Bizav Flight Departments Latest Casualty of Recession

 - December 4, 2008, 10:51 AM

Rodney Hamilton, the director and chief pilot of Ford’s now-defunct flight department, summed up the state of the industry yesterday in two words: “difficult times.” In the past week, General Motors and Ford Motor Company announced they were shutting their respective flight departments, and investors learned that Citigroup has put two of its jets–worth $30 million each–on the block. There are also reports that Lucent Technologies is trying to sell its two G450s. The Ford closure leaves 49 people–including 17 pilots and nine flight attendants–unemployed, and the company intends to sell the five aircraft in its fleet. GM fired 72 flight department employees, including 32 pilots, and plans to unload four of its seven jets. “I don’t think Ford Motor Company’s actions are threatening to the industry at large,” Hamilton told AIN. “I think what is threatening are the economic conditions. I believe that in better times this would not have happened.” NBAA president Ed Bolen, meanwhile, attributed the actions by Ford and GM to their “acute liquidity crisis…The fact that they are selling strategic assets, including airplanes, appears directly related to their particular liquidity challenge.”