Bello buys majority stake in Longtail
Bermudian-based charter jet operator Longtail Aviation has sold a majority stake to a group of investors led by aviation industry veteran Fabian Bello.
Mr Bello is the chief executive officer of Journey Aviation in Boca Raton, Florida.
The infusion of capital from the acquisition will help Longtail to grow and “to offer the world a viable, first-world aircraft management solution with no passenger seat or maximum weight restrictions”, the company said.
“My partners and I believe our investment will propel Longtail to the next level, and make them the ‘go-to’ operator of choice for large passenger and/or cargo planes,” Mr Bello said.
“We can take on anything from a Boeing 737 or Lineage 1000 to an Airbus 330 or a 747-800 cargo aircraft.”
With the acquisition, Mr Bello will serve as chairman of the board of the entities that own Longtail Aviation, while longtime CEO and accountable manager Marty Amick will continue in those roles.
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Longtail’s history goes back to 1999 when Mark Byrne, the former chairman of Flagstone Re and a fully licensed pilot, set up Island Aviation.
In 2004, the company rebranded as Longtail Aviation and received its Bermuda air operator certificate from the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation.
Longtail remains the only holder of a Bermuda AOC, which means it is the only company with the direct authority to operate charter flights with Bermudian-registered aircraft.
The company operates out of a 70,000 square-foot hangar at LF Wade International Airport.
“Through this acquisition led by Mr Bello, Longtail is now positioned to accommodate any customer, anywhere in the world from their strategic Bermuda location, and establish first-world operations in areas that have traditionally been underutilised,” Longtail stated.
Longtail has operated aircraft ranging in size from turboprops and light jets to Boeing Business Jets, and was the first non-US carrier to achieve the ARG/US Platinum rating, an international charter operator’s safety standard.
Aircraft from many countries are registered in Bermuda. The island’s registry includes 125 private aircraft and 625 commercial aircraft, according to the Bermuda Government website.
“An aircraft which is being registered in Bermuda and added to our AOC does not need to come to Bermuda for its airworthiness inspection,” Martin Amick, Longtail’s CEO, said.
“We believe that this new acquisition and partnership coupled with Mr Bello’s proven track record in aircraft management and his extensive contacts and friends within the industry, will enable Longtail to achieve new levels of success, market penetration and customer service.”
Longtail added that with the growing globalisation of businesses and overall strength of the economy, Mr Bello has identified opportunities to help satisfy the demand for additional aircraft and routes in cargo transport, as well as private aviation.
Mr Bello is founding member of Journey Aviation, one of the world’s top Gulfstream operators. The company manages and charters more than 15 aircraft in the US.
Under his leadership, the company has grown since inception in January 2014 to exceed $150 million in total revenue within its first five years in business.
Mr Bello’s background includes having served in positions including executive vice-president and CEO of an international division as well as CEO of other related aviation companies that operated in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Mr Bello is also known for managing the introduction of Deer Jet’s BBJ and ACJ fleet into the Middle East.
For Mr Bello, his involvement in Longtail represents a personal journey that has taken him full circle.
“Life is very interesting,” Bello stated. “I became known in the market while successfully operating in BBJ/ACJ world almost a decade ago. To have the opportunity to acquire an entity that I started working with and learnt from back then, is truly remarkable.
“It shows that if you focus and consistently do the right thing, at some point, you’ll not only be recognised, but rewarded for it.”
For more information on Journey Aviation, visit www.journeyflight.com
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