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West Star Aviation
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West Star is sold to The Sterling Group
The Sterling Group has completed its acquisition of West Star Aviation. The team’s experience in aviation and its plentiful resources will help make West Star’s aggressive expansion plans a reality.
West Star CEO Jim Rankin.

US business aviation MRO West Star Aviation has been acquired by operationally-focused middle market private equity firm The Sterling Group from the previous investor Norwest Equity Partners (NEP).

West Star provides services at four primary locations in East Alton, Illinois; Grand Junction, Colorado; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Perryville, Missouri, and has fifteen mobile repair bases and satellite MRO facilities. The company also provides parts distribution and composite repair services through its Avant Aerospace and Dallas Aeronautical Services businesses respectively.

Sterling has deep experience in the business aviation industry, having previously partnered with entrepreneur owners to build Lynx, an FBO network that was recently sold to Atlantic Aviation. The Sterling Group partner Greg Elliott has been involved in building several business aviation platforms in the past 20 years, as either chairman or board member of Lynx, Encore, Trajen and Landmark Aviation.

“We believe that our experience coupled with West Star's industry-leading customer service capabilities will make us a powerful combination,” says Elliott. “Jim Rankin has built a stellar leadership team, and we are eager to help accelerate their growth plans.”

“Sterling's employee-focused approach to its business partnerships and its expertise in the general aviation space make it the perfect fit for West Star,” says West Star CEO Jim Rankin. “As we enter our 75th year, the combined efforts of our experienced employees, our founders and now the Sterling team will allow West Star to continue to offer the best customer experience in the industry.”

Over the course of NEP’s six year investment period, West Star achieved sustainable growth across several fronts, including 92 per cent revenue growth, 90 per cent EBITDA growth and a doubling of its employee headcount. Five add-on acquisitions helped supplement organic growth initiatives, expanding both geographic footprint and service offerings for customers: Flite Components, MSP Aero, Autumn Aviation, Avant Aerospace and Dallas Aeronautical Services.

“It has been very rewarding to work with Jim, the previous founders and the entire management team. They've built a great culture, and the team knows how to work together to execute on growth initiatives,” says NEP partner Todd Solow. “With Jim’s strategic leadership, the company achieved outstanding growth across multiple fronts, including scaling a one-stop state-of-the-art evergreen location in Chattanooga, creating West Star’s third major onsite location for MRO services in the country. The entire NEP team wishes West Star well, especially as the company celebrates its 75th anniversary, and knows the company is in great hands for future success with Sterling.”

“NEP was steadfast in its partnership with our business, supporting our collective vision and helping to identify multiple ways in which our business could grow. NEP understood and shared our focus on enhancing our great culture and providing excellent customer service. The combination of NEP’s capital, strategic insight and extensive resources, which included among others, operating partner Mike Gerend, guided us to a place where we can take it to the next level with the Sterling team,” says Rankin.

Other News
 
West Star restructures executive leadership
June 11, 2024
CEO Jim Rankin has been named executive chairman of the board, while Stephen Maiden is appointed his successor as CEO and current COO Allen McReynolds adds president to his title.
West Star starts Starlink installations
May 24, 2024
Perkins takes lead for enterprise quality control at West Star
April 26, 2024
As director of quality control for the enterprise segment, Josh Perkins will oversee the four main full-service facilities at St Louis Regional airport, Lovell Field, Grand Junction Regional airport and Perryville.
West Star brings in Thompson at Lovell
April 3, 2024
Brandt to oversee Challengers in Missouri for West Star
March 24, 2024
Zach Brandt started as a project administrator with West Star and progressed his career to lead, aircraft maintenance technician/challenger before his current promotion as a Challenger project manager.
West Star takes FAA Diamond Award of Excellence at multiple locations
February 24, 2024