Ross Aviation has acquired Island Air, the fixed-base operator at Owens Roberts International Airport and at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac.
Island Air, which started as a service provider to the Cayman Islands aviation community in 1987, will retain its brand name, and Marcus Cumber will continue to oversee daily operations as managing director and partner.
“We are excited to become part of the Ross Aviation network, and our customers can expect the same excellent, consistent customer service in the future as they have enjoyed in years past,” Mr. Cumber said.
Island Air is located next to the general aviation customs and immigration arrivals building, and provides ground-handling, fueling, aircraft storage and other related services. It has a 12,000-sq-ft hangar and also offers aircraft maintenance.
Mr. Cumber, who retains a minority share in the business, explained that Ross Aviation had approached him in the third quarter of last year about the possibility of acquiring or partnering with Island Air.
In contrast to other interested parties, who wanted him to switch to a franchise name and hire overseas management in key positions, Mr. Cumber said, Ross Aviation will retain the local staff and “is committed to keeping Island Air as Cayman as possible.”
Being part of a larger group will yield benefits from the ability to pool resources for better fuel rates, equipment, parts and insurance, he noted.
Because there were no plans by Ross Aviation to make changes from the outset, Mr. Cumber said, the transition had been smooth.
“Changes in reporting, internal policies, training will come to play and it will only make us stronger and able to deliver a better product with safety and customer service in mind,” he added.
In a press statement, Jeff Ross, president and CEO of Ross Aviation said the Cayman Islands is well known for its “superior resorts, the famous Seven Mile Beach, superb restaurants and international banking institutions.
“We are pleased to partner with an FBO [fixed-base operator] with excellent customer service in a vibrant and growing leisure destination.”
Fixed base operator (FBO) is the general term for a commercial enterprise that has been granted the right by an Airports Authority to operate and provide aviation services on that airport.
Mr. Ross, an aviation industry veteran, first founded Ross Aviation in 2004 and grew the business into the fourth-largest chain of fixed base operators in the U.S., until he sold the 20 service providers to Landmark Aviation in 2014.
When Landmark Aviation was absorbed in a merger by Signature Flight Support, the newly formed company was directed by regulators to divest six of the fixed-base operators.
The six locations were picked up in 2016 for $190 million by private equity firm KSL Capital Partners, who selected Mr. Ross to lead the six service providers under the reformed Ross Aviation name.
At the time, Mr. Ross said the plan was to quickly expand the Ross Aviation network to additional locations within the U.S. and internationally.
The company is currently awaiting government approval of its merger with Rectrix Commercial Aviation Services Inc, which services planes at five regional airports in Massachusetts and Florida.
Ross Aviation is based in Denver, Colorado. It is solely focused on serving private aircraft and now provides aeronautical services at eight airports in the U.S. and Cayman.