This top 25 private jet operator could be sold

Charter and medical operator GrandView Aviation is quietly being shopped two years after it was bought by Global Medical Response.

By Doug Gollan, June 14, 2024

M&A activity in the fractional and charter market could be ready to see a resurgence with top 25 operator GrandView Aviation; multiple sources tell Private Jet Card Comparisons.

Sources say there isn’t an official sale process; however, discussions with potential buyers started in October 2023.

KKR-backed evacuation specialist Global Medical Response acquired the Maryland-based operator in March 2022.

The terms of that deal were not announced, but persons with knowledge say it was in the $250 million range.

The transaction included its 130 employees and its 17 Phenom 300 light jets fleet.

A spokesperson for the flight provider declined to comment on the possibility of a sale.

However, he added, “[T]he mission of GrandView Aviation and GrandView Transplant are to set a new standard in private aviation and transplant transportation. As part of that commitment, we remain open to conversations with organizations who share our dedication to phenomenal safety, service, comfort, and convenience and to saving lives through timely organ transport. Our fierce commitment to our customers, patients and employees means we are always interested in better ways to work together to serve them.”

Back on the market?

The first quarter of 2022 was a frenzied period.

GrandView was one of a dozen M&A deals in the first 90 days of the year (table below), including six announced in March 2022 alone.

Vista Global announced agreements to buy Jet Edge and Air Hamburg. Wheels Up bought Air Partner and Alante Air Charter, plus took a stake in Tropic Ocean Airways. PJS Group parent Elevate Holding bought Keystone Aviation. Jet Linx acquired Southern Jet, and Volato acquired Gulf Coast Aviation.

90 Days of Deals: Back to Q1 2022

Provider Timing What’s the deal?
Vista Global March 2022 Vista Global agrees to acquire Jet Edge
AeroVanti March 2022 AeroVanti acquires Arizona-based Part 135 operator Marjet for its certificate.
Wheels Up March 2022 Wheels Up takes a minority interest in seaplane operator Tropic Ocean Airways.
GrandView Aviation March 2022 GrandView Aviation was acquired by Global Medical Response
Volato March 2022 Volato acquires Houston-based Gulf Coast Aviation
Jet Linx March 2022 Jet Linx acquires Boca Raton-based Southern Jet
Vista Global Feb. 2022 Vista Global agrees to acquire private jet charter operator Air Hamburg
Wheels Up Feb. 2022 Wheels Up acquires light jet operator Alante Air Charter
Wheels Up Jan. 2022 Wheels Up agrees to acquire U.K.-based aviation services company Air Partner for $107 million.
Jet Edge Jan. 2022 KKR invests $75 million in top 10 charter operator Jet Edge
Elevate Holdings Jan. 2022 PJS Group parent Elevate Holdings acquires Keystone Aviation.

Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons

Since then, the M&A cooled considerably as SPACs took center stage.

At the same time, demand slipped from a period when some flight providers stopped accepting new customers.

One sign of backtracking came last year, when Airshare bought the aircraft management arm of Wheels Up, unwinding the latter’s supermarket of private aviation strategy.

Delta Air LInes-backed Wheels Up also shed its preowned aircraft sales unit.

GrandView may not be alone. Rumors abound about who’s for sale, who’s buying, and who’s selling.

About GrandView Aviation

In addition to an as-available jet card and on-demand charter, GrandView grew quickly in the past decade from its origins as a helicopter operator focusing on organ transplants.

It opened bases nationwide, positioning Phenom 300s in Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Scottsdale, Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston.

While GrandView has only a small jet card program, if it is sold, it could impact the wholesale market. Its Phenom 300s are popular with brokers.

Several brokers lauded GrandView.

One said, “GrandView is a top-quality operator. They have a great fleet and are a great partner.”

The brokers believe regardless of what happens at GrandView; its fleet will be available on the charter market.

Before shutting down last year, Jet It announced plans to set up a preowned fractional program with the Phenom 300. It had also acquired two Embraer light jets before ceasing operations.

Its former CEO, Glenn Gonzales, is thought to be one of the suitors for GrandView.

Gonzales did not return several phone messages.

READ: Why preowned fractional ownership could be hot in 2024

WingX data shows GrandView flight activity through May was up 1.6% year-over-year and just 0.7% down from the peak of 2022.

The operator ranked as the 24th largest among fractional and charter operators in 2023, down two slots, per our Top 30 list using data from Argus.

WingX shows GrandView flying was 189.9% ahead of 2019 levels year-to-date through May.

According to Amstat, it currently has 17 Phenom 300s with vintages from 2012 through 2022.

There is also a King Air C90 and Bell 407 helicopter.

According to the Global Medical Response website, it operates 122 fixed-wing aircraft and 380 helicopters. It has over 35,000 employees.

What happened?

Why would Global Medical buy GrandView only to turn around and sell it?

In 2022, the preowned market had a record-low inventory. Buyers were scrambling to find anything available for sale.

Retail deals were closed without the standard pre-buy inspections, and some say corporate deals were being done with a comparable lack of scrutiny.

One source believes the pricey and newer Phenom 300s are not competitive in the current medical market, where cheaper and older aircraft are the norm.

Another challenge, the source said, is the type of pilot who flies for air ambulances and organ donor flights.

Those flights can be on short notice at all hours of the day or night.

The more typical private jet charter flights operate during the day and evening, not overnight.

Global Medical is privately held.

In May, Bloomberg reported that investor KKR & Co. sought to refinance $4 billion of the company’s debt.

Last month, Global Medical announced it had closed a “comprehensive refinancing transaction that provides meaningful new equity investment from existing and new investors.”

The deal “significantly reduces the company’s debt and extends existing debt maturities to October 2028.”

Global Medical bills itself as an “industry-leading air, ground, specialty, and residential fire services and managed medical transportation organization.”

Sources suggest that if a deal goes through, the sale price will be less than half the purchase price.

READ: Buying a Private Jet step-by-step for first-timers

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