Case Summary: Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd.

Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd.

$34 million senior credit facility

Overview

Great Lakes Aviation is a regional airline carrier and codeshare partner with United and Frontier Airlines. Founded in 1979, it operates 37 passenger planes (19 & 30 seats) and services 42 airports for smaller cities in the High Plaines & Rocky Mountain regions through its hubs in Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix. Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The Company is a significant recipient of government subsidies from the Essential Air Service Program (EAS). This program ensures that rural airports are serviced by airline carriers and requires Congressional approval each year as part of the budgeting process.

Challenge

The Company had historically financed its aircraft via Raytheon Credit Corporation. Its parent company, Raytheon Company, Inc. had decided to exit the aircraft manufacturing business via the sale of its Hawker Beechcraft division and also all its aircraft financing. Great Lakes needed to find a new lending partner as the facility had matured and was the last remaining loan in the Raytheon portfolio.

Given the firm’s revenues rely in part upon subsidies from the EAS and the business is subject to the fluctuations in fuel prices, the Company’s historical financial performance varies from year to year. A refinancing needed to take into account how the EAS program, fuel prices and their codeshare agreements with United and Frontier Airlines would impact the Company’s future operations and profitability.

Solution

Crystal agented a $10.0MM revolver and $24.0MM term loan to refinance the Company’s existing indebtedness and provide for future working capital needs. Our diligence provided the support necessary to underwrite the collateral value  of the company’s current assets as well as owned airplanes. The revolver was structured with advances against accounts receivable, inventory parts and spare engines. The term loan was secured by 29 aircraft owned by the Company.  

“We are looking forward to working with the Crystal Financial and GB Merchant Partners. In reflecting on the work accomplished over the last three months, it is clear that their professionalism and diligent approach to underwriting will set the stage for a longstanding positive working relationship.”
Doug Voss, President and Chairman of Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd.