Marwan Khalek: the strategist

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte January 22, 2015 10:43

Marwan Khalek: the strategist

Marwan Khalek is No. 4 on the Corporate Jet Investor Power List 2015.

With 144 aircraft operating from 44 bases in 15 countries on five continents there are a lot of numbers involved in the merger of Gama Aviation and Hangar8 that closed early in January. But there is another way of looking at it. Hangar8 is the ninth sizeable company that Marwan Khalek’s Gama Aviation has acquired – and now he has access to the equity markets, this is really just the start.

Gama has been one of the few truly global business aviation companies since it acquired the US operations of Privatair in 2007. Although it is often overlooked, Gama is a key part of Wheels Up where it operates all of the companies King Air fleet. Gama delivers on Wheels Up’s (brilliant) marketing.

But while he is happy to acquire companies he is still focused on delivering. “Most importantly you can’t lose sight of the basics – delivering quality and value to money to customers,” says Khalek. “It is great growing and getting new aircraft through the Hangar8 acquisition but worthless if we don’t get the basics right.” “

He has similar feelings with the sudden growth that Wheels Up has given Gama in the US. “Whilst it is very satisfying seeing the new aircraft, this growth is only possible because of the systems we have established through the past 30 years,” says Khalek. “We always thought the business was scaleable and in 2014 we proved it.”

Now that Gama Aviation is listed it has access to more cash allowing it to grow faster. But Khalek is not getting carried away. “What I’m focused on is growing the business in a sustainable way,” he says. “We are looking for more organic growth – by increasing market share – with the potential for further mergers and acquisitions.”

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte January 22, 2015 10:43

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