Have you ever had a flying lesson? Taken a flight on someone’s plane out of Jersey that didn’t involve waiting in a long line to take your belt off and throw your moisturiser away? If so, you’re either doing very well and going through Gama Aviation, or you have a friend at the Aero Club. If I t’s the latter, you’ll be pleased to know that Jersey Aero Club is flying high once more, and its future looks promising

The Jersey Aero Club has just completed a successful restructuring of its assets and now faces a promising future thanks to local business advisory experts.

The restructuring has been assisted by Grant Thornton’s Restructuring Team led by Alan Roberts, and Marcus Pallot of Carey Olsen who provided legal advice. The Aero Club’s newly formed Committee has established strong procedures to re-develop the Club’s governance, activities and facilities. Despite facing difficult times and the cessation of flight training during the past year, the Club’s members have been very supportive, and membership numbers have remained buoyant.
Like many businesses, clubs and societies, the COVID pandemic hit the Aero Club hard. In May 2020, it had no other choice but to shut its operations. A subsidiary company that operated flight training and managed general aviation operations and the bar and café provision became insolvent and has been wound up.
15 March 2021

 

Alan Roberts, Director of Recovery and Reorganisation at Grant Thornton, who led the Club’s restructuring, said, “There has been a rise in closing some local businesses or reducing their activities due to the economic effect of COVID. The Aero Club remained resolute in its focus on recovering and regaining its financial stability. My team and I are very pleased to have supported the Club in this successful restructuring.”

Carey Olsen partner Marcus Pallot said: “The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by businesses, clubs and organisations worldwide, but I’m pleased to say that following this successful restructuring of its assets, the Jersey Aero Club and its members can look forward to a promising future on solid financial footing.”

On behalf of Ports of Jersey, Robin MacRae, Jersey Airport Director, also added, “We are delighted to see the Jersey Aero Club back in business after what has been a very challenging year. It remains one of the most well-respected private aviation clubs in the British Isles and I am sure that its reopening will be welcome news not only to our local flying community, but to those private pilots off-island looking forward to taking to the skies again and visiting Jersey when circumstances allow. Ports of Jersey will continue to support the Club in whatever way we can, and wish the new team every future success”.

The creation of a new committee secured the robust governance of the Club’s affairs. The working group has produced a business plan that focuses on a future vision, encompassing:
 strong governance,
 firm financial management,
 enhanced provision of services to members and,
 dynamic outreach and participation in the general aviation community.
Derek Fage, Aero Club Chairman, said “Flying training has now recommenced with our new flight training partner Synergy Aviation, and the Club has now re-opened to members who can enjoy the Club’s catering services.

 

In its 70th Anniversary year, the Aero Club is once again financially sound and will remain a stalwart in Jersey’s aviation story for its members and stakeholders for years to come”.
With its 70th Anniversary celebrations fast approaching, the Club is planning a summer re- launch party for its members and other supporting parties in its newly re-decorated club premises.
His Excellency, Sir Stephen Dalton, President of the Aero Club, said, “The Jersey Aero Club has been an intrinsic and vibrant feature of Jersey’s aviation history. I am delighted that, in its 70th Year of operations, the Aero Club now has a reinvigorated and strong foundation and flightpath upon which it will provide Jersey with a modern and effective private flying capability. I wish all involved every success and thank all those who have rallied to its support.”
Now that the Aero Club has re-opened its doors and has a strong and positive vision for its future, it plans for visiting general aviation aircraft to return as soon as international flights re- open later this year.