180 jobs saved as helicopter firm sold out of administration

Almost 200 jobs have been saved after a firm which specialises in servicing and maintaining helicopters was bought out of administration.

Specialist Aviation Service, which is based at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton, provides services to air ambulance charities, the emergency services and private businesses.

The company has been operating at a loss for a number of years and specialist advisers were called in last year.

The company has now been sold to Gama Aviation which is based in Farnborough. The deal has meant that all but two of the 184 people who worked for the business have kept their jobs.

Specialist Aviation Services provided helicopter emergency medical services to numerous air ambulance charities across the south of England.

It also provided fleet management and servicing for a range of private organisations both in the UK and in the Middle East where it had operations in Kuwait and in Bahrain.

The company had incurred operating losses for a number of years and had taken steps to address its problems, including seeking new funding.

Specialist advisory firm FRP was appointed in October 2023 to run an accelerated M&A process.

The main aim was to find a solution that ensured the continuation of vital air ambulance operations without disruption.

FRP partners Andrew Sheridan and Jonathan Dunn were appointed joint administrators of the company this week and immediately completed its pre-pack sale to Gama Aviation.

Andrew Sheridan said:  “This was a complex transaction, in the heavily regulated aviation sector, and key parties included aircraft financiers, global OEMs, overseas government contracts and of course the air ambulance charities.

“Without the support of the CAA who mobilised a senior team and worked at speed this transaction could not have happened and we wish to extend our gratitude to them, as well as to the company’s senior management team.

“The goal from the outset of our involvement was to ensure that the vital air ambulance operations continued without disruption, which they did. We take great satisfaction in ensuring that lives continued to be saved throughout the process and wish Gama and its newly acquired operations, highly skilled operatives and pilots, every success in the future.”

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