With new CEO, PrivatAir looks ahead

 - October 15, 2007, 11:18 AM

The recent shift in top management signals the beginning of a new phase of growth for business aviation management and charter provider PrivatAir Group. On February 1, former COO Greg Thomas was named CEO, succeeding David Hurley, who was appointed vice-chairman of PrivatAir SA of Geneva.

In early 2001, Hurley, 62, became CEO of PrivatAir Group, an entity encompassing Connecticut-based charter/management firm Flight Services Group, Paris-based FBO Transair (acquired by PrivatAir in December 2000 from New York-based Ogden) and PrivatAir SA. Thomas, who at that time was counsel to PrivatAir affiliate Latsis Group of Greece, became PrivatAir Group’s COO.

Hurley founded Flight Services Group in 1984 and served as its CEO. Before forming Flight Services, Hurley was a marketing executive for the Canadair Challenger and a regional v-p for Cessna. Hurley will remain based in Connecticut.

The Group’s board of directors has tasked Thomas, 36, with “building on PrivatAir’s pace of profitable growth, and expanding the worldwide reach of the company’s unique premium branded services,” the company said in a prepared statement. As COO of PrivatAir Group, Thomas oversaw a “crucial period of growth” during which the company acquired Flight Services Group and Transair.

Thomas, who will remain based in Geneva, worked with Hurley “to build a world-class management team, orchestrating the development of the PrivatAir brand worldwide and driving significant revenue growth in a challenging economic climate,” PrivatAir officials said. His initial responsibility, according to the company’s statement, will be to “build on the rapid expansion of PrivatAir’s management fleet in the U.S., the introduction of Airbus aircraft into the company’s fleet and developing new opportunities in Europe and the Middle East.”

One of the new CEO’s first actions has been to reorganize PrivatAir on a two-level regional basis–North America and Europe/Middle East. Hugh Regan, formerly the Group’s CFO, has been appointed COO of North American operations. Dave Kinson, previously executive v-p of business development, takes on the role of COO of European and Middle Eastern operations.

PrivatAir manages a fleet of more than 40 aircraft ranging from a Learjet to a Boeing 757 operating from Europe and 16 bases throughout the U.S. The company also operates a Boeing 737-700 on six-day-a-week, nonstop shuttle service for Lufthansa between Düsseldorf and Newark Airport. PrivatAir’s Boeing 737-700 is fitted with 48 business-class seats in a two-by-two configuration. The company also provides maintenance, insurance and crew.