To expand its fixed-base operator (FBO) facilities at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport, the Baton Rouge Jet Center—also known as BTR Jet—announced it will acquire its competitor Executive Aviation (EA) this summer through an asset purchase.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Once complete, BTR Jet plans to invest $3 million into the construction of a new, 5,000-square-foot FBO operations facility, as well as three new hangars—comprising some 45,000 square feet of space—with high doors to accommodate larger jets than can currently be housed in Baton Rouge.
Construction of the facility, estimated to wrap in one year, will allow BTR Jet to relocate its operations to the EA site, while also retaining some operations at its current facility.
Since opening at BTR in 2015, BTR Jet has provided fuel for private aircraft, becoming the top FBO in the field in terms of the number of aviation gallons sold to general aviation customers (800,000). The company was launched by five local executives who share a private turboprop plane, including: Richard Lipsey, chairman of Lipsey’s; Laurie Aronson, Lipsey’s daughter and the president of Lipsey’s as well as Haspel’s, the family-owned clothing manufacturer; personal injury attorney Gordon McKernan; investor and financial advisor David Weinstein; and Taylor Porter attorney Brett Furr.
“We have rapidly outgrown our facilities and have much need for expansion,” Furr, the company’s president, says in a prepared statement. “The customer base for BTR Jet and EA should anticipate a smooth transition once the merger has begun.”
Meanwhile, EA was founded by Newton Thomas in 1973, making it the oldest FBO at the Baton Rouge airport.
In another prepared statement, John Schempf, president of EA’s parent company The Newtron Group, says the deal represents “a positive for both buyer and seller,” as The Newtron Group wants to focus more on its core construction business.
A BTR Jet spokesperson expects the merger, once complete, to bring the company’s headcount to 12-15 employees, with plans to hire more people after the new FBO opens.