In April Gama Aviation reported its first annual results since the reverse take-over of Hangar8 in January 2015 made it a world-leading aviation services company. Group profits rose 15% to US$62.4 million and total worldwide revenue stood at US$413 million. The company is run by the man who co-founded Gama in the 1980s with a single Beech King Air, Marwan Khalek. “Key to further rapid expansion will be acquisitions,” he says.

The company now boasts a worldwide managed business jet fleet of 145 aircraft, has bases in the U.S., UK, Middle East and Asia offering charter, flight support and maintenance, and is responsible for the daily operation of around 55 aircraft for the U.S. Wheels Up membership program (currently around 15 Citation XLSs and 40 King Air 350s) – which is soon to be introduced to Europe.

The first deal was done early this year with the acquisition of Aviation Beauport Ltd, a privately owned Jersey, Channel Islands-based FBO which offers handling, parking and hangarage services and charter, in addition to operating four aircraft under management. The total cost of the deal was around GBP5,325,000. Gama’s Board expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing in the first year. The company aims to improve the line maintenance service provision to the airport. “This bolt-on acquisition is an excellent strategic fit for the Group, and allows us to extend our product offering in both our European air and ground operations,” Khalek says.

Although this was a relatively small acquisition, many others are in the pipeline.

And while he couldn’t give details, Khalek added, “I think it’s safe to say that if I was speaking to you next Christmas time and there weren’t a few more announcements by then, I’d be very, very surprised.

“Obviously, certain markets are more challenging than others, but at this stage, I’m driving strategy and driving the execution of that strategy. I’m driving transactions – I can’t be very specific but I can tell you that we’re working transactions across all parts of our geographical spread and beyond… we’re constantly looking at potential targets.

“We have a matrix and a head of strategic development and if I looked at the pipeline that she’s managing, I would expect to see between 15 to 20 potential strategic targets. If not I would think she was doing something wrong.

“We are taking the company as far as we can,” Khalek added. Part of what Gama achieves is taking complex requirements and making them run smoothly towards a successful outcome. The U.S. operation of Wheels Up is a classic example. “One of the things we always talk about is the strength of our operational platform and the viability of our business model,” Khalek says.

The company has introduced 55 aircraft over a two-year period flying many sectors and missions every day. “This is a significant, a really significant, increase in our activity level.”