Scheeringa takes Flight Options helm

 - September 20, 2006, 10:38 AM

Several executive changes at Flight Options have followed in the wake of Raytheon’s full acquisition of the Cleveland-based fractional provider in late December. Chief marketing officer Cameron Gowan is out, and company leader Michael Scheeringa is solidly in.

In late January, Scheeringa was named CEO, after serving as the acting CEO since November 2004. “Michael is a proven leader,” said Raytheon CEO and chairman William Swanson, “as is evident in the progress Flight Options has made on its Go Forward business plan. We believe he has the background, drive and innovative ideas to lead Flight Options forward in a highly competitive industry.”

Before joining Flight Options, Scheeringa served as vice president of US Airways Express. At US Airways he had previously held a series of managerial positions in customer service, operations and corporate planning, in addition to overseeing the MetroJet and the US Airways Shuttle divisions.

Gowan left shortly after Raytheon bought the remaining 3-percent share of Flight Options from minority shareholders Brantley Partners, Brantley Capital and Monitor Clipper Equity Partners. Interestingly, Brantley Capital in late January said it settled litigation with Raytheon over the value of its stake in the fractional provider. Under the agreement Brantley will receive only $900,000 for its 1998 investment of $4.66 million in Flight Options, resulting in a net loss of $3.76 million.

Meanwhile, Gowan’s duties have been shifted to Jim Dauterman, the v-p of sales and marketing. In addition, Ray Bennett has been promoted from Southeast sales director to v-p of sales. Bennett now reports directly to Dauterman.

Gowan hasn’t been the only one to leave Flight Options. Heather Dynes, Flight Options’ director of marketing and communications, left the Cleveland-based fractional provider in mid-January to become the director of marketing for Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair, which offers shares of Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops. Tracy Chaplin, the former chief purchasing officer at Flight Options, was tapped last month as Avantair’s COO.

Flight Options pilots vote on unionization
In late January the National Mediation Board (NMB) authorized an election for the 840 pilots of fractional provider Flight Options. Early last month the NMB mailed a set of telephone electronic voting instructions to every eligible pilot at the Cleveland-based company. At press time, pilots had begun telephoning in their votes. They have until the first of this month to do so.

The NMB will tally the votes on March 2, with an announcement of the outcome expected later that day. If the union is voted in, the Flight Options pilots will be represented by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108, the same organization that represents the more than 2,000 pilots at fractional competitor NetJets.