Galvin Flying Services, the largest Puget Sound-region headquarters for private aircraft used by people of means, has been purchased by Houston-based Landmark Aviation.
The Landmark purchase will end local control of the 84-year-old Galvin, although former CEO Peter Galvin Anderson is continuing on as a consultant.
The company provided aircraft leasing, mechanical support, fueling and pilot training, operating out of a 20-acre leased site on the east side of Boeing Field, otherwise known as King County International Airport. The company employs 100 people, down from a pre-recession peak of 160, and Anderson hopes the purchase won’t lead to significant job losses.
“We were in an industry that has been very devastated by the recession, and were operating very leanly before the sale,” he said. “Less than a handful of positions are being eliminated.”
He added that the purchaser’s attitude has been collaborative.
“Landmark has come in a very respectful way and seems to value all the employees who are here now,” he said. “I’m expecting the Landmark situation will do nothing but improve the situation for employees there now.”
Landmark, which has 53 locations in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, is one of the world’s largest companies providing these services. Such companies are called “fixed base operators,” referring to the fact that they provide ground-connected support to airborne assets.
The company already had left ownership by the Galvin family, after family members in 2007 sold their stake to Quantem FBO Holdings LLC, a holding company formed by local investors.
Anderson, 61, a nephew of founder Jim Galvin, was at the time kept on as company president. He left that position Feb. 11 after the Landmark acquisition closed, he said.
He acknowledged some emotions about the change, given that he had worked there since he was 16. “It’s a very nostalgic … time for me,” he said.
Anderson now hopes to purchase back his former company’s adjacent Galvin Flight School, which employs 20 of the 100. He said he hoped that might be completed by the end of the year, adding that Landmark does not supply training services.
“Galvin Flying Services has had a very substantial history in the greater Seattle community for several decades,” Anderson said. “At this point, one of my personal real big concerns is for the name Galvin to survive. Landmark is changing the names on most of the buildings.”
In fact, temporary banners already were covering the Galvin name on the principal buildings at Boeing Field.
Anderson said the reasons the family originally sold, and why the acquisition makes sense, are the economies of scale in the fixed-base operator business. These include centralized marketing and accounting, savings in purchases of fuel and related products, and connections between airports.
“As a practical matter, Landmark is expecting to do some additional building of new facilities and expand the ramp area available for aircraft that are visiting, and continue to leverage the fact that they are in so many different locations,” Anderson said.
He added that his role as consultant is to smooth the transition. “Right now, because of my long tenure here, they’re involving me in historical questions and starting to make introductions to people who are well-known to, friends of and supporters of Galvin Flying Services.”
Temporary Landmark manager Brian Byers did not return a phone call.
“The acquisition of Galvin expands our footprint into the Northwest,” said Dan Bucaro, president and CEO of Landmark Aviation, in a statement. “We are looking forward to being a part of the King County general aviation community and building a lasting partnership with the airport authority.”