JetDirect Aviation Holdings on Tuesday evening announced that it signed an agreement to sell most of the assets of its charter/management company JetDirect Aviation to JDA Acquisition, signaling a possible solution to the financial problems that have plagued JetDirect during the recession. A group of investors led by Beachwood, Ohio-based Brantley Partners created JDA Acquisition. The sale is expected to be completed early next month.
JetDirect Aviation will sell its wholly owned aircraft charter subsidiaries Sunset Aviation and Presidential Jets to their original ownership groups and has entered into agreements to sell its three FBOs as part of a strategic restructuring designed to focus on expanding its national aircraft management and charter operation. Industry veteran Jake Cartwright will continue as president of JetDirect Aviation, the company said.
By the end of next month, JetDirect Aviation expects to close a deal with a private-equity firm “with significant private aviation experience” that will see the charter/management company backed by a new control investor, according to a letter sent to JetDirect clients last week. This follows JetDirect’s selling its three FBOs and unwinding recent acquisitions by selling Presidential Jets and Sunset Aviation back to their original owners.
Petaluma, Calif.-based Sunset Aviation is now operating as a standalone subsidiary of JetDirect Aviation, which acquired the light jet and turboprop operator last year.
Petaluma, Calif.-based Sunset Aviation is now operating as a standalone subsidiary of JetDirect Aviation, which acquired the light jet and turboprop operator last year. JetDirect will continue to offer business support, sales and marketing services, but Sunset will operate as an independent Part 135 air carrier, with Sunset founder Dan Drohan serving as president and CEO, according to JetDirect senior vice president of marketing Gil Wolin.
JetDirect Aviation, the former charter arm of the now-defunct Sentient Jet Holdings, laid off approximately 20 employees late last month. The company has been slowly eliminating administrative positions for the past three months in an attempt to “right-size” following the numerous acquisitions under the Sentient banner, according to JetDirect senior vice president of marketing Gil Wolin.
Four years ago, Steven Hankin, an executive at a Starwood Hotels division, joined Sentient Jet, an independent jet card and charter brokerage firm that was growing rapidly into a national brand. Sentient didn’t operate aircraft itself but created demand for lift by brokering charters and selling hours in business jets in the rapidly growing jet card marketplace.
Sentient Jet and JetDirect once again are operating as separate companies after agreeing in late August to separate into their original elements. The two companies merged in April 2007 when JetDirect Aviation bought Sentient Jet, with the goal of matching the demand created by Sentient’s jet card and charter brokerage business with the available charter hours from JetDirect’s growing charter fleet.
The break up of Sentient’s jet-card and charter divisions announced on August 13 was finalized over the weekend, according to the two companies involved in the deal. Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners today said it completed the acquisition of the jet membership, retail charter and fuel management business units previously owned by Sentient Jet Holdings.
JetDirect has expanded its fleet to more than 130 aircraft and increased its regional operating bases to nine with the acquisition of Sunset Aviation, a Northern California charter operator. The 25 new aircraft are based at Novato, Santa Rosa, Concord, Sacramento, Napa and Herber City airports.