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Denver’s Ross Aviation buying two Spokane firms, will combine them in 2012

A Denver company is buying two Spokane aviation service firms and will combine them into a single operation.

Ross Aviation is acquiring XN Air and Spokane Airways; both are fixed-base operators  — commercial companies offering fueling, maintenance, charter flights, training and cargo handling.

Jeff Ross, Ross’s CEO and president, said he’s been in touch for years with the Chastek family, owners of Spokane Airways. The Chasteks felt it was time to sell the business, started more than 40 years ago. But Ross said Spokane Airways by itself wasn’t large enough to warrant the purchase.

“I told them it would only make sense if I could also buy your competitor,” XN Air, Ross said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ross said he hasn’t yet closed the sale. An airport board meeting recently approved the transfer of leases from XN and Spokane Airways to Ross.

Ross said he hoped to complete the sale in the first quarter of 2012.

XN Air was started in 2004 by Spokane resident Al Hale and managed in recent years by his sons, John and Brian Hale. It primarily provides maintenance, installation and repair of aircraft electronics.

Ross Aviation has acquired more than 20 other commercial operators across the country and in Hawaii. Its website says a guiding strategy for acquisitions is to look for deals in rapidly growing regions.

Once the Spokane deals conclude, Ross said the Spokane operation will carry the name XN Air. In part that’s due to the modern, clean look that the Hales have developed at their Spokane Airport location.

Some staff consolidation will occur, but Ross said that decision hasn’t been made yet. 

Spokane Airways will continue to offer many of its existing services, including cargo handling for freight companies like UPS, said Ross. (Photo here is of John Chastek, vp of Spokane Airways.)

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.