Marwan Khalek, Gama Aviation Plc founder acclaimed for outstanding services to general and business aviation

Friday 11th March 2022

  • BBGA logo
  • 'Marwan Khalek, Gama Aviation Plc founder acclaimed for outstanding services to general and bus

Marwan Khalek, co-founder of Gama Aviation, entrepreneur and prolific crusader of on demand aviation is this year’s recipient of the British Business Aviation Association’s prestigious Michael Wheatley Award for Outstanding Services to the general aviation industry.  BBGA Deputy Chair Alex Durand presented him with the accolade at the Association’s annual conference and AGM on 10 March at Luton Hoo.


Marwan is a respected,  successful entrepreneur with a proven track record over nearly four decades.  Together with business partner Steve Wright, he has evolved Gama Aviation from a  fledgling air taxi business in the early 80s to a global aviation services group spanning business aviation, special mission, technology and outsource sectors, employing 1,000 people.


BBGA Chair Aoife O’Sullivan  praised Marwan for his  exemplary leadership, not just at Gama, but to the wider industry.   “ Our Association has benefited greatly from Marwan’s knowledge and expertise over many years, for which we are very grateful.  On a personal basis, I have enjoyed his infuriating ability to put lawyers in their place, fight a contract like a QC on a mission and yet always remain a friendly face, always respectful and engaging,” she said.


Combining love of flying with sound business skills


Marwan graduated as an engineer and originally worked in the furniture trade.  During his studies he learned to fly and gained a PPL on the Isle of Wight, swiftly identifying an opportunity to merge his business and aeronautical skills.   Acquiring its first piston-engined Beech Baron in 1983, Gama Aviation’s first passengers were  jockeys and sponsors for horse races.   In 1984 coming out of the recession Marwan moved the Fairoaks Airport-based business into Beechcraft King Airs, spotting a gap in the market when Leavesden-based Eagle Aircraft Services ceased operations. 


Marwan has passionately called for industry to get on the front foot to promote the value of business aviation as enabler.  “We want to see more people in our church,” he would regularly rally during his eight years as Chair of BBGA.  Marwan has also held several positions within the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and remains a committed Board member today,  He is also an Honorary member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.


“His passion and positive attitude is an example to us all.”

Steve Wright, Chief Compliance Officer, Co-founder, Gama Aviation


Marwan’s business partner Steve Wright commented:    “For as long as I have known him, Marwan has been committed to the aviation industry and to the company he started.  This  accolade is especially rewarding as Michael Wheatley was a friend to us both. Together we  created a successful formula.  Marwan forged strong business relationships, allowing me to concentrate on the flying.  When we met in the beginning of the 80s, Marwan was already a private pilot and upgraded to a Commercial pilot at Oxford Airport.  This enabled him to understand customer requirements and help us develop an exemplary service for our customers.  We have had a few challenges over the years – economic recessions; 9/11, the pandemic to name just a few, yet Marwan’s passion and positive attitude is an example to us all.  We have been enjoying aviation together for the last 40 plus years.  It would be great to be granted permission for a 50-year fly past over the Tower of London!”


Marwan is deservedly recognised for his fine contributions to our industry.   He has been an active EBAA Board of Governors member since 2011. I have always cherished and appreciated Marwan’s opinions and feedback.  He is very focused and demanding, but also always been very supportive of the industry in general - especially to EBAA and BBGA."


Athar Husein Khan, CEO, European Business Aviation Association


  “I am delighted that Marwan’s exceptional contribution to our  industry is being properly recognised with this prestigious award. For more than 20 years he has worked  passionately in the best interests of all our members.  First as Chairman and then as President of EBAA, I found his support, leadership and commitment invaluable. Many congratulations .”


Brian Humphries, Senior Advisor, Signature Flight Support and former EBAA Chair/ President


Marwan has been an integral part of the growth of business aviation in the UK.  I had the privilege to first work with him when I chartered Gama Aviation’s then one aircraft - Beech Baron G-GAMA - from Fairoaks Airport - and then its first King Air 200. Steering what is now the Gama Aviation Group from these formative beginnings into the global business it is today has been  a truly remarkable achievement.  Many of us enjoy Marwan’s company and friendship.  This Award is  deserved recognition of an unwavering commitment to business aviation, far beyond the interests of Gama Aviation - for 40 years.


Neil Harvey, Director – Executive Aviation, Hunt and Palmer



Marwan Khalek, Founder of Gama Aviation 



About Gama Aviation


Gama Aviation has operations in the US, UK, Poland, UAE and Hong Kong.  With a multi-national reach, servicing the aviation needs of airlines, lessors, governments, corporations and private individuals, it is one of a few business aviation service companies listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market.  Headquartered in Farnborough, Hampshire it has a primary operating base from Bournemouth Airport.   It has AOC’s from the UK CAA, Cayman,


Isle of Man and UAE with accompanying airworthiness, maintenance and design approvals to support of FAA, UK CAA, EASA registered aircraft.  Gama Aviation holds MAOS and DAOS from the Military Aviation Authority and BCAR privileges for state aircraft.


About Michael Wheatley

Michael Wheatley held a leading role in the support advisory services to the UK Police and ambulance authorities and leading financial institutions.  He died in 2006 and BBGA created the award in his name.  Recent previous recipients include Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, Tim Scorer, Penny Stephens, Phil Lammiman, Brian Humphries and Andrew Walters.


About BBGA


BBGA is the UK’s national trade body representing business and general aviation.  Now in its 49th year, (formerly known as GAMTA) its member companies span all facets of the business aviation sector.  It represents over 180 companies, including airports, corporate flight departments, operators, aviation services organisations and aircraft manufacturers.  In a partnership with EBAA, all members of BBGA enjoy dual membership of both associations.  Similarly, any UK based organisation seeking to join EBAA can do so via BBGA.

By continuing to use this site you agree to the use of cookies. For more information and to find out how to change this click here