Next base for the Gama Group is in Asia


Marwen Khalek is looking to establish an Asian base in Hong Kong

Marwan KhalekGama Group is planning to establish its next base in
Asia, Gama group chief executive Marwan Khalek confirmed at the
NBAA, he said “We are building the foundations now with a view to getting
established in Hong Kong in the first half of
2012.” The intention is simply to replicate Gama’s successful business model in
the region and mirror the quality, ethos and service offering of the
international network currently centered in Europe, the Middle East and the USA. Hong
Kong will be the company’s fourth continental/regional base complementing
operations in Europe, North America and the Middle East.  

In the lead up to a full Asian presence, Gama
Aviation has just entered into an exclusive partnership with loyalty programme
Asia Miles to provide business jet services to its 4.1 million members
worldwide.  Asia Miles members can earn miles when chartering
aircraft from Gama’s global fleet and network to connect with airlines such as
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, bringing its bespoke travel services to the most
sophisticated travelers in the Asia

Asia Miles members with onward destinations that are
not serviced by Asia Miles partner airlines can arrange a connecting sector by
business jet with Gama. “We are very pleased to confirm this strategic
agreement to provide frequent flyers of such prestigious international carriers
like Cathay Pacific and Dragonair with a convenient travel solution that suits
their particular needs,” said Marwan Khalek.

Stephen S Y Wong, director and general manager, Asia
Miles said, “Asia Miles strives to bring quality partners to its members and we
believe Gama Aviation’s wide geographical coverage and long established
experience in the private charter business will be very welcomed by our

Whilst Asia will become a key focus for 2012, the
last 12 months in the USA have been spent investing in improving our
capabilities and structures and building up our Part 145/EASA repair station
capabilities and market opportunities at our bases at Stratford, Teterboro and
West Palm Beach. Each base now has the capacity to perform all line and
base maintenance on a robust list of aircraft.  Gama supports Bombardier,
Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft; engine suppliers
Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell as well as instrument and radio
certification on altimeters, static systems and transponders.

Trading conditions in the US market remain competitive, acknowledges
Marwan Khalek in a region where capacity significantly outstrips demand. In such a market he believes further consolidation is inevitable. Gama’s
success in winning tri-zone Wyvern approval earlier this year, however, across
its three continental bases, Europe, USA
and the Middle East has had a strong effect in
boosting cross-continental client sharing. It has helped the group
gain more international clients in Russia,
the Middle East, including Royal family
members and music tour arrangers, for example. Gama offices in the regions
share clients to ensure a consistent level of service and local knowledge means
clients are assured of attention to detail. Gama clients have a fleet of 83
aircraft to experience, based out of Europe, Russia,
the Middle East and Continental USA.

Gama also has the advantage of benefiting from an
international client base.  “We are more keenly aware of our
customers’ expectations than a typical stand alone service centre and we have
28 years’ experience and network to draw on,” says Thomas Connolly, president
of Gama Support in the US.

Gama’s efforts to extend its reach and operations
into the South American market continue to gather pace with the addition of
further aircraft bringing the total managed fleet in the region to six
aircraft.  These contracts are supported from Gama’s US operation
whilst the company continues to evaluate the best regional base and

Gama Group also struck a significant investment last
month with the completion of the purchase of the trade and assets of Mann
Aviation Group Engineering (MAGE), a leading specialist in MRO modification and
support services for a wide range of helicopters serving civil and military
use, plus a number of regional aircraft types. That company’s EASA/FAR 145
operations and Part 21J & G design and production expertise are being
integrated into newly branded Gama Engineering, formerly Lees
Avionics. Coincident with this move, Gama Engineering has moved its
premises from High Wycombe, Berkshire, to take up premises at Fairoaks Airport,
Surrey, UK.

Gama has pledged sizeable investment to restore its
three hangars and establish a burgeoning centre for general aviation,
complementing the Group’s main Farnborough base. 

“This strategic acquisition enables us to harness the
opportunity within the Group to expand our capabilities in defence,
special mission retrofits and modifications.  Importantly, the move takes
Gama into the rotary support side for the first time too,” said Marwan Khalek.