TAG Aviation USA has purchased Signature Flight Support’s charter sales network based at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., a business unit Signature acquired when it bought the AMR Combs chain in the late 1990s. Inquiries for charters at Signature’s more than 40 locations throughout the U.S. will still be referred to the California location for fulfillment. Under Signature, the flights were booked on a variety of charter providers. With the new ownership, TAG expects to book many of the charters on one of its own fleet of more than 100 managed business airplanes and helicopters worldwide. If necessary, TAG will also broker flights.
TAG said it will retain Signature’s Orange County team and move it to a larger facility. The additional capacity brought by the Signature acquisition comes at a good time for TAG’s charter activities. The company said it finished a record year in 2002 and that this year’s first quarter “saw a more-than-20-percent sequential increase in our charter revenue and profit.” Signature president Beth Haskins told AIN that although the charter referral business charged referral fees, the unit represented a relatively small profit center for the chain, and selling it was a move to focus on Signature’s core business of line service.