Vista Global Holding, based in Dubai, and owner of VistaJet, has agreed to its second major acquisition in 2022, acquiring Jet Edge, a large North American operator.  In business aviation, this is a mega-deal, as Jet Edge, the eighth largest North American operator based on charter and fractional volume, joins the fourth largest operator, Vista Global which operates under VistaJet, XOJet Aviation, Red Wing Aviation, and Talon Air.  

This follows the VistaJet acquisition of Air Hamburg in February, and last week’s celebration of the 100th Global 7500 delivery to VistaJet.  The last few weeks have been quite busy.  

The acquisition of Jet Edge will bring a fleet of about 100 owned and managed aircraft, primarily Gulfstream G450/GIVSPs, Challenger 605s, and super-midsize Challenger 300s.  The deal also brings Jet Edge’s west coast Part 145 maintenance facility into the Vista Jet fold, as well as two branded lounges at Van Nuys and Teterboro airports.

To meet US foreign ownership requirements, XOJet Aviation, in which Vista has a minority stake, will acquire the majority stake of the Part 135 certificates of JetSelect and Western Air Charter. Thomas Flour, Chairman of Vista Global, stated “Vista’s commitment is to provide the most comprehensive range of flying solutions in private aviation. Today’s announcement brings significant value to our clients, with access to a further 100 aircraft, expanding our fleet at a time of unprecedented demand for business aviation services. Our vision is to provide the best services, anytime and anywhere, for every customer. Bringing Jet Edge, the fastest-growing large-cabin and super-mid on-demand company in the U.S., into the group scale up our presence in North America, giving Vista the opportunity to turbocharge growth in the most dynamic business aviation market. It also means expanding our offering and presenting our members with the chance to fly on the largest fleet of Gulfstream aircraft available for charter.”

Increasing Consolidation

To date in 2022, there have been 11 significant transaction announcements:

  • In January, PJS Group parent Elevate Holdings acquired Keystone Aviation
  • In January, KKR invested $75 million in Jet Edge
  • In January, Wheels Up acquired UK-based Air Partner
  • In February, Wheels Up acquired Alante Air Charter
  • In February, Vista Global acquired Air Hamburg
  • In March, Jet Linx acquired Southern Jet
  • In March, Volato acquired Gulf Coast Aviation
  • In March, Grand View Aviation was acquired by Global Medical Response
  • In March, Wheels Up acquired a minority interest in Tropic Ocean Airways
  • In March, AeroVanti acquired Marjet for its Part 135 certificate
  • In March, Vista Global acquired Jet Edge

This could change the list of leading operators in 2022.  In 2021, the largest operators in North America for charter and fractional flight hours were as follows:

  1. Net Jets, Inc. 542,831
  2. Directional/FlexJet 178,327
  3. Wheels Up Experience     166,805
  4. Vista Global   96,200
  5. FlyExclusive   45,617
  6. Plane Sense   42,907
  7. Jet Linx Aviation   42,284
  8. Jet Edge   40,704
  9. Solarius Aviation   39,687
  10. Airshare   20,995

The acquisition of a fast-growing number 8, that is expected to generate more than 60,000 flight hours in 2022 by number 4 Vista Global will bring Vista clearly into the top tier that is chasing Warren Buffet’s NetJets.

When asked about further acquisitions, Flour stated “we can do a combination of new (and used) airplanes when we feel it is opportunistic.  In that context, we’re seeing potential acquisitions where we find opportunities to merge it into the Vista platform.”

In a red-hot business aviation market, consolidation to capture synergies and scale economics will likely continue at a strong pace during the final three quarters of 2022.

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Ernest Arvai
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President AirInsight Group LLC

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