Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, co-founder of Luxaviation UK (predecessor LEA) and inspirational business aviation ambassador, was named today as the 2021 recipient of the British Business Aviation Association’s prestigious Michael Wheatley Award for Outstanding Services to the general aviation industry. BBGA Chair Aoife O’Sullivan shared the news during the Association’s annual conference and AGM on 4 March.
“One name stood out as we determined a worthy recipient this year and that was Patrick. Together with his co-founders he has steered a highly successful private jet charter operation and for over 25 years has been a pro-active, authoritative and eloquent spokesperson championing our sector. Thank you, Patrick, for the terrific work you have done, not just for Luxaviation, but for everyone in our industry,” she said.
Following an illustrious career, Patrick retired from his full-time CEO position in May 2020. He continues to speak on behalf of Luxaviation Group at conferences and events.
His passion for aviation started from his school days in the RAF Cadets. Patrick was given flying lessons as a birthday gift and became hooked, completing 6 am training flights with his instructor before rushing back to his accountancy job in the City. Qualifying for his PPL, Patrick became involved in aerobatics, flying competitions in the late 1980s, to late 1990s. He still owns his Pitts S2A biplane.
Patrick co-founded LEA in 1996 with managing director George Galanopoulos and Amanda Galanopoulos when he still had a successful accountancy career in London. George and Amanda worked full time. Patrick did one day a week, going full time in 2000 as the business outgrew its early beginnings from a hut at Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex, although the company still has its head office at the Aerodrome today. George was the pilot of one Piper Navajo flying horse racing jockeys and local businesses.
LEA grew to become the leading business aviation aircraft operator and management company in the UK with a diverse fleet of aircraft, ranging from Cessna Citation IIs and Embraer Phenom 300s to the ultra-long-range Bombardier Global 6000. It has aircraft bases in the main UK airports and in Athens, Helsinki, Moscow and Paris with a client base embracing the arts, entertainment and media sectors, FTSE 100 corporations and government bodies.
In 2014, LEA entered a global era to became part of the Luxaviation Group, one of the largest business aircraft and helicopter operators worldwide. The company rebranded to Luxaviation UK in 2016.
George Galanopoulos, co-founder and CEO Luxaviation UK, comments: “Patrick and I shared a wonderful working relationship and I miss working with and speaking to him every day. When we set up the company, it was Patrick’s excellent business insight which made it the success it is today. This award from the BBGA reflects the outstanding reputation that Patrick has in the industry and the invaluable contribution he has made.”
Neil Harvey, Director – Executive Aviation, Hunt & Palmer and BBGA Board Director, comments: “I have known Patrick for over 20 years. I hold him in the highest regard. He always brings a level head and realistic approach, not to mention a fair dose of humour, to the challenges our industry faces. I am sure many, like myself, have benefited from his informed, honest and considered conversation over the years.
“Patrick has formed, with George, one of the most respected partnerships in business aviation. Starting out in a modest, formative industry, he has been instrumental in steering their business through continuous growth and relentless change, to achieve many successes and this richly deserved recognition. He is a true industry leader.”