From AIN: Elevate Holdings, which increased its presence in the charter market and ventured into the MRO arena earlier this year with the acquisition of Keystone Aviation, arrived this week at NBAA-BACE 2022 under the new brand of Elevate Aviation Group. The brand ties together its initial core brokerage, Private Jet Services (PJS), Elevate Jet operation, and Keystone charter and management and MRO operations.
Elevate Aviation Group (Booth 1681) gained a presence in business aviation with PJS, which arranges complex large-group charters and added Elevate Jet in 2017 to grow into Part 135.
The January 2022 acquisition of Keystone from TAC Air brought maintenance operations in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, along with a fleet of managed and charter aircraft. A new business line for Elevate, the maintenance facilities provide a venue to bring certainty for its clients, said founder and CEO Greg Raiff.
At the same time, recognizing that the MRO work extends far beyond Elevate’s fleet, the group split the business out as a separate entity to assure its customer base that they are also a priority, said chief marketing officer Will Dent.
The combined Keystone and Elevate managed fleet is now approaching three dozen with plans to add a Gulfstream G550 and G650 this year. Dent said the fleet represents an array of aircraft types from Embraer Phenom light jets to large cabins.
Elevate also is looking to expand further into aircraft sales consultation. To that end, the company hired Brooke Brown to serve as v-p of sales and acquisitions. “We want the industry to understand what we’re doing here with the rebranding, integration of Keystone Aviation, and spin-off of Keystone MRO that we’re creating a fully integrated aviation services platform for the industry that’s focused on being the right size and not being asset-heavy,” Raiff said. “I genuinely believe that there's room in the market for another platform. Elevate Aviation Group can be that other platform.”
He acknowledged that there are “some great companies” that have diversification, but those are a smaller subset and most are asset-heavy. He believes this gives Elevate an advantage because the “constituency” is more the client than the aircraft on the balance sheet. Dent noted the company “very much wants to grow the business,” but he added at the desire is to take a more measured approach to “stay in that sweet spot.”
In the shorter term, Elevate may look toward the Eastern U.S. for future growth, given Keystone gave it a presence in the West. But over the next four years, Raiff has ambitions to bring a company with more than 200 full-time employees and $200 million in revenues to more than 600 employees and $750 million in revenues.
“We're at the point now where we are building out that next level of platforms so that we can get ready for the next growth stage,” he said. “More than tripling the size of the company in almost as many years isn't an easy thing. It's going to mean, a lot of continued hard work by the team of people that are here and being opportunistic around investing in…new opportunities in our existing lines of business.”
He specified MRO businesses that are complementary and additional aircraft management opportunities that could fold in smaller certificates.