Luxaviation has a voracious appetite for business jet operating companies, but despite strong rumors that it was to buy ExecuJet, when news finally broke on May 5 it still shocked many within the industry by the scale of the takeover.

Patrick Hansen, Co-CEO of Luxaviation Group, says that his business plan calls for a fleet of 500 managed/charter aircraft by 2019. “Then we will review where we are and see if we’ve under achieved or over achieved our objectives.”

Its total fleet has now reached 260+, making the Luxembourg group the world’s second largest operating company after NetJets. Hansen has more acquisitions lining up this year, especially in Asia where he sees most potential growth, but says he won’t be touching the U.S. market.

When asked how big his war chest was, he replied, “Enough!”

His backers are a group of Luxembourg investors together with himself and a private equity fund. “We’ve issued two listed bonds on the Luxembourg Bond Exchange,” says Hansen, who comes from a finance and banking background. He is running two private equity funds, one of which he co-founded as Edison Capital Partners S.A., an asset management company specializing in shipping, aviation and industrial participations. Before this, and while working for a large bank, he was responsible for starting up an operation in Russia from scratch.

Just a week before the ExecuJet deal was announced, Luxaviation signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Shanghai with China’s Minsheng Aviation. It enables both companies to further develop their operational business efforts on their respective continents. The partnership will allow Luxaviation to develop its offer for the fast-growing Asian business jet market and further improve client services in the region. Luxaviation already operates two of its Embraer Legacys out of Singapore.

Smaller business jet operators in Europe face ever-growing regulation and expense. According to Hansen they have two choices: “You either go bust sooner or later because this market is going to change or you get into a bigger group. I’m just buying out cash-positive companies, so most people have this choice. They’ve built up their market and they want to give their employees a future within a bigger group. That’s why they are coming to us. There is a lot of consolidation already with Gama/Hangar8, and there will be more happening in Europe for sure.”

Hansen hopes people, especially flyers, will start to understand why his company is involved in consolidation and realize what is wrong with the market. “I think there are a lot of people losing money in this market and ultimately that is dangerous for safety. I think the clients have to understand that.”

Before the ExecuJet deal, Luxaviation Group acquired majority shareholding in Fairjets of Germany in 2011, Abelag of Belgium in 2013, Unijet in France and London Executive Aviation in England in 2014 and Masterjet, Portugal this year.

More Gains Than Planes for Luxaviation

At the stroke of a pen Luxaviation’s takeover of ExecuJet has made it into a truly global player. Not only has its managed/charter fleet grown from 95 aircraft to 260+, but it has gained 19 FBOs, 12 MROs, eight AOCs (seven fixed-wing and one rotary), increased its presence across another 17 countries and now employs another 1,000 people.