Modern Aviation – The chain reaction

Modern Aviation – The chain reaction

May 4, 2021 – New York, NY.   Business View Magazine interviews Mark J. Carmen, CEO of Modern Aviation, for our focus on Best Practices at U.S. General Aviation Airports

On December 26, 2018, the operating executives behind Modern Aviation, the “new kid” on the block as far as top-tier fixed base operator (FBO) chains are concerned, announced their acquisition of Gateway USA, LLC at King County International Airport’s Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. It was a bold move and a consistent next step in the expansion of what they promised would be a national network platform of “premier FBO properties”.

It also happened to be their third acquisition in less than a year’s time.

Flash forward to today and the business employs nearly 100 individuals, having weathered the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic with absolutely zero layoffs. They’ve now got their sights set on sustainable development through additional acquisitions.

“Right now, we have three locations: Wilmington, NC; Denver, CO, which is at Centennial Airport; and Seattle, at Boeing Field,” confirms President and CEO, Mark Carmen, who co-founded the company in 2017 with Emmanuel Yapo, a former executive at Atlantic Aviation. “We acquired the bases in three different transactions and we’ve since been trying to grow them by roughly equal amounts. Our acquisition criteria include size – we’re looking for markets that are growing, for business centers as well as leisure centers, or both. And we’re looking to expand our footprint throughout North America and the Caribbean. We’re pretty open-minded about location.”

Backed by Tiger Infrastructure Partners, a middle-market private equity firm with headquarters in New York City, Carmen says they’re actively engaged in consolidating the FBO sector in a way that maintains the right culture and vision. “We want to emphasize high-end customer service, quality, and safety,” he indicates. “We think those are the differentiators in our business, as well as our infrastructure and our facilities.”

Modern Aviation Apa Architectural Rendering Of The New Facility 800

At this point in their evolution, they’re figuring out how to scale that corporate culture as the business grows. “We’re always looking for best practices,” Carmen explains. “We’re extremely focused on safety and have implemented a safety management system at each of our locations. We’re IS-BAH certified with Stage Two certifications at Denver and Seattle, and Stage One in Wilmington. We also have a safety management team focused on compliance with processes and procedures. As a company, we hold quarterly staff meetings for all employees which, for the last year, have been on Zoom because we haven’t been traveling. We are transparent with our team members about the company’s results and plans, and keep our communication open with them, but it’s been tough for them over the last year – being all masked up, with the enhanced cleaning and security protocols. But our team members are very engaged. They care deeply about the company, their colleagues, and our customers.”

The company’s mission statement is a fundamental tool of strategy, focus, and identity in this regard. “We want to treat our customers’ aircraft as if they’re our own,” Carmen shares. “Another unique thing about our business is that it’s very local. We operate a lot like a local business, even though we’re creating a national brand.”

Investing in communities by meeting the specific needs of their local markets is a skill that Modern Aviation is empowered and equipped to deliver authentically. “It could be shuttling organs for transplant or flying people for new business ventures, it could be a vacation or a holiday, it could be a military mission, it could be cargo,” Carmen notes, establishing their versatility when it comes to running the day-to-day operations. “We touch all those different activities, depending on our location. We also do something that’s a bit exceptional in Wilmington. Right off the coast is where military aviators perform a lot of their training exercises. Because a lot of their bases aren’t open on the weekends, we negotiated a contract that authorizes us to conduct rapid refueling on their behalf. Sometimes they call it hot fueling – it allows the crew to get the aircraft refueled without shutting the engine down. We had to get special approvals from the airport, the military, and others to be able to do that because commercial airports normally don’t offer this unique service. The military now can use Wilmington as a training center to catch the crews up on training hours and prepare them for deployments more efficiently, limiting the amount of time they are away from their families. That’s something unique to our Wilmington location and it was what our military customer really wanted.”

In addition to the typical FBO services, Modern Aviation proudly bucks the “one-size-fits-all” approach by providing tailored solutions inspired by the locations themselves, as well as their individual customers’ preferences. By way of example, Carmen says that aircraft sales and acquisitions happen mostly out of Seattle, which is where their brokerage team is located. Wilmington, on the other hand, plays host to flight training programs and community outreach efforts such as the Cape Fear Community College initiative.

