gama Aviation in reverse takeover".
  5. "Gama Aviation buys Aviation Beaport".
  6. "BBA Aviation to merge aircraft management business with Gama Aviation's US unit".
  7. "Gama Aviation acquires FlyerTech and Aerstream".
  8. "Gama Aviation & CAE partner for new EASA base training requirements".
  9. "Gama Aviation awarded new Scottish Air Ambulance contract".
  10. "Gama Aviation opens unique new base for NHS Scotland".
  11. "Wheels Up Gama Aviation".
  12. "Wheels Up, Gama Aviation 'democratising' business aviation".
  13. "Gama Aviation maintenance".
  14. "Gama Aviation wins Europe wide contract from France's Wijet".
  15. "Shadow R1 team awarded CDM".
  16. "Atkins & Gama Aviation win contract to conduct airworthiness reviews for RAF aircraft".
  17. "Gama Aviation's part 21J team wins new defence contract".
  18. "Gama Aviation wins two special mission contracts".
  19. "Gama Aviation Hutchison commences long-term business aviation maintenance collaboration with China Aircraft Services Limited".
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Shah, Oliver. "Legal dogfight erupts at VIP private jet operator Gama Aviation". thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  21. 1 2 3 "Gama Aviation responds to article on Dryden legal action". stockmarketwire.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  22. "Gama still likes to fly under the radar". London Evening Standard. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  23. Crump, Richard (3 January 2018). "Credit Suisse Sues Aviation Co. For Possession Of Private Jet". law360.com. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  24. Shah, Oliver (2018). "Private jet firm Gama set for hard landing". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  25. "Gama Aviation reports strong year amid ongoing legal battles". Hargreaves Lansdown. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
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