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Flurry of recent deals highlight shifts in FBO ownership

Recent deals in the FBO world show signs of a shifting landscape ahead for aviation fuel providers at airports in the United States and abroad. Among the most aggressive movers has been Modern Aviation. With backing from private-equity firm Tiger Infrastructure Partners, Modern has been growing its holdings of FBOs since February 2018 with the purchase of Air Wilmington at Wilmington International Airport (KILM) before buying others, including XJet Holdings and Gateway USA. In October 2021 alone, Modern closed two noteworthy deals. First, a New York-area buy from FBO giant Sheltair, gaining FBOs at LaGuardia (KLGA), John F. Kennedy (KJFK), Francis Gabreski (KFOK), Republic (KFRG), and Long Island MacArthur (KISP) airports. Modern says it plans to invest further into its infrastructure at the airports and will be hiring Sheltair's employees at those locations with a close on the deal expected by the end of the year. Modern followed that news up with an announcement that it is taking over FBOs at two airports in Puerto Rico, as well as MRO operations, with the purchase of Hill Aviation, a Million Air franchisee. However, Modern Aviation isn't the only company making a splash in the shifting world of FBO ownership. The website of Propeller Airports looks like one of a company that is clearly on the move. The company made a big jump this week, announcing the purchase and anticipated expansion of the Cooke andamp; Key FBO at the Snohomish County Airport (KPAE) near Seattle. These moves come as many FBOs, especially in active markets, bounce back from the COVID-19 shutdown, as the private aircraft market gets hotter, with the charter world revving its engines full throttle. On the global front, General Dynamics subsidiary Air Elite is adding five Jet Aviation locations to its roster. Reporting on the deal, AIN says the upscale FBOs are located in Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, and Austria. Last month, Luxaviation announced it would grow its partnership with Shell to expand its joint FBO venture.
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