The year 2003–the centennial of manned, powered flight–was supposed to be the one where aviation shone brightly. Instead, the entire aviation industry was a bit under the weather, riding out a turbulent market marred by a sour economy and the long-lasting after-effects of 9/11. As if a 30-percent-plus drop in business jet deliveries wasn’t bad enough last year, Chicago mayor Richard Daley betrayed the National Airspace System’s overseer and end-users when he ordered bulldozers to destroy the sole runway at Meigs Field, setting a dangerous precedent that could possibly be repeated at other threatened airports in the U.S. Last year also saw its share of management changes at several business aviation companies, some due to retirement while others were precipitated by sagging fiscal performance. Sadly, several business aviation industry heavyweights–including marketing guru Jim Taylor, famed writer “Torch” Lewis and data-meister John Zimmerman–are now gone, but certainly not out of mind. Concorde made its final flight last year, and the Beech Starship was targeted for termination by its creator, Raytheon Aircraft. Perhaps in 2004 aviation can shine more brightly.
- January 30, 2007, 4:50 AM