Private Jet Services (PJS) Group is expanding its in-house fleet as parent Elevate Holdings acquires Keystone Aviation. The move brings 13 charter aircraft ranging from large cabin Gulfstream G550s to Pilatus PC-12 turboprops. It is a continuation of the industry’s consolidation moves.
“Elevate Holdings, and Keystone Aviation are both focused on delivering outstanding white-glove service and mission-critical solutions to our clients,” said Greg Raiff, CEO of Elevate Holdings and PJS Group. “We believe the business aviation industry needs a provider large enough to deliver benefits at scale to its clients without sacrificing the personal touch so critical in a high-end service business. Together our teams will continue delivering high-touch experiences with more business aviation options than ever before.”
Elevate had already been building its charter fleet. It currently has five large-cabin Bombardier, Dassault, and Gulfstream aircraft and a super-midsize Citation Sovereign.
The acquisition from TAC Air includes Keystone’s charter, management, and certified aviation maintenance services.
According to the announcement, “The strategic combination unites two well-established aviation companies with extensive international client bases and long histories of serving the business aviation needs of corporate, government, individual and higher education clients.”
Over the past several years, leading players, including Wheels Up, Vista Global, Directional Aviation, Jet Linx Aviation, Jet Edge, and Fly Exclusive, have all engaged in varying levels of M&A activity, including brokers and operators.
Independent brokers say other acquisitions have led the acquired fleets to be reserved mainly for the buyer’s in-house jet card and membership customers. However, Raiff says Keystone and PJS will operate independently.
Aaron Fish, current Keystone Aviation Chief Operating Officer, will lead the new organization as President. Keystone Aviation employees will work alongside the Elevate Holdings team as the companies integrate, while TAC Air “will remain involved as a strategic partner.”
Raif says Elevate is still working out branding. Plans are to use the Elevate name as the holdings company, and Keystone will be the operator. PJS Group will continue as the brokerage unit, focused on ad hoc charter, jet cards, corporate shuttles, live entertainment, and sports team travel.
Raif says the deal will double Elevate’s full-time employees to around 200. He declined to provide sales figures. He classified the acquisition as “the first of many.”
Aircraft under Elevate Holdings management will enjoy preferred access at TAC Air’s 16 U.S-based FBO locations. As a part of the transaction, Keystone Aviation will have dedicated terminals at select airports. SLC flights will operate from a new, dedicated client access terminal at the Salt Lake City International Airport. Additionally, there are lounges at Scottsdale, Ariz., at KSDL, and Provo, Utah, at KPVU.
A key area of synergy will be merging Keystone’s deep experience in management that was focused around several bases with Elevate’s model of managing aircraft at various owner locales. Raif called it, “Like combining peanut butter and chocolate.”