Up & Away Aviation is acquired by Unifi Aviation LLC

Tuesday 11th July 2023

  • Up & Away Aviation Services logo
  • Up & Away Aviation is acquired by Unifi Aviation LLC

Atlanta, GA and Oxford, UK.  Up & Away Aviation, a leading supplier of aircraft cleaning and detailing services to commercial airline and private aviation clients, announced today (July 11) it has secured new ownership with Unifi Aviation.  Unifi is the USA’s largest ground aviation services company, part of the Argenbright Group.  The deal was signed by Up & Away founder and CEO Stefan Murphy and Unifi CEO Gautam Thakkar at the UK company’s London Oxford Airport UK HQ.  

The agreement formalises as Up & Away prepares to open its 13th base at London’s Gatwick Airport on 1st August, having recently ramped up its personnel to 500-plus employees.  Over 400 of them are dedicated to Up & Away Aviation Services’ airline activity.

Unifi, headquartered in Atlanta, GA is present at over 200+ US airports, offering a range of ground services from ticketing and ground handling to cabin cleaning and cargo. 

Up & away is an ideal fit for Unifi as it looks to grow its UK business to more than £100 million in the region over the next three years. 

While the Up & Away brand will remain, Stefan Murphy will become Unifi's Managing Director in the UK.   Ernie Patterson, Chairman of International Business for Argenbright Group, will provide additional oversight of Unifi's UK aviation business, working with Up & Away's team to broaden operations into more airports, including London Heathrow.  

Addressing Up & Away’s management in Oxford, Ernie highlighted:  “Up & Away brings exactly what Unifi was looking for - a personalised, intimate service offering to customers.  It is excited to take that, harness it, help grow and expand the business, using the same culture and same, dedicated team.”

Realising synergy

Dialogue between the two companies first opened over six months ago. 

Up & Away provides various aviation services, including cabin cleaning, de-icing, executive jet detailing, technical cleaning, and other adjacent aviation services. The business has grown exponentially under the leadership of Stefan Murphy.  The business, originally focused on executive jet clientele, expanded into working with prolific airline customers in 2019 when a leading airline CEO (and business jet owner) asked the company to pitch for its airline cleaning business.  Up & Away has not looked back.

Today, its operations span 13 UK airports, including London Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol and Belfast International, plus UK business aviation airports London Biggin Hill, Farnborough, London Oxford, where it supports a variety of business jets. 

Gautam Thakkar, CEO, Unifi “Up & Away has earned a strong reputation for exceptional services. We look forward to working with Stefan and his team as they join the Unifi family and build upon Up & Away's track record. More than 224 million passengers travelled to and from airports in the UK in 2022, and we are confident that our knowledge and experience from operating in 200+ airports, including the world's busiest, will allow Unifi to replicate its success in the UK and provide customers with an exceptional experience.” 

 

Stefan Murphy, Founder & Managing Director, Up & Away: "I have been fortunate to build this company from the ground up. I look forward to this immensely exciting phase of growth and joining Unifi, a leading aviation services organisation, opens new doors. I want to thank George Rolls, our former Chairman, for his astute guidance and unwavering support through the formative years of the business and recent negotiations.   I also want to thank all of Up & Away’s staff and customers for their loyalty and contributions, without which this exciting expansion would not be possible.”

 

Argenbright Group currently employs more than five thousand employees in the UK. This acquisition further strengthens the Argenbright Group’s investment in the UK and its people and is part of its strategic commitment  to the region. 

 

About Unifi  

Unifi Aviation, LLC® is the largest ground handling & aviation services company in North America, servicing more than two million flights annually. The company has stations in over 200 airports and provides a full range of services, including ground handling, passenger transport, security, cabin services, ground support equipment maintenance, and much more. Unifi is a part of the Argenbright Group and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit unifiservice.com.

 

About Argenbright

The Argenbright Group is a privately held family of companies that provides tech-enabled solutions to various industries, including aviation services, facilities management, and commercial and government security. Argenbright Group was founded in 1979 by Atlanta-based entrepreneur Frank A. Argenbright, Jr., and has grown to a $1.4 billion global operation with presence across the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Europe.  The Argenbright portfolio includes Velociti Services, Unifi Aviation, and Argenbright Security Europe Limited (ASEL) among others. 

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