Mumbai-based aviation maintenance service provider Air Works India Engineering Pvt. Ltd has paid Rs120 crore for an stake in Dubai-based privately-held Empire Aviation Group (EAG).
Formed in Dubai in 2007 by the existing management team and co-founders of the company, Paras Dhamecha and Steve Hartley, Empire Aviation is a one-stop shop for integrated private aviation services offering aircraft sales, aircraft management, aircraft charter, and aircraft finance and insurance.
The company has more than 100 employees and operates one of the region's largest managed fleets of business jets, with 20 aircraft under management, operating from Dubai International Airport.
Gurgaon, Haryana-based Air Works said that the partnership can build a strong franchise in the emerging aviation markets of India and the Middle East.
Post acquisition, Empire plans to launch its services initially in Bangalore in about eight weeks and later in other cities India.
''EAG already has two clients in India. There is a huge opportunity in India and the company plans to invest $5 million (Rs28 crore) in two years,'' said Vivek Gour, managing director at Air Works.
Founded in 1951, closely-held Air Works India is the country's largest provider of maintenance services for business aircraft. It is qualified to maintain 50 aircraft types, and has over 100 customers across 15 maintenance locations in India.
Air Works was founded by aviation maintenance professionals B G Menon and P S Menon, who along with employees, own 28.90 per cent of the company. Private equity firms New Enterprise Associates and GTI Capital Group own 51.51 per cent and Punj Lloyd Ltd 19.58 per cent.
Air Works is India's only EASA certified MRO with approvals for ATR 42/72, Airbus A320, and Boeing 737 Classic/NG series of Aircraft. With a strong network of OEM relationships, Air Works is an authorised service centre for Agusta Westland, Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, Garmin, Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins.
Through its Air Livery subsidiary, Air Works is one of Europe's largest providers of aircraft paint services. It also has a joint venture with Scandinavian Avionics, Denmark, which provides turnkey avionics solutions to both commercial and military customers in India.
EAG co-founder and executive director, Dhamecha said, ''Since formation in 2007, EAG has successfully built a strong regional aviation business and grown revenues and profit every year. We have also recently been looking at the exciting potential of the Indian aviation market and opened our first branch office there in 2011.''
Hartley, co-founder and executive director of EAG, said, ''This partnership with Air Works will help EAG to broaden our business base and service offering in the Middle East and India – and beyond. The timing is absolutely right as the global aviation sector recovers and this move will help accelerate EAG's growth and development as a regional and international player in private aviation.''