NetJets To Furlough Nearly 500 Pilots

 - November 10, 2009, 8:18 AM

Fractional provider NetJets late last week announced that it will furlough up to 495 pilots from its North American fractional operations, mostly from NetJets Aviation but also a “small number” from NetJets International, the division that flies Gulfstreams. The furloughs will take effect on January 15. “This difficult decision resulted from a comprehensive analysis of current and projected flight demand,” said NetJets chairman and CEO David Sokol. During an October 26 CNBC Squawk Box episode, Sokol said that NetJets “customer usage is off 15 to 20 percent. What we’ve had to do is get the cost structure in line with today’s economy and the needs of the owners. Our aircraft have to be revalued to current market values, and in many cases they’re down as much as 40 percent.” A spokeswoman for NJASAP (NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots) said the union is providing resources for affected pilots, including a dedicated Web site with furlough information and a list of unemployment benefits, as well as weekly teleconference calls for affected employees and their spouses. NJASAP president Mark Luthi said that NetJets is phasing out its Cessna Encore and Ultra fleets as they come off customer contracts. “How quickly they do that, I don’t know,” he told AIN.