“Cape Fear is looking to start an aircraft maintenance program,” Carmen shares. “We’ve written a letter in support of the school, offering our assistance in terms of inviting their students to come, shadow our mechanics, and learn from us. Because, if the college can get this program off the ground, we’ll likely be the ones employing them.”

Modern Aviation already works in partnership with the Carbonfund.org Foundation, a not-for-profit based out of East Aurora, NY, to enable customers at all three of their current network locations to purchase aviation fuel bundled with a carbon-offset. The company is further strengthening its name and brand identity by focusing on state-of-the-art upgrades to its existing portfolio of FBOs.

“In Seattle, we’re doing a two-phase development project,” Carmen confirms. “We’re spending approximately $20 million. Phase One involved building a 40,000-square-foot hangar, which is now done. Phase Two includes a 24,500-square-foot hangar with an attached 7,500 square-foot office building. That’s going to be completed this summer. We’ve also just started a full renovation of our FBO terminal. Every single one of our customers passes through this terminal, so we’re doing a full gut rehab. That’s about a 12-month project that we just kicked off last month.”

Another $20 million expansion at their Denver location will see an entirely new, 7,000-square-foot FBO terminal built, along with two larger hangars (that’s over 52,000 square feet of total hangar space), and 4,000 square feet of attached office space. “And we’re adding 135,000 square feet of new ramp space,” Carmen announces. “The ramp is sort of the equivalent to an airplane hangar, but without the building. The aircraft park there. So, we’re more than doubling our footprint in both Denver and Seattle.”

Denver and Seattle are among the top 20 busiest general aviation airports in the country, and they’re exactly the kinds of growth markets that Modern Aviation is looking to attract. As flight activity continues to surge in the FBO market despite the pandemic’s double blow to flying and the economy, the company’s prospects, as well as the health of the FBO industry supply chain, are just as strong as they were when those two acquisitions were made.

“There are two sides to that coin,” Carmen says. “The commercial activity plummeted with the lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, and it’s still close to 50 percent down from where it was. But the private aviation activity has already rebounded almost to where it was in 2019. The pandemic impacted our volumes on March 16, 2020 – when activity fell off a cliff. It went into a tailspin, a 70 to 80 percent drop. And it was that way through April. In May, things started to turn around. Activities were probably a little over 50 percent down from 2019, but they slowly increased month over month through the end of the year, and that has continued in 2021. They’ve come back significantly now.”

Carmen highlights that what’s interesting about these numbers is the marked lack of business travel. “There are no conventions,” he says. “There are no real sporting events. There aren’t any concerts. And a lot of those teams and attendees fly privately. So, all that business is lost. In addition to that, there isn’t much international flying going on. It’s all been curtailed. So, what we’ve seen is a lot of new entrants in the private aviation industry. A lot of new fliers. And that’s really due to the privacy, security, and health aspects of private aviation – you’re not sharing the plane with people you don’t know.”

It’s a trend that demonstrates that the outbreak of COVID-19 is having vastly different effects on aviation companies. Being on the right side of the draw, Modern Aviation has good opportunities to continue to grow through acquisitions. “As we scale, we create more opportunities for our employees, too,” Carmen concludes. “It’s all part of the same growth plan. There’s a great deal of collaboration happening here, both with corporate team members and those at our locations, and between our locations.”

Contact: Modern Aviation, Emmanuel Yapo, eyapo@modern‐aviation.com.

Modern Aviation Partners with Carbonfund.org Foundation to Offset Aviation Fuel Carbon Emissions

Modern Aviation Partners with Carbonfund.org Foundation to Offset Aviation Fuel Carbon Emissions

October 23, 2019 – New York, NY. Modern Aviation, a leading operator, acquirer and developer of Fixed Base Operations (“FBOs”) announced a partnership with Carbonfund.org Foundation to offer customers an opportunity to offset their carbon emissions as part of their fuel purchases.

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, Modern Aviation has collaborated with Carbonfund.org Foundation to develop a voluntary program to allow customers to purchase aviation fuel bundled with a carbon-offset in top quality verified projects carefully selected by our team with our nonprofit partner Carbonfund.org Foundation. “Modern Aviation is dedicated to excellent corporate responsibility and this is an effort to help achieve a lower-carbon future,” stated Mark Carmen, CEO of Modern Aviation. “To support our customers in mitigating the environmental impact of their flights, Modern is committing to fund 20% of our customers’ contribution to participate in this positive program during the program’s first year,” Carmen added.

