Media Release: Sir Peter Rigby’s aviation group acquires Coventry Airport

THE strategic acquisition will create a vibrant, commercial regional hub for General Aviation, including leisure, business and freight; with passenger flights amongst possible future plans, alongside creating more jobs.

It dovetails with the group’s extensive national flight training, charter, sales and engineering operations.

The deal firmly establishes Patriot’s status as a leading and fast growing General Aviation specialist in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

“I’m truly excited to be launching a new era in the long history of Coventry Airport. Not only is this acquisition the next logical step in the development of Patriot Aerospace as a leading General Aviation player, but it is also essential in supporting the local economy and future of the region. I am proud to play a part in ensuring the region has access to first class flying facilities, for many years to come,” said Sir Peter Rigby.

A vocal champion for the region, Sir Peter early recognised Coventry Airport’s potential and synergies with his own businesses, and he has worked proactively with Coventry City Council, the airport’s tenants and customers to create this opportunity for a sustainable future.

Cllr Ken Taylor, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “This is excellent news for Coventry and the sub region. We are an ambitious city with so many plans for growth and regeneration and having a successful airport is an integral part of those plans.

“The development of the airport will provide a massive economic boost across the city and the region. I’m delighted we have been able to work with Sir Peter Rigby’s Patriot Aerospace to secure the long term future of the airport.

“Sir Peter is a great champion for the Midlands and we are looking forward to working closely together over the coming years.”

Sir Peter added: “Coventry Airport is located in the centre of the country and we’ll maintain a full air traffic service and capability to continue handling a wide range of GA traffic, including business jets, cargo, light aircraft and helicopters. I would like to think that in the future I can also bring in some scheduled flights.

“The airport sector and aviation in general have had a difficult few years, however, I expect it will pick up in line with an overall economic recovery and the region will be better positioned to benefit from this with a well managed local airport,” Sir Peter added.

Most of the existing tenants, whose businesses have been under threat of closure since last December, can now look forward to a brighter future.

“We will work hard to attract both flyers and suppliers to base themselves at Coventry, sustaining and creating new employment opportunities.” said Sir Peter.

The airport purchase is the third of a series of acquisitions made by Patriot in the past year.

Says a spokesperson: “In July 2009, the group acquired Heliflight (UK) Limited, one of the UK’s foremost helicopter charter and flight training organisations, based at Gloucester and Wolverhampton.

“While December 2009 saw the acquisition of a long-established helicopter charter and engineering specialist, London Helicopter Centres, based at Redhill, and Eniskillen, Northern Ireland. Patriot also holds the strategically important Cessna and Schweizer distributorships for the UK and Northern Ireland.

“Sir Peter has a long track record of investing in the West Midlands region where he is a major employer and vocal champion. His international technology group, SCH plc has its headquarters and main campus in Birmingham while his luxury country hotel group, the Eden Collection, owns Mallory Court in Leamington Spa and is joint venturing with the Royal Shakespeare Company to re-open Stratford-Upon Avon’s Arden hotel, later this year.”


Notes to Editors

About Patriot Aerospace Group

Formally known as Patriot Aviation, the Patriot Aerospace Group is a leading General Aviation specialist, in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. With operations spanning a full range of national flight training, charter, sales and engineering operations, the group combines three distinct brands, each recognised as experts in their field. It operates from five air bases: Cranfield, Enniskillen, Gloucester, Redhill and Wolverhampton, to which it is now adding Coventry.

Patriot Aerospace operates through three specialist aviation businesses: Patriot Aviation, Heliflight and London Helicopter Centres. Through these brands, customers have access to a nationwide and end to end general aviation service, including learning to fly, buying or chartering; refurbishment, avionics, engineering and maintenance; and affordable access to VIP business and leisure helicopter charter.

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About Sir Peter Rigby

Sir Peter Rigby is a high profile business leader and one of the UK’s top entrepreneurs with an international outlook and experience of working on a European and global basis. He is a regional ambassador, vocal champion and a major employer in the Midlands and has his international business headquarters in Birmingham.

Knighted in the Queen’s Jubilee honours for services to information technology and business in the community, Sir Peter is a recognised leader in the field of I.T. He founded, owns and chairs one of the UK’s top ten largest privately owned companies, the SCH group. It employs some 7,000 professionals based in seven European countries, with associated relationships around the world. He created this business from scratch in 1975, with a £2,000 investment, and its present annual turnover is £2.5 billion.

Sir Peter’s business interests have further developed around an interest in and passion for aviation and hospitality. He owns the Eden Group of Country House hotels and the fast growing aviation group, Patriot Aerospace. He is an enthusiastic and experienced fixed wing and helicopter pilot. His charitable foundation was established some 15 years ago (The Rigby Foundation) and he is chair and patron or trustee of several major charities.

For more information/ images contact:

Judy Groves: / Mobile 07976 014 100 / Tel 0121 766 2594

Louise Acton: / Mobile 07595 355 938

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