Air Partner Shuts Down Aircraft Operating Division

 - March 16, 2010, 12:30 PM

UK-based charter broker Air Partner today announced that it has shut down its aircraft operating division–Private Jet Operating Company (PJOC)–in a bid to stem mounting losses. PJOC has been put into administration, which is similar to U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws, after the company failed in attempts to establish a joint-venture partner for the business or to find a buyer. In financial results released today for the six months ending January 31, Air Partner showed a loss of £1.2 million ($1.8 million) across the group, including PJOC. Air Partner formed PJOC in October 2006 when it acquired air charter operator Gold Air for £4.4 million (the equivalent of $8.1 million at the time but $6.6 million at the current exchange rate). The strategy behind this move was to be able to deliver guaranteed capacity for charters at a time when demand was growing at around 30 percent, but this demand evaporated in the wake of the financial crisis. CEO David Savile, who was the main architect of Air Partner’s expansion into charter operations, will leave the company on March 31. He will be succeeded by Mark Briffa. According to the company, Air Partner’s core charter brokering business and sales of jet-card block hours product have “held up relatively well.”