Dealmakers 30

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DEALMAKER: noun: A person who is skilled at bringing commercial or political deals to a satisfactory conclusion.

There is a lot of truth in the quote that “nothing happens until someone sells something,” but it is simplistic. The full truth is that nothing happens until a deal closes. Buyers and sellers always have choice and that can mean walking away. A Dealmaker’s job is to make sure that does not happen.

Corporate Jet Investor’s Dealmakers aims to recognise people who get deals done. We have included two types of dealmakers: aircraft dealmakers who make jet transactions happen; and corporate dealmakers - people who are reshaping the market through mergers and acquisitions. The two roles are very different – corporate dealmaking can be judged over decades – but both rely on similar skills.

To research it we canvassed more than 6,000 people and spoke to several hundreds. But the term ‘dealmaker’ is largely qualitative and, although we have tried to use data, please recognise that this list is subjective and please do not take it too seriously.

In this survey, dealmakers are people who initiate deals. This means we have not included key participants like financiers, advisers, lawyers, regulators and others that are essential in getting deals closed.

We may cover these in future listings. But it also reflects the unique role of brokers and aircraft advisers. This list is biased towards larger brokers, which is unfair. There are a lot of very good brokers out there who specialise in certain markets. We could easily have done a list of 50 brokers, so apologies if you just missed out.

There are also good brokers who deliberately chose to be low-profile. Several brokers actually asked not to be listed.

Disagree with our list? We thought you might. We have spent hours on this process, but we are sure that we have missed some key market players (apologies if it is you). Please do not get frustrated or angry without letting us know. We can always add people to the list, please email: [email protected]. As always, all feedback is genuinely welcome.

David Dixon, MBE, FRAeS

Jetcraft Asia, President, Hong Kong

Years selling aircraft: 47 | Market Focus: Large jets | Membership: IADA, Founding member of AsBAA | 2018 deals: 20

Trevor Lambarth

Guardian Jet, Vice President Sales, Europe, UK

Years selling aircraft: 30 years+

Lifetime sales: $3 billion+

Oliver Stone

Colibri Aircraft, Founder, United Kingdom

Market focus: Entry jets to medium jets

Steve Varsano

The Jet Business, Founder, United Kingdom

Years selling aircraft: 39 years | Market focus: Super-mid to VIP Airliner

Simon Burrows

Burrows Aerospace, Managing Director, UK

Years selling aircraft: 17

Guy Burden

EQUUS Global Aviation, Director and Partner, UK

Years selling aircraft: 30

Jonathan Deutsch

Mesotis Jets, CEO and Founder, Austria

Deutsch is a jack of all trades in the business-jet market. He established Mesotis Jets to combine his maintenance programme, sales and MRO experience.

Hamish Harding

Action Aviation, Chairman, Dubai

Aircraft sold in 2018: 25

Rebecca Johnson/ Walter Stark

JetHQ, Vice President of European Sales/ Vice President of UK Sales EMEA

JetHQ IS growing fast. Its founder Garett Jerde established the company in 2012 with the goal of “closing the gap in service between buying a new aircraft from a manufacturer or buying a preowned aircraft.

To achieve this goal, JetHQ has been snapping up business aviation talent left and right these past few years. Rebecca Johnson and Walter Stark are two of them.

Philip Queffelec/ Christian Hatje

Sparfell & Partners, Chairman/CEO, Switzerland

Years transacting aircraft: 31/25

Detlef Keinath

BAS Jets, CEO, Germany

Years selling aircraft: 15

Jeffrey Lowe

Asian Sky Group, Managing Director, Hong Kong

Years selling aircraft: 35 | Years selling business jets: 22

David Best

Jet Aviation, Senior Vice President Strategic Global Growth

Recent investments: Hawker Pacific, hullo Aircrew, Scottsdale Jet Center (Arizona), San Juan FBO at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (Puerto Rico), KLM Jet Centre (Schipol, Amsterdam)

Bjorn Naberhuis

Global Jet Concept, Vice President for Business Development, Geneva

Global Jet Concept was founded 20 years ago in Geneva as an operator but has grown over the years to include offices in Beijing, Madrid, Moscow and Paris.

Richard Gaona

Comlux, Executive Chairman, Zurich

Years selling business jets: 20

Chris Leach/Justin Bowman

Air Charter Service, Chairman/CEO, UK

AT THE END of the war, my father found himself a job at a charter airline, based at a disused airfield. They gave the pilots’ families homes at the airfield itself. One day, my mother said, my father was coming in with an engine out, and she went into labour. So, I was literally born on an airfield,” says Chris Leach, founder of Air Charter Service.

Stefan Duller

Avionmar, Founder, Vienna

Years selling aircraft: 8 | Aircraft sold: 165

Clive Jackson

Alyssum Group, Founder and CEO, UK

Recent mergers: RocketRoute

Tim Barber/Jose Costas

Duncan Aviation, Aircraft Sales and Acquisitions team, UK/Portugal

Years selling aircraft: 10/15

Marwan Khalek

Gama Aviation, CEO, UK

Recent acquisitions/joint ventures: Lotus Aviation Group, aircraft painting at Fort Lauderdale (January 2019), China Aicraft Services Limited (March 2018), Landmark Aviation (January 2017)

KHALEK is a rare CEO who enjoys both buying and integrating companies. The reverse take-over of Hangar8 that took Gama Aviation public followed on from more than 10 other acquisitions when Gama was a private company.

Mark Briffa

Air Partner, CEO, UK

Recent acquisitions: Clockwork Research, SafeSkys, Cabot Aviation, Baines Simmons