Nuremberg-based FAI Aviation Group is celebrating 30 years of business jet operations. Founded in 1987 as a private repatriation club flying helicopters, FAI moved into business jets two years later.
Over the past three decades, FAI has grown its fixed wing fleet from one Citation 500, one Eurocopter AS 350 and one Airbus BK 117, to 25 jets altogether. Its air ambulance business has logged more than 200,000 total hours of missions over 30 years, and the combined fleet performed more than 13,500 hours in 2018 alone.
Founder and chairman Siegfried Axtmann comments: “Reaching 30 years is a great achievement for our company and I am very proud of how far we have come. The company's growth and success is testament to our commitment to safety, service and continued investment. It also highlights the importance of our tremendous team of people, now 200-strong, who have made our business what it is today. I look forward to continuing to grow our business to meet the needs of our customers.”
Endorsing FAI's success, founding partner of Switzerland-based Vertis Aviation Jeffrey Emmenis says: “We value responsiveness, dependability and knowledge. As an operator that strives to deliver the same high quality of standards consistently as we do, FAI is one of our go-to operators. Siegfried and his team have been consistently supportive of our business and remain the consummate professionals. We salute them on their 30-year anniversary and look forward to working with them in decades to come.”
Since its launch, company growth was helped with the acquisition of a small repatriation business focusing on the air ambulance market. That same year, the company also purchased a Cessna Citation 500, followed by two Falcon 20s two years later. In 2004 it expanded into special mission services in hostile areas for the world's largest NGO.
In 2011, with revenues in excess of 50 million euros for the first time, the company inaugurated new headquarters at Albrecht Dürer airport. It expanded again in 2012 with the launch of a dedicated MRO division, FAI Technik, and in 2014 it opened a second maintenance hangar 7. 2017 saw the inauguration of its latest 4,500 sqm hangar 8. Together the three hangars represent the largest general aviation hangar complex in Germany, capable of accommodating up to four BBJ's or ACJ's at the same time.
Today FAI has revenues in excess of 80 million euros. It has offices in Dubai and Miami, Florida and is a market leader in fixed wing air ambulance operations. Last year, the company was further strengthened by a significant minority stake investment by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain, further opening up the Middle East market.
Recent new collaborations have seen FAI working with group purchasing organisation Convolus, now AVIAA, and inflight broadband provider Gogo. AVIAA managing director EMEA Irena Deville adds: “In its 30 years of operation, FAI has grown into, and firmly established itself, as an operator that always strives to do better operationally, commercially and financially. It is no surprise it saw AVIAA's potential early on and we are extremely proud to be working with the forward thinking, energetic FAI team.”
Additionally, in January 2018, FAI became an authorised Collins Aerospace distributor for avionics and cabin electronics equipment. Last month, FAI Technik started work on its sixth in-house Global Express cabin refurbishment, one of the most extensive refurbishment projects for the type. Named 'Project Pearl', it includes 60, 120- and 240-month inspections and features Collins' Venue cabin management system and high definition entertainment system.
FAI welcomed its seventh Bombardier Global Express in February making it one of Europe's largest Bombardier fleet operators and consequently bringing significant operational and cost benefits. The fleet now also comprises five Challenger 604s, one Challenger 850, 11 Learjet 60s, one Premier 1A and one King Air 350.