Aviation holding company SAR Trilogy, which operates the Aero Center FBO chain, is expanding into the Atlanta market with its announcement of a definitive purchase agreement for family-owned Epps Aviation, a full-service FBO at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK). One of three service providers at KPDK and the only independent, Epps has been in operation for nearly 60 years, lead by Pat Epps and his three children.
The 18-acre facility, which will be rebranded as Aero Center-Epps Atlanta, includes a 7,000-sq-ft, two-story terminal with a passenger lobby, refreshment bar, pilot lounge with a snooze room and showers, flight-planning area, two conference rooms (seating 14 and eight, respectively), on-site customs clearance with advance notice, tenant offices, and concierge service. The FBO's 220,000 sq ft of hangar space can accommodate aircraft up to ultra-long-range business jets.
The purchase also includes Epps’s Part 135 aircraft charter certificate and Part 145 repair station and avionics shop, giving the Aero Center chain its first exposure in these areas. Aero Center operates FBOs at Florida’s Lakeland-Linder International Airport (KLAL) and in North Carolina at Wilmington International Airport with three other locations under development in Casper, Wyoming; Spokane, Washington; and Tallahassee, Florida. Epps is also a Pilatus Aircraft dealer. The transaction is expected to close within 45 days, pending necessary approvals.
“As we have been highlighting since we started Aero Center, the full-service FBO, the integrated FBO, is a smart FBO,” industry veteran and SAR Trilogy co-founder Michael Scheeringa told AIN, adding that the company believes in a balance of revenue streams. “We think that has more sustainability in the current environment than a fuel-only oriented FBO.”
Scheeringa noted the long history of the Epps FBO and explained that "we're going to be good stewards of the legacy." He said all 150 employees at the location will be retained and that Epps family members will assist with the transition over the next six months as a search for a new long-term general manager begins.
"We're flattered that they are keeping the name," said Elaine Epps, the company's marketing director. "We're thrilled that they are going to be taking the company into the future and grow it."