Marwen Khalek, CEO, Gama Group
Gama Group started operations in 1983 with a Beech Baron and has since become a major player in business aviation services with 80 aircraft now in its fleet. The company has 400 employees working at its 25 operating bases.
Marwen Khalek was one of the group’s founders and still has plenty of ambition for the company. “Our strategy is that we’re in this business for the long haul. The market remains very fragmented, whether it’s Europe or elsewhere, so it makes sense to invest. The expansion is targeted and is in response to what our customers want,” Khalek tells Aviation Week. “Our Glasgow International Airport hangar, for example, is in direct response to the needs of our clients the NHS [National Health Service] Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service.” The 1,600 sq. meter hangar will house the Scottish Air Ambulance’s King Air aircraft and will help grow the company’s base and line maintenance capabilities.
Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, Chief Executive, London Executive Aviation
London Executive Aviation (LEA) was founded in 1996 with a single piston-engine aircraft. Today it has 26 aircraft in its fleet and it is one of the largest executive air charter operators in Europe. LEA’s Legacy fleet has grown mainly through inter-owner recommendation. “We’re certainly the largest Legacy operator in Europe and I guess we’re becoming the first port of call for people who have an aircraft they want looking after,” said Margetson-Rushmore.
The company also handles acceptance and delivery flights for Embraer products, including the Phenom 100, Phenom 300 and Legacys, some of which are now managed by LEA.
“As we grow and expand we are interested in looking after large widebody aircraft. On the continent there are a number of companies concentrating on this area, but our philosophy is still to maintain a spread of aircraft types from small upward. We’re certainly not moving away from small fleet types,” said Margetson-Rushmore.
Steve Jones, Managing Director, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group’s Aviation Services
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group is one of the longest established aerospace companies in Europe with a 104-year history. It acquired FlairJet, the Oxford airport-based aircraft management and charter company in March 2013 and FlairJet has now integrated its operations with Marshall Executive Aviation. “Our financial projections already show a dramatic improvement in the financial performance of Marshall Executive Aviation from last year and we would anticipate an improvement of at least £0.5 million by the end of this financial year. We’re not ruling out further acquisitions if that fast-tracks us into fleet growth, and this could happen this year,” says Jones, who is also the managing director of Cambridge airport and heads up all non-military aviation for the Marshall Group.