In an industry still digging its way out of a disastrous recession, even bad news can be good news and the latest bad news from a poll taken by Frequent Business Traveler magazine (www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com) amounts to good news for business and private aviation.
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In his recent Business Jet Traveler interview with Elite Aviation owner Chris Holifield, journalist Matt Thurber notes that “you don’t see a lot of women-owned aviation businesses.” Bizav, he says, is “a boys’ club.”
It sure is, and so is the rest of the aviation world.
Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May and is currently in exclusive negotiations with Superior Aviation Beijing, which has placed a stalking-horse bid to buy Hawker Beechcraft for $1.79 billion. However, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer will ultimately be sold in a public auction, meaning it is still very much up for grabs.
I recently interviewed Kenn Ricci, the principal of Directional Aviation Capital, which owns Flight Options, Nextant Aerospace and Constant Aviation. When I asked him about his state of mind, he immediately replied that he’d “made a pact with myself in 2007 to never complain about anything ever again.”
These days, everybody complains about the airlines: rotten food, TSA hassles, cramped seating, long delays, lost luggage. And while private jet travelers are a decidedly happier lot, they’ve been known to offer the occasional gripe as well: the charter flight lacked sufficient baggage space, the catering service overcharged, the FBO disappointed.
Here we are in 2012, nearly 110 years since the Wright Brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, and with some notable exceptions aircraft design over the years has become about as conservative and uninspired as a bowl of Jello.
Sen. Claire McCaskill is the latest politician to take a poke at the FAA, this time over an $860 million contract to train new and current air traffic controllers. According to the Missouri Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight, the program will run out of money by August, more than one year before the contract is scheduled to end.
Thank you, William Shakespeare, for that bit of all-too-tempting advice, as voiced by Dick the Butcher in the bard’s Henry VI: “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” These words came to mind immediately on reading reports on June 14 that 10 passengers from a Jet Blue flight are suing the airline following an incident in which one of its pilots broke down, began acting erratically and had to be subdued by passengers.
NBAA’s No Plane-No Gain information campaign was created several years ago to combat the image of business aircraft portrayed in mainstream media as the private conveyances for top-level company executives heading to a teetime.
Recently, my wife and I attended a college-planning event at our son’s high school. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Andre was 5 and we were taking notes at an orientation session for parents of new kindergarteners, but here we are. He’s 17 now and, with a little luck and a lot of our money, he’ll be heading off to college next year.