Newsday: Ronkonkoma-based ExcelAire Purchased


"One of Long Island's largest private aviation firms has been acquired by a South Carolina company, in a deal backed by a private equity firm.

While such transactions have often led to job losses, Ronkonkoma-based ExcelAire said it expects the deal will lead to higher revenues and more hiring.

ExcelAire is already expanding its operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport, and its acquisition by Hawthorne Global Aviation Services of Charleston, S.C., on Friday will give it a further lift, ExcelAire President David Rimmer predicted.

"They acquired us so we can continue doing what we do, and grow," Rimmer said Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ExcelAire employs 145 people, Rimmer said. Last year, it signed three 40-year leases at MacArthur. It now occupies 132,000 square feet of space, and it expects to add 32,000 square feet of hangar and office space.

Last year the firm's charter and airplane management revenues rose 15 percent, while its maintenance and its private jet service -- or fixed-base operator -- units held steady, Rimmer said. Dun & Bradstreet pegged its 2011 revenues at $10 million; Rimmer called that figure "wildly inaccurate," and declined to give specifics, but said revenues were between $10 million and $100 million.

This is the first of many acquisitions by Hawthorne, whose plan for a nationwide network of aviation services is backed by Moelis Capital Partners, according to a news release.

Private equity firms expect aviation to take off once the economy recovers, said Bill McShane, vice president for development at Florida-based Sheltair Aviation, which operates a facility at MacArthur."

 (January 2012). Ronkonkoma-based ExcelAire purchased. Newsday. Retrieved January 27, 2012, from