StandardAero closed on the purchase of Van Nuys, California-based Gulfstream maintenance specialist Western Jet Aviation on Wednesday. The acquisition is StandardAero’s 12th since 2015 and adds significant Gulfstream airframe MRO capability, with more than 120,000 sq ft of hangar, shop, ramp, and office space on a 10-acre facility, nearly 100 personnel, and Western Jet’s avionics and interior shops.
The move also marks a return to the West Coast for StandardAero, which previously operated an MRO facility at Los Angeles International Airport (KLAX) but closed it in 2018. “When we departed LAX, we’d been looking for a location on the West Coast,” said Colleen Back, StandardAero senior commercial director, airframe, who is heading up the integration efforts for the acquisition. “Van Nuys is one of the busiest business aviation airports in the country, and this will add a large Gulfstream footprint to the company.”
Western Jet founder and owner Jim Hansen said the sale of his company, which he opened in 1999, was bittersweet, but he is excited about the opportunities offered by StandardAero. He has worked at Van Nuys Airport for the past 50 years, starting as a mechanic for the Jet Center and other companies before opening Western Jet. Hansen plans to stay with StandardAero as an executive consultant.
“After nearly 50 years in aviation, it was time for me to pass the reins,” he said. “We have accomplished so much at Western Jet, but it was also time to find the right partner to help Western Jet go to the next level. StandardAero is the perfect partner to help this company do just that. I am thrilled for the employees and for the future of this company.”
Western Jet has grown into a large independent Gulfstream maintenance company, with comprehensive maintenance available on the G200 and GIV through G650 models, as well as avionics installation and repair, which opened in 2009, and more recently interior refurbishment. In addition to airframe line and heavy maintenance, Western Jet can perform line maintenance on Rolls-Royce Tay, Spey, BR710, and BR725 engines, and service Honeywell 36 and RE220-series APUs. Western Jet holds FAA and EASA repair station certificates and many OEM approvals.
StandardAero, which is owned by investment firm Carlyle, now has business aviation MRO locations that span the U.S., with major airframe facilities in Springfield, Illinois, and Augusta, Georgia. The purchase of Vector Aerospace in 2017 added engine MRO in Europe, and this was followed by the acquisition of Signature Aviation’s engine repair and overhaul business in 2021.
The new West Coast facility, to be called Western Jet Aviation, a StandardAero company, will continue the Western Jet Academy, which invites new mechanics to work in a paid apprentice program to gain experience and earn certification.
“Western Jet Aviation’s broad range of business aviation MRO capabilities expands our facility footprint, customer base, geographic reach, and repair portfolio to facilitate continuing growth for StandardAero,” said Russell Ford, chairman and CEO of StandardAero. “Organizationally, Western Jet Aviation will be aligned with our business aviation division and we warmly welcome the Western Jet Aviation team to StandardAero.”