Two family-owned private aviation management companies have joined forces to pool resources while retaining their dedication to personal service. Chicago-based Priester Aviation announced that they will be merging with Mayo Aviation, which is headquartered in Colorado.
Priester Aviation was founded in 1945 by George Priester. George began his career as a railroad engineer but opened a flight school after WWII. Eight years later, George bought the land that is now Chicago Executive Airport, and George’s son Charlie joined the family business. Over the years, the company has grown and, by 1970, it had evolved into one that manages aircraft and specializes in private travel. The company remains a tight-knit family organization with George’s grandson, Andy, taking over the reins as President and CEO in 2013. Priester Aviation holds a number of safety accreditations, including an ARGUS platinum rating, Wyvern approval, IS-BAO Stage III, and certification from the Air Charter Safety Foundation. The company manages 57 aircraft and has a charter fleet of 19 aircraft, ranging from light to heavy jets.
Just a few months ago Priester announced they were relaunching their Centerline Jet Card program.
Mayo Aviation is also a family company. Founder Gwendolyn Mayo was a pioneer for women in the aviation field and served as the first female chairperson of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). Son Bill now heads up the company, which is based in Englewood, Colorado. Mayo Aviation offers charter services as well as aircraft management and maintenance. Mayo has also shared a long relationship with Flight for Life Colorado, an emergency air medical transport service. Like Priester Aviation, Mayo has an impressive record of excellence and safety. The company operates and maintains 17 aircraft ranging in size from the King Air 200 to the Gulfstream G450.
Bill Mayo and Andy Priester have been friends for several decades, and so, when Priester asked his buddy if he’d be interested in selling, the two realized that it might be a good idea to combine the two companies. After all, both share a similar dedication to family and customer service.
Priester says that Priester Aviation has always defined success not as a focus on the bottom line but “in the service we provide and the relationships we build.” He goes on to say that by uniting the two companies, “We will be able to do more for all of our clients… by preserving and growing the culture of who we are.”
Mayo agrees, saying, “This is not like other acquisitions that have become popular in our industry. The focus of our partnership is honoring and building on the incredible relationship Mayo Aviation has with aircraft owners, team members, and vendor partners. Relationships are the foundation that Mayo and Priester have been built on, and that foundation will continue to be our focus in the future.”
The acquisition is expected to be complete by the end of the year with the companies retaining their individual identities while sharing resources.