“Beginning November 1st, 2019, Modern Aviation customers can elect to seamlessly purchase a carbon-offset for each gallon of fuel they purchase through Modern Aviation, helping to offset the carbon impact of their flight for only a small additional per gallon fee.”

Working with Carbonfund.org, the initial projects Modern Aviation have selected are the Russas-Valparaiso Projects in the Amazon which are forest conservation projects otherwise known as a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). Since CO2 impacts the entire earth, regardless of where it is emitted, reducing a tonne of CO2 in Brazil has the same benefit as reducing a tonne here in the U.S.

“Modern Aviation recognizes that we all need to take responsibility for preventing climate change,” stated Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org Foundation, “We commend their efforts in providing customers the opportunity to mitigate their climate impact via the protection of 170,000 acres of pristine rainforest containing some of the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet.”

The Russas-Valparaiso Projects are a series of forest conservation projects designed to protect 170,000 acres of tropical rainforest. The Russas-Valparaiso Projects will mitigate the release of approximately 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, while also preserving the habitat for an extraordinary amount of biodiversity and directly benefitting local communities. The environmental and community benefits of these Projects include:

• Reduce carbon dioxide emissions
• Mitigate climate change
• Conserve habitat for endangered and threatened species
• Improve local water quality
• Retain top soil and control erosion

The Russas-Valparaiso Projects are verified, certified and audited by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction due to the Projects’ exceptional community benefits.

About Modern Aviation
Modern Aviation is a growing company that is building a national network of premium FBO properties. Modern Aviation’s strategy is to acquire and develop FBO operations in growth markets and to focus on providing exceptional service, extraordinary quality and industry-leading safety. Modern Aviation has secured the backing of the growth-oriented infrastructure private equity fund, Tiger Infrastructure Partners. Modern Aviation is actively engaged in pursuing additional FBO acquisitions and development opportunities in North America and the Caribbean. For more information visit: modern-aviation.com.

About Carbonfund.org Foundation
Carbonfund.org Foundation is a leading US based carbon reduction and offset organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact. Carbon offsets enable anyone to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their everyday lives by supporting high-quality verified renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry projects. Carbonfund.org has worked with over 750,000 individual supporters and 2,000 business and nonprofit partners, together funding 185 carbon reduction and tree-planting projects across 40 states and 20 countries. www.carbonfund.org.

Media Contacts:
Carbonfund.org Foundation: Jarett Emert, jemert@carbonfund.org.
Modern Aviation: Emmanuel Yapo, eyapo@modern-aviation.com.

Modern Aviation Complements Senior Management Team with the Appointment of New  CFO and Controller

Modern Aviation Complements Senior Management Team with the Appointment of New CFO and Controller

September 16, 2019 – New York, NY. Modern Aviation, a leading operator, acquirer and developer of Fixed Base Operations (“FBOs”) and related infrastructure and services, announced that it has appointed Daniel Reinheimer as Chief Financial Officer and Kerry Kampschroeder as Controller.

Prior to Modern Aviation, Mr. Reinheimer worked as the CFO of asTech (a provider of automobile electronic diagnostic solutions). Prior to that, Mr. Reinheimer was the CFO for Hawaii Gas, a company owned by Macquarie Infrastructure Group (NYSE:MIC), and Atlantic Aviation, a FBO services company with approximately 70 FBOs, also owned by MIC. There, Mr. Reinheimer led the Accounting, IT, Risk & Safety, and Communications teams. Previously, as CFO of Dental One, a consortium of dental practices in Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah with over 54 practices, Mr. Reinheimer was responsible for Accounting and IT and worked closely with the Board of Directors. Additional leadership roles at Level 3 and Frontier Communications round out Mr. Reinheimer’s successful career experience.

Mr. Kampschroeder is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and brings more than 20 years of experience in corporate accounting, treasury, auditing and financial reporting. He worked as Corporate Accounting Manager for Mr. Reinheimer from 2009 through 2014 at Atlantic Aviation, and again since 2017 as Controller at asTech.

