Flight Options Downsizes, Terminates Pilots

 - May 27, 2008, 11:11 AM

Ohio-based Flight Options on Friday closed its maintenance facility at Cleveland Cuyahoga Airport and dismissed about 200 employees, 68 of whom were pilots, according to IBT Local 1108, which represents the fractional provider’s pilots. A pilot union spokesman told AIN that the flight crew eliminations were done regardless of seniority and were based on “performance.” A Flight Options spokeswoman confirmed, “We did have a reduction–they were terminations, not layoffs–[and] the Cleveland maintenance facility has been closed.” In a statement, the company said poor economic conditions and a “reduction in demand” have caused it “to scale the business to match current and future needs and to maintain the overall health of the company.” Fractional industry analysts Mike Riegel of Fractional Insider and Kevin O’Leary of Jet Advisors both said Flight Options’ net sales were down about three aircraft year-to-date, with Riegel telling AIN that Flight Options has been the “worst performer by far” of the major fractionals this year. The pilot union spokesman said there are roughly 500 pilots remaining and about 125 aircraft still in the fleet. In December, Flight Options said it had 140 aircraft in its fleet. The Flight Options spokeswoman would not confirm the number of remaining employees or the number of aircraft in its fleet, nor would she comment on any possible further personnel or aircraft fleet reductions.