Gama Group, the business aviation charter, management and maintenance company, headquartered at Farnborough Airport UK, is planning to establish its next base in Asia, Gama Group CEO Marwan Khalek confirmed here at NBAA, Las Vegas. Booth NoN3305. “We are building the foundations now with a view to getting established in Hong Kong in the first half of 2012,” he said. The intention is simply to replicate Gama’s successful business model in the region and mirror the quality, ethos and service offering of the international network currently centered in Europe, the Middle East and the USA. Hong Kong will be the company’s fourth continental/regional base complementing operations in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Provision of business jet services to members of Asia Miles
In the lead up to a full Asian presence, Gama Aviation has just entered into an exclusive partnership with loyalty program Asia Miles* to provide business jet services to its 4.1 million members worldwide. Asia Miles members can earn miles when chartering aircraft from Gama’s global fleet and network to connect with airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, bringing its bespoke travel services to the most sophisticated travelers in the Asia market.
Asia Miles members with onward destinations that are not serviced by Asia Miles partner airlines can arrange a connecting sector by business jet with Gama. “We are very pleased to confirm this strategic agreement to provide frequent flyers of such prestigious international carriers like Cathay Pacific and Dragonair with a convenient travel solution that suits their particular needs,” said Marwan Khalek.
Stephen S Y Wong, Director and General Manager, Asia Miles said, “Asia Miles strives to bring quality partners to its members and we believe Gama Aviation’s wide geographical coverage and long established experience in the private charter business will be very welcomed by our members.”
Consolidation inevitable in US market – Gama CEO
Whilst Asia will become a key focus for 2012, the last 12 months in the USA have been spent investing in improving our capabilities and structures and building up our Part 145/EASA repair station capabilities and market opportunities at our bases at Stratford, Connecticut, Teterboro and West Palm Beach, Florida. Each base now has the capacity to perform all line and base maintenance on a robust list of aircraft. Gama supports Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft; engine suppliers Rolls Royce, Pratt And Whitney and Honeywell as well as instrument and radio certification on altimeters, static systems and transponders.
Trading conditions in the US market remain fiercely competitive, acknowledges Marwan Khalek, in a region where capacity significantly outstrips demand. In such a market further consolidation is inevitable, he believes. Gama’s success in winning tri-zone Wyvern approval earlier this year, however, across its three continental bases – Europe, USA and the Middle East has had a strong effect in boosting cross-continental client sharing. It has helped the group gain more international clients – in Russia, the Middle East, including Royal family members and music tour arrangers, for example. Gama offices in the regions share clients to ensure a consistent level of service and local knowledge means clients are assured of attention to detail. Gama clients have a fleet of 83 aircraft to experience, based out of Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Continental USA.
Gama also has the advantage of benefiting from an international client base. “We are more keenly aware of our customers’ expectations than a typical stand alone service centre and we have 28 years’ experience and network to draw on,” says Thomas Connolly, President of Gama Support in the US.
Gama’s efforts to extend its reach and operations into the South American market continue to gather pace with the addition of further aircraft bringing the total managed fleet in the region to six aircraft. These contracts are supported from Gama’s US operation whilst the company continues to evaluate the best regional base and partnership.
Gama expands capabilities with move into helicopter support
Gama Group also struck a significant investment last month with the completion of the purchase of the trade and assets of Mann Aviation Group Engineering (MAGE), a leading specialist in MRO modification and support services for a wide range of helicopters serving civil and military use, plus a number of regional aircraft types. That company’s EASA/FAR 145 operations and Part 21J & G design and production expertise are being integrated into newly branded Gama Engineering, formerly Lees Avionics. Coincident with this move, Gama Engineering has moved its premises from High Wycombe, Berkshire, to take up premises at Fairoaks Airport, Surrey, UK.
Gama has pledged sizeable investment to restore its three hangars and establish a burgeoning centre for general aviation, complementing the Group’s main Farnborough base.
“This strategic acquisition enables us to harness the opportunity within the Group to expand our capabilities in defence, special mission retrofits and modifications. Importantly, the move takes Gama into the rotary support side for the first time too,” said Marwan Khalek.