Private aviation provider Vista Global Holding announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire AIR HAMBURG’s operating platform and maintenance services. Founded in 2006, AIR HAMBURG is a full-service private aviation company, flying to over 1,000 destinations in Europe alone. It is the largest private jet operator by number of flights across Europe, organising over 18,800 flights for its clients in 2021, and it is second only to Vista in terms of hours flown, recording over 35,000 hours in 2021. As a result, Vista expects an increase of around 30 percent in flight hours (on a combined basis) globally following the completion of the transaction.
Thomas Flohr, Vista’s founder and chairman said: “Today’s announcement brings a renowned institution of the European private aviation market into the Vista group and complements our growth and service offering across Europe and the Middle East. AIR HAMBURG is an impressive, well-established and profitable business with a long-standing track record in best-in-class client service — like Vista, it is known for its reliability and consistency throughout a scaling fleet and high utilisation. Vista’s leading flying solutions, with a business model based on a floating fleet, allows us to implement a quick, seamless integration. This is yet another demonstration of Vista’s unrivalled commitment to ensuring all our Members have access to the best value flying solutions across the world at any given moment. It is incredibly exciting to welcome over 650 highly-skilled new colleagues to become part of the Vista family of experts at one of the most exciting times for our industry. It has been an absolute pleasure to work closely with the leadership team to ensure both companies capitalise fully on the global opportunities within the expanding private aviation market.”
The acquisition will augment Vista’s scale and fleet offering across key strategic regions and brings together two long-established reputable companies with the shared vision of delivering the most reliable and consistent flying solutions and best experiences to their Members. The merger is the latest step in Vista’s relentless transformation of the highly fragmented business aviation ecosystem. Following strong global demand for private aviation services from new and existing clients, the move builds on the recent integrations of Apollo Jets, Talon Air and Red Wing Aviation. In addition to a thriving charter business, Vista will integrate AIR HAMBURG’s world-class EASA Part 145 maintenance hub at Baden Baden Airpark, along with its Executive Handling division and VIP lounge at Hamburg Airport which will be available for Vista members to use.
Floris Helmers, AIR HAMBURG’s CEO and managing director said: “This is an incredible opportunity to remain at the top of the growing business aviation market. Over the last three years we have experienced strong growth, significantly increasing our market share across Europe and beyond. This cooperation between two of the largest operators means increasing our stability and securing further growth for our business, while allowing our team to showcase their strength and competencies to the most sophisticated clientele. We are looking forward to this next chapter in joining the Vista group.”
AIR HAMBURG’s fleet is made up of Lineage 1000E, Falcon 7X, Legacy 600/650/650E, Legacy 500, Praetor 600, Cessna Citation XLS+, Phenom 300/300E and Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft. Some of the fleet is owned by Simon Ebert, Air Hamburg’s owner, and leased to the operator. Others are owned by individuals looking for charter revenue. Ebert has been a key Embraer customer, according to Corporate Jet Investor. Data from WINGX shows that in 2021 Vista Group had a 7.1 percent share of branded jet charter departures and 10.7 percent share of all dedicated charter hours. AIR HAMBURG, which flew 18,800 client flights, had a 2.4 percent share by departures and 3.1 percent share of hours. Air Hamburg would have added 30 percent to Vista’s global flights. This is Vista’s fourth acquisition. It acquired XOJET in 2018, online broker and membership company JetSmarter in 2019, Red Wing in 2020 and charter broker Apollo Jets in 2021, according to Corporate Jet Investor. Apart from JetSmarter, which it acquired to build its technology platform, the rest have all traded under their own brands using Vista systems. This is also the plan with Air Hamburg.