Fractional jet provider Flexjet and jet card company Sentient Jet, subsidiaries of Directional Aviation, now have a sister company Halo Aviation, a UK helicopter transportation services provider. The transaction follows the acquisition earlier this year of Associated Aircraft Group (AAG), which offers executive Sikorsky helicopter services in northeastern USA.
These moves position Flexjet, Sentient Jet and their sister companies FXAir and PrivateFly to become leaders in vertical flight, further expanding their offerings and global operations.
Halo and AAG both manage fleets of fine helicopters and are leading providers of vertical lift and urban mobility services in their respective nations. This move will inject a new group of customers from Flexjet, the second largest fractional jet provider in the world, and Sentient Jet, which has 8,000 active jet card holders, and will pave the way for an end-to-end travel solution not offered elsewhere, the companies say.
The structure of these companies and their relationships to each other will offer differentiators in the market. From the safety of flying managed fleets to the packaging of end-to-end flight solutions, these acquisitions will rebrand what the private jet traveller will want in a provider.
Directional Aviation principal Kenneth C Ricci says: “My vision is to strategically position each of our flight providers to become a leader in its market. Flexjet is the preeminent global fractional ownership company, Sentient Jet offers the industry's leading jet card and FXAir and PrivateFly have uniquely-positioned offerings in the on-demand charter space. Now, with the acquisition of Halo and AAG, we can add another market to that list: vertical lift.
“First, these acquisitions position us as a leader in the exciting future of vertical lift solutions. Second, they build a core competency in urban mobility operations. Third, they make possible synergies with our other affiliated companies, like Flexjet and Sentient, allowing us to provide a complete aircraft travel solution. During the coming months, we will share with our customers and partners our plans for taking vertical lift services to the next level, perhaps through bolstering the fleet with a manufacturer order, which could lead to a possible combination of powerhouse travel solutions.”
Founded in 2009 by William Fanshawe and Therese Bewsey, Halo Aviation is a helicopter travel services provider with bases in the South of England, around London, in the Midlands and in the Channel Islands.
Headquartered in Cranleigh, Surrey, Halo Aviation serves a clientele of leaders in business, government and other fields as well as leisure travellers, providing connections between airports and city centres and between short-haul domestic destinations such as musical festivals, racecourses and other sports and entertainment events.
While other private aviation companies are expanding into the vertical lift market, it is doing so as aggregators of demand for charter helicopter providers.
In contrast, Directional's recent acquisitions targeted companies with managed fleets, giving them full control of assets and operations, enabling it to ensure that its stringent safety standards are met, that service aligns with the highest standards of quality and that synergies with other companies in Directional Aviation's OneSky family are realised.
OneSky on-demand private jet travel and vertical lift lead Andrew Collins comments: “The acquisitions of Halo and AAG by themselves make us a leader in vertical lift. They also provide the foundation for the future of global mobility, with the capabilities to provide outstanding service on two continents; to provide a platform for the entry into service of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology. In addition, they offer a critical, customer-benefiting differentiator for their fellow OneSky companies, providing the link between airports and final destinations. We look forward to bringing to vertical lift the same commitment to excellence in customer service that we have to our other private aviation markets.”
Halo operates six- and eight-seat Agusta/Leonardo helicopters, including the Agusta AW109 and AW169 models. The Agusta rotorcraft are produced by the helicopter division of Rome-based aerospace company Leonardo, which previously had acquired the Agusta and AgustaWestland brands.
Leonardo continues to produce a range of helicopters for commercial aviation, public service and military use, and manages the full range of operations from development to production to pilot training to after-sales support.
AAG operates the Sikorsky S-76, the longest-running helicopter serving elite clienteles, with more than 40 years and 7.4 million hours of safe flight. AAG offers charter services, the AAG Excalibur Card, which is sold in 10-hour increments, Sikorsky Shares and New York-area airport transfer services. It also offers professional aircraft maintenance and management services for Sikorsky owners.