NBAA Convention News

Jet Aviation is growing steadily

 - June 18, 2008, 9:47 AM

Jet Aviation’s main strength is in Europe, where 11 major facilities generate 60 percent of its income, and the U.S., with four major facilities and 18 support stations contributing much of the remaining 40 percent of total sales. The company’s major U.S. FBOs with service and maintenance capabilities are in Bedford, Mass. (near Boston), Dallas, Teterboro, N.J., and at West Palm Beach, Fla. West Palm Beach has also been Jet Aviation’s world headquarters since 1991 and has extensive completion, refurbishing and outfitting capabilities.

Jet Aviation has two small facilities in Latin America–in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Lima, Peru–and an offshore facility on Bermuda. In western Europe, its activities are concentrated mainly in two countries. The company has four facilities in its native Switzerland, and six in Germany, plus 15 service stations throughout Europe and the Middle East, as well as one in Moscow. Jet Aviation entered the UK market in February of this year, when it acquired an FBO with maintenance and refurbishing capabilities at Biggin Hill Airport near London.

The company is well represented in the Middle East, with extensive bases at Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in the Far East, with an FBO in Singapore, in addition to various smaller bases in Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Kuwait; and Muscat, Oman.

Jet Aviation’s lines of business include executive charter, aircraft management, sales and brokerage, maintenance, refurbishing, outfitting, fixed-base operations and airline handling. Claiming to be the world’s leading service provider to business aviation, the company operates a fleet of more than 150 executive aircraft, with a King Air 200 at the lower end and impressive numbers of large bizjets at the top (36 Gulfstreams, 25 Falcons and 20 Challengers), in addition to three types of helicopters–Sikorsky S-76, Agusta A109 and Eurocopter AS 335 TwinStar.

More than 45,000 executive charter flight hours where sold last year, plus an unspecified number of hours flown for the owners of aircraft under management at Jet Aviation. The company’s staff of 3,800 mostly work in business aviation, but airline ground handling services provided since 1969 at the Swiss airports in Zurich, Geneva and Basel, including technical support and line maintenance, also ensure a substantial and steady income to the company.

Jet Aviation was among the first companies in Europe to offer refurbished airliners for corporate use. Its facility at Basel recently completed the first public transport version of the A319CJ Corporate Jetliner with a 36-seat VIP passenger interior for Qatar Airways. Jet Aviation Basel has also been a major outfitting center for the Dassault Falcon 900 and 2000 families since 1996, and currently delivers 12 completed aircraft on average per year. In addition, Jet Aviation Basel and Geneva are authorized service centers for Boeing’s BBJ and BBJ2.

Slow, Careful Expansion

One of the secrets to the steady growth of Jet Aviation from a small operator with a single hangar in Basel in 1967 to a multinational organization has been the careful evaluation of the business potential of each step of expansion or acquisition, first by the company’s founder Carl Hirschmann Sr. and then by his successors, including today’s chairman and CEO Thomas Hirschmann.

Jet Aviation reported revenues close to $500 million for 2000, an increase of 24 percent over 1999, and an operating profit of $34 million, up 45 percent.