Gama Aviation sells Jet East to West Star Aviation for $131m


The Jet East stand at NBAA BACE has been a popular one. The maintenance company is giving out t-shirts and has been busy all day. But this afternoon it was briefly closed for a staff meeting. The team were told that their company had been bought by West Star Aviation. 

For $131m.

It is a good deal for its owner Gama Aviation and its London Stock Exchange investors. After paying off debt, it will bank $100m. Shareholders will get some of this as a dividend.

“After interest from several parties, we are delighted to have agreed the sale of Jet East to West Star Aviation. I believe the new owner will be an excellent guardian of our valued strategic relationships and, importantly, the people that deliver critical services to our customers every day,” said Marwan Khalek, CEO of Gama Aviation.

Gama Aviation bought Jet East in January 2021. It paid $8.7m in cash and took on $3.2m of debt. It invested in the company. Jet East had sales of $118.2m in 2022 and earnings of $1.3m. Its sales in the first six months of 2023 were up 27%. In 2019 it had sales of $29.5m.

The Sterling Group, the private equity owner of West Star, approached Jet East last year. “This combination represents a truly unique opportunity to bring together two completely complementary businesses in terms of capabilities and geographic footprint,” said Jim Rankin, CEO of West Star Aviation. “Most importantly, the cultures of both organizations proudly prioritize customer service and a commitment to our people.”  

Latham & Watkins was West Star’s legal adviser with Jefferies financial adviser.

“Joining forces with West Star provides so much optimism for everyone involved. As a combined entity, we will be able to provide unparalleled service and support to our collective customer-base with greater depth in providing maintenance solutions,” said Stephen Maiden, CEO of Jet East. “The combination enhances opportunities for our talented workforce as our capabilities increase in size and scope. I am incredibly proud of our team, and the opportunity to partner with West Star is truly amazing,”

Jet East had hoped to tell staff earlier but minor delays meant it had to make the sudden announcement.  

“I would like to thank the entire Jet East team for their considerable efforts and achievements under the leadership of Stephen Maiden,” said Khalek. “We wish them continued success as they embark on their own new chapter.”