“We are pleased to welcome Dan and Kerry to the Modern Aviation family, said Modern Aviation CEO, Mark Carmen. “They have developed a great working relationship and we are excited to have their accounting and finance expertise and their deep FBO experience on our team to help Modern as we become a larger player in the FBO industry.” Mr. Reinheimer stated, “I am thrilled to be back in the FBO industry again where I can apply my knowledge to help Modern Aviation achieve its operational and growth objectives. I have been very impressed with the Modern Aviation team, strategy and focus on outstanding customer service, safety and quality.”

Modern Aviation also announced that Melissa Calder, who has been serving as Controller since 2018, will be promoted to Director, Human Resources and Acquisition Integration. Mr. Carmen added, “the rapid and continued growth of our platform has created the need for a senior level resource dedicated to manage our human capital needs and focus on integrating our new acquisitions and employees to Modern Aviation quickly and seamlessly.”

Modern Aviation’s strategy is to acquire and develop FBO operations in growth markets and to focus on providing exceptional service, extraordinary quality and industry-leading safety. Modern Aviation has secured the backing of the growth-oriented infrastructure private equity fund, Tiger Infrastructure Partners. Modern Aviation is actively engaged in pursuing additional FBO acquisitions and development opportunities in North America and the Caribbean.

About Modern Aviation
Modern Aviation is a growing company that is building a national network of premium FBO properties. The management team includes executives from Universal Weather and Aviation and Atlantic Aviation. The Company is backed by Tiger Infrastructure Partners. For more information visit: https://modern-aviation.com.

About Tiger Infrastructure
Tiger Infrastructure Partners is a middle-market private equity firm that invests in growing infrastructure platforms. The firm targets investments in communications, energy, transportation, and related sectors, primarily located in North America and Europe. For more information visit: http://www.tigerinfrastructure.com.

Contact: Modern Aviation, Emmanuel Yapo, eyapo@modern-aviation.com.

Modern Aviation Acquires FBO at Boeing Field in Seattle

Modern Aviation Acquires FBO at Boeing Field in Seattle

December 26, 2018 – New York, NY. Modern Aviation announced that it has acquired Gateway USA, LLC, which operates one of the two main FBOs at Boeing Field (“KBFI”) in Seattle, WA. The Seattle facility, which will be rebranded as Modern Aviation in the first quarter of 2019, is the third FBO acquisition closed in less than 12 months for Modern Aviation, an FBO platform backed by Tiger Infrastructure Partners.

The FBO offers more than 65,000 square feet of hangar space, 18,000 square feet of terminal and officespace, and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services via its Part 145 Repair Station. Gateway is also the exclusive authorized dealer and service center for Quest Kodiak in the Pacific Northwest. Gateway provides high levels of customer service, safety and quality, and has received its IS‐BAH stage IIregistration. Boeing Field is one of the top 20 busiest general aviation airports in the U.S. and is the principal business aviation airport in the greater Seattle, Washington area.

Gateway’s Seattle facility is consistently rated one of the top FBO service providers in the Northwest U.S. according to the AIN Annual FBO Survey and Pilot’s Choice Awards. “Gateway is known for its outstanding customer service, commitment to safety, and its pool of talented employees, making it a perfect fit for the Modern Aviation platform,” said Modern Aviation CEO, Mark Carmen. “Gateway will continue to be led by General Manager Chuck Kegley and his dedicated Seattle team who will continue to deliver the same level of service that customers experience today.”

Carmen added, “Seattle is a highly attractive, growing general aviation market, and we plan to develop Gateway’s additional leasehold directly adjacent to its current facility in 2019 by building 48,000 square feet of additional hangar and office space to service growing demand in the region. Additionally, we look forward to providing industry best practices through Gateway’s team of dedicated employees to benefit all stakeholders at Seattle’s Boeing Field.”

“Gateway, which has been operating at Boeing Field since 2003, has delivered outstanding customer service through our exceptional team of employees,” said Gateway co‐founders Joe Clark and Clay Lacy. “Modern Aviation is well positioned to build on our success at Boeing Field and to further develop the business to reach its full potential. We are confident that Modern will provide a great home for the team and our loyal customer base.”

Modern Aviation’s strategy is to acquire and develop FBO operations in growth markets and to focus on providing exceptional service, extraordinary quality and industry‐leading safety. Modern Aviation has secured the backing of the growth‐oriented infrastructure private equity fund, Tiger Infrastructure Partners. Modern Aviation is actively engaged in pursuing additional FBO acquisitions and development opportunities in North America and the Caribbean. Winston & Strawn acted as legal counsel for Modern Aviation.

