Jet Aviation is a worldwide business aviation services company with 20 airport facilities throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America. The company has over 5,100 employees who provide maintenance, completions and refurbishment, engineering, fixed base operations, aircraft management, charter services, aircraft sales and personnel services. Jet Aviation's European and U.S. aircraft management and charter divisions jointly operate a fleet of more than 200 aircraft and provided over 65,000 hours in global flight operations in 2007.
Owned by the Hirschmann family since its foundation in 1967, Jet Aviation changed ownership in October 2005 when the company was purchased by Permira (Permira Funds), one of the leading private equity specialists in Europe.
Nearly four decades ago, Carl W. Hirschmann bought the former Globe Air hangars in Basel, Switzerland to establish Jet Aviation as the first maintenance facility for business aircraft in Europe. Two years later, the Pilatus maintenance and airline handling operations in Zürich and Geneva, Switzerland were acquired.
In the 1970s, the company expanded its services to provide aircraft management and charter services for European and Middle Eastern customers. The first maintenance base outside of Switzerland was established in 1975 in Düsseldorf, Germany, and in 1979, a partnership was formed with a group of Saudi businessmen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to operate an FBO facility in Jeddah. In 1977, Jet Aviation added outfitting services as a new line of business at its Basel operation and the facility has since then grown to become the largest independent completions center in world.
1980s brought further expansion to the company in Europe and the Middle East, but more importantly, Jet Aviation successfully entered the U.S. market to become the first global player in the business aviation industry. Since the mid '80s, the company bought existing FBOs in Boston/Bedford, Massachusetts, Palm Beach, Florida and added an FBO in Teterboro, New Jersey, in 1988 to serve the strategically important New York City corporate marketplace. The same year, Jet Aviation acquired Teterboro based Executive Air Fleet - the largest aircraft management and charter company in North America.
The consolidation and steady growth in the EMEA region and North America marked the 1990s. Jet Aviation Basel, Switzerland and the three U.S. FBOs in Boston/Bedford, Palm Beach and Teterboro were expanded to enhance the overall quality and services at these facilities. In 1994, Jet Aviation was granted the right to expand its airline handling services in Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland to provide services to scheduled airlines and IATA carriers. A major move into the Asian market was the opening of a maintenance and FBO facility in Singapore in 1995. Two more locations, including a maintenance facility in Hannover, Germany and a full-service FBO operation in 1999 at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, in the United States were added to Jet Aviation's global network.
The new millennium brought a change in ownership for Jet Aviation and further expansion to the company in both, EMEA and North America. To better serve the United Kingdom and especially the London market, Jet Aviation acquired a maintenance, refurbishment and FBO facility at London Biggin Hill airport. The same year, an aircraft management and charter firm was established in Hong Kong, China. Near San Antonio, Texas, the company opened Jet Aviation Engineering Services to support its own completions facilities in Basel, Switzerland and Palm Beach, Florida and to provide services to third-party modification centers. In April 2005, Jet Aviation's presence in the Middle East was strengthened when the company opened a new maintenance and FBO operation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates which was built in partnership with local partners.
Finally, in October 2005 Jet Aviation was acquired by the Permira Funds, which marked the end of 38 years of family entrepreneurship and in March 2006, the company, under new ownership, announced the acquisition of St. Louis, Missouri-based Midcoast Aviation, one of the leading maintenance, repair and overhaul, modifications and completions companies in North America. Clients will not immediately notice a change in ownership since both companies agreed that Midcoast Aviation will retain its name and identity, adding the words "a Jet Aviation company" to its logo.
On January 31st, 2008 Jet Aviation completed the acquisition of U.S.-based maintenance and completions company Savannah Air Center (SAC). All parties agreed that further details about the transaction, including the transaction size, will not be disclosed. Savannah Air Center will be integrated into Jet Aviation's maintenance and completions organization in the U.S. with locations in Boston/Bedford, Chicago, Palm Beach, St. Louis and Teterboro operated by Midcoast Aviation. SAC will retain its name and will continue to operate with a consistent team in place under the leadership of the company's CEO.