General Dynamics takes over Jet Aviation
US corporation General Dynamics yesterday sealed a deal to acquire Swiss-based Jet Aviation, one of the world’s leading providers of VIP aircraft completions. GD first announced its intentions in August.
Jet Aviation, which recently won a contract to complete the world’s first VIP Airbus A350s, will operate as a new business unit within General Dynamics’ aerospace group. The current management, headed by general manager Norbert Marx, remains in place.
The move signals a subtle shift in the balance of top-end completions power between North America and Europe. Following GD’s acquisition of Jet Aviation, three of the top five providers now owe allegiance to the USA: Associated Air Centre and Gore Design Completions are Texas-based, leaving Lufthansa Technik and the newly created AMAC at Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport to fly the flag for Europe.
GD paid SwFr2.45 billion ($2.18 billion) for Jet Aviation. Founded in 1967, the company has about 5,600 employees in 25 airport facilities throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America. As well as completions and refurbishments, it offers maintenance, repair and overhaul, engineering, fixed-base operations, aircraft management, flight support and global charters, and aircraft sales, acquisitions and personnel services.
The logic of the acquisition is clear. Falls Church, Virginia-headquartered GD owns Gulfstream Aerospace, one of the leading manufacturers of top-end business jets, while Jet Aviation already has a substantial US presence through its subsidiaries Midcoast Aviation in St Louis and Savannah Air Centre in Georgia. Jet Aviation is also well placed to provide connectivity for Gulfstream customers, having signed up earlier this year to offer its customers the OnAir onboard mobile phone service.