About Modern Aviation

Modern Aviation is a growing company that is building a national network of premium FBO properties.  The management team includes executives from Universal Weather and Aviation and Atlantic Aviation.The Company is backed by Tiger Infrastructure Partners. For more information visit: divimodernaviation.dev.cc.

About Tiger Infrastructure

Tiger Infrastructure Partners is a middle‐market private equity firm that invests in growing infrastructure platforms. The firm targets investments in communications, energy, transportation, and related sectors, primarily located in North America and Europe. For more information visit: www.tigerinfrastructure.com.

Contact: Modern Aviation, Emmanuel Yapo, eyapo@modern‐aviation.com.

Modern Aviation Acquires Second FBO Location

Modern Aviation Acquires Second FBO Location

September 17, 2018 – New York, NY. Modern Aviation announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase the assets of XJet Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of XJet World Holdings, LLC, at Centennial Airport (“KAPA”). The Denver facility, which will be rebranded Modern Aviation after the acquisition closes, is the second FBO acquisition in less than 12 months for Modern Aviation, an FBO platform backed by Tiger Infrastructure Partners.

With more than 50,000 square feet of climate-controlled hangar, the facility can accommodate business jets up to a Gulfstream G650, Bombardier Global, Embraer Legacy 600, or Dassault Falcon 7x/8x. The first-class executive terminal features rentable office space, an auto spa and auto storage, a conference room, a crew lounge, private bathrooms with showers and sleep rooms. Located just 15 miles southeast of Denver, Centennial Airport is a top 15 general aviation airport in the U.S. and is the principal business aviation airport in Denver, Colorado.

XJet’s Denver facility is consistently rated one of the top FBO service providers in the U.S. according to the AIN Annual FBO Survey. “XJet is known for its high-quality facilities, outstanding customer service and commitment to safety, which is a perfect fit for the Modern Aviation platform,” said Modern Aviation CEO, Mark Carmen.

Carmen added, “Denver is a highly attractive, growing general aviation market, and we plan to invest in additional infrastructure to create the premier FBO location in the Rocky Mountain region. We intend to immediately expand the ramp to accommodate more traffic and have plans to build out additional hangars on the existing leasehold to service growing demand in the region. Additionally, we look forward to providing industry best practices that benefit all stakeholders at Denver Centennial Airport.”

“XJet built outstanding facilities at APA, and over the last ten years has maintained an incredible track record of delivering exceptional customer service by a team who love what they do,” said XJet founder and CEO, Josh Stewart. “Modern Aviation is well positioned to build on that success and further develop the leasehold to reach its full potential. I’m confident that Modern will provide a great home for the team, and our loyal customer base. XJet will now focus on its European hub at London’s Stansted Airport and expanding its Seven Star Service brand in the MENA region.”

Modern Aviation’s strategy is to acquire and develop FBO operations in growth markets and to focus on providing exceptional service, extraordinary quality and industry-leading safety. Modern Aviation has secured the backing of the growth-oriented infrastructure private equity fund, Tiger Infrastructure Partners. Modern Aviation is actively engaged in pursuing additional FBO acquisitions and development opportunities in North America and the Caribbean.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to satisfaction of conditions including receipt of relevant government and regulatory approvals. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Modern Aviation

Modern Aviation is a growing company that is building a national network of premium FBO properties. The management team includes executives from Universal Weather and Aviation and Atlantic Aviation. The Company is backed by Tiger Infrastructure Partners. For more information visit:  divimodernaviation.dev.cc.

About XJet

Founded in 2007, XJet is a private aviation company providing luxury service to aircraft owners and users. Headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, XJet provides its brand of award winning service from its European hub at London’s Stansted Airport which includes more than 90,000 square feet of dedicated hangar space, that can accommodate two 747 aircraft simultaneously, as well as a 17,000 square foot Club House. www.xjet.com.

About Tiger Infrastructure

Tiger Infrastructure Partners is a middle-market private equity firm that invests in growing infrastructure platforms. The firm targets investments in communications, energy, transportation, and related sectors, primarily located in North America and Europe. For more information visit: www.tigerinfrastructure.com.

Contact: Modern Aviation, Emmanuel Yapo, eyapo@modern-aviation.com.