jetAVIVA buys Jet Quest


Brokers working on deals with jetAVIVA may end up selling more than just an aircraft. The US private equity-backed brokerage is keen to expand by acquiring other aircraft brokers. Yesterday it bought Jet Quest, a leading Citation Jet brokerage.

Jet Quest was founded in 1999 by Robin Eissler and her father, Don Richards, in Georgetown, Texas. Eissler, who was president and CEO of Jet Quest, will become COO of jetAVIVA.

“Jet Quest has, in a relatively short period of time, become very important in one of the key markets that we serve: Citation Jets. We sell more Citations in the world than anyone else and, over the last few years, we have really watched them grow,” says Cyrus Sigari, chairman and CEO of jetAVIVA. “Because we are in the same markets, we have ended up doing a lot of transactions to-gether and we saw a lot of synergies in how we do business and how they approach the market.”

“It sounds like a cliché but we are definitely looking for deals where one plus one exceeds three or four or five.”

This is jetAVIVA’s second merger – in May 2016 it acquired Kansas Aircraft Corporation. Sigari says that they have retained the entire Kansas Aircraft team. “When we buy brokerages, we are looking for companies and individuals who want to be part of a bigger group and grow their business in non-linear ways.

“It sounds like a cliché but we are definitely looking for deals where one plus one exceeds three or four or five. We have definitely been involved in transactions that would not have happened if Kansas Aircraft Corporation had not become part of jetAVIVA. These are transactions that only happened because of individuals working for the same organization.”

With Jet Quest, jetAVIVA now has offices in seven cities across the US. The brokerage says that the combined firms have closed deals with 2,000 customers in 40 countries. Sigari says that he is keen to expand abroad.

JetAVIVA has specialists for each aircraft type and has built a strong reputation with Cessna and Embraer aircraft. Sigari says that it is aiming to replicate this with Beechcraft, Piper Meridian and Bombardier aircraft before moving on to other types.

According to JetAVIVA, JetNet data shows that it has now one of the larger broker-dealers in the world.

“While we are best known for selling light and mid-sized jets, we have been active across many larger cabin markets as well, having recently closed several large cabin Gulfstreams and Embraer products,” says Sigari.

He says that jetAVIVA is regularly buying aircraft for its own inventory. It has several bank facilities and raised $20 million in private equity in 2015. He says that jetAVIVA is confident that it could raise more debt and equity.

When Jetcraft acquired ExecuJet’s sales team in 2013, Alireza Ittihadieh, chairman of Freestream Aircraft Bermuda, said that “buying other brokers is the dumbest, stupidest thing a human being could do”.

But Sigari says that “it all depends on the deal and how it is structured” and adds: “We aim to construct deals that are heads you win, tails you break even. That being said, I am confident that Jet Quest and JetAVIVA will work well together – just as Kansas Aircraft Corporation has.”

Eissler agrees. In a statement, she said: “Building and growing Jet Quest to one of the largest Citation-focused sales firms in the world has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Together, our combined teams are continuing to further jetAVIVA’s vision of becoming the greatest aircraft sales organization in the world.”