PRIVATE AVIATION SEES MAJOR INVESTMENT ON HEELS OF INDUSTRY-WIDE REVENUE GROWTH

 Victor, a London-based charter broker that uses operators like Elite Air to fulfill customer needs, recently received a $10 billion investment from BP.

Victor, a London-based charter broker that uses operators like Elite Air to fulfill customer needs, recently received a $10 billion investment from BP.

As private aviation continues its strong growth coming out of the 2008 recession, investors are pouring increasing amounts of money into the industry.

Oil giant BP late last year announced a $10 billion investment in London-based private charter broker Victor, which uses approximately 100 part-135 operators, including Elite Air, to fulfill its clients’ needs.

“The digital revolution is changing the face of the energy industry, and BP is at the forefront,” David Gilmour, vice-president of BP technology business development, said in a statement. “We’ve now completed five deals in less than a year, and Victor aligns with our priorities around digital innovation and low carbon.”

Victor, which reported $39 million in revenues in 2016 and about $60 million last year, is just one of many private aviation companies seeing renewed interest as the economy ramps back up. JetSmarter, another online marketplace for chartered aircraft and a frequent customer of Elite Air, has been on a fundraising roll—the company has raised more than $100 million in roughly the last calendar year. And the owner of now-defunct Blue Star Jets has taken over StarJets International in the hopes of raising revenues to more than $100 million, according to Forbes.

Not all of the investments have borne fruit. Forbes also reports Zetta Jet, a Singapore based charter operator, filed for bankruptcy last September due to an unsustainable business model and alleged fraud among its top-level executives.

“I am more and more convinced that just as starting a commercial airline attracted alpha entrepreneurs during the 1980s and ‘90s, private aviation today is now luring the rich, famous and infamous who see it as both an opportunity and a lifestyle, sometimes both,” said Doug Gollan, Forbes contributor and aviation industry expert. But Gollan goes on to say that “clearly, getting to profitability and having a presence in the private aviation business, whether one actually owns and operates jets or is brokering them, is not easy.”