New Owner: JetDirect Will Be Wayfarer

Kerry Lynch

Financially beleaguered JetDirect Aviation, Inc. finally came under new ownership after the investment group JDA Acquisition Corp. (JDAAC) late last week completed the purchase of the charter and management specialist. JDAAC, led by Brantley Partners, had signed an initial agreement to purchase JetDirect in February, but a series of delays, including an employee lawsuit (BA, April 13/ 171), held off the completion of the deal until Friday. In the interim, Sovereign Bank foreclosed on JetDirect.

Robert Pinkas, the managing partner of Brantley Partners who is the chairman of the new entity, told employees, "It is unfortunate that [the legal challenges] became a distraction to the organization, but with that behind us we can focus on the task of running and building our new business."

Under new ownership, the company will operate as "Wayfarer Aviation, Inc.," tracing back to the early days when it was Rockefeller owned. The named changed after TAG Aviation USA acquired the entity. "The original Wayfarer Aviation was one of the very first and most highly regarded corporate aircraft management companies in our industry, with roots going back to the 1950s," said Pinkas. "It became a part of JetDirect Aviation through acquisition, and its operating model is very much a part of our corporate DNA."

Wayfarer will operate under the existing aviation service model, and FAA has issued the Part 135 air charter certificate, the company said. "More than two-thirds of the Wayfarer fleet are available for charter, with 75 aircraft expected on its operating specifications," the company said.

Offer letters were sent to the management team of JetDirect Aviation, which included the former managers of TAG Aviation USA and The Air Group. Gregory Campbell, the former chairman and chief executive of JetDirect Holdings and an investor in JDAAC, is not moving over to the new company.

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