Gama profits flying high after Hangar 8 deal

The firm, which counts the Scottish air ambulance service among its biggest clients, was the target of a reverse takeover by private jet operator Hangar 8 earlier this year

Gama Aviation, which provides aviation services at UK airports including Aberdeen and Glasgow, said yesterday it was focused on potential acquisitions as well as organic growth after profits rocketed in the first half of the year.

The firm, which counts the Scottish air ambulance service among its biggest clients, was the target of a reverse takeover by private jet operator Hangar 8 earlier this year.

That led to plans for new operations and maintenance facility at Aberdeen International Airport to take advantage of an increase in private plane use in the north-east in recent years.

The new site, which Gama said at the time was a “logical yet important step” in strengthening its presence in Scotland, will also support an aircraft under contract to the Scottish Ambulance Service until 2020.

Between 2013 to 2014, the number of private non-commercial aircraft flights at Aberdeen increased from 82 to 178.

Results from Farnborough Airport-based Gama yesterday showed underlying pre-tax profits across the enlarged group surged by 69% to more than £3.1million during the six months to June 30, from a comparable figure of about £1.9million a year earlier.

Revenue was up by 22% in the latest period at just over £126million, from £103.8million previously.

Chief executive Marwan Khalek said the firm had achieved and in some cases exceeded targets set at the time of the Hangar8 deal.

He added: “With the integration now successfully concluded, the management is now fully focused on our strategy of organic growth and strategic acquisitions.

“We continue to trade with a high percentage of contracted revenue and our outlook remains very positive.”

Gama was founded in 1983 by Mr Khalek and Stephen Wright at Fairoaks Airport in Surrey, initially providing aircraft charter services with a single Beech Baron aircraft.

The merger with Hangar 8 created a company with an estimated market capitalisation of £130million, with Gama becoming the new listed stock.

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