The U.S. business jet charter market is set to continue its recovery next year, according to projections online charter portal Avinode released this week at NBAA 2014. It predicts 3.5-percent year-over-year growth in charter flights in the U.S. next year. By U.S. region, the South is expected to see gains of 4 percent; West, 3.6 percent; Northeast, 3.3 percent; and Midwest, 2.5 percent.
Charter and Fractional
News and issues concerning the aviation charter and fractional-ownership industries and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Indian lawmakers are considering a proposal by the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that would revoke the commercial licenses of nonscheduled operator permit (NSOP) holders with fewer than three aircraft available for charter. Affected NSOPs that do not augment their fleet to at least three aircraft within one year will have to operate in the private category, depriving them of permission to offer charters.
It’s been an exciting year for Gama Aviation according to company executives. Little more than a year into its relationship with private aviation provider Wheels Up, the company is seeing an uptick among all its business lines in the U.S. The company’s core aircraft management business has seen growth of 20 percent over the past year-and-a-half.
Membership fleet access program Wheels Up now has 750 members and is on track to have 1,000 to 1,200 members and 37 aircraft by year-end, CEO Kenny Dichter announced this week at NBAA 2014. The fleet, operated by Gama Aviation, currently consists of King Air 350i turboprops and pre-owned Citation Excels/XLSs–with 27 and 10 of these aircraft, respectively, in the fleet by January–as well as Bombardier Global 5000s owned by Switzerland-based VistaJet and operated by Jet Aviation Flight Services.
Flight operations support group Nexus has acquired aviation risk management and safety audit provider Wyvern Consulting. Online charter portal Avinode (Booth 2279), which sold the company for an undisclosed sum, will continue to provide technological support for its former subsidiary and is also retaining control of Wyvern’s pilot and aircraft data division. Wyvern operator ratings, Wyvern Wingman and Wyvern Registered audits will continue to be available through the Avinode Marketplace.
Deer Jet, Asia’s largest business jet operator, is gradually transforming from a regional operator to a global one as it approaches its 20th anniversary. The Beijing-based company now has a fleet of 85 aircraft, based not only in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, but also in the U.S., Dubai and Moscow. According to Zhang Peng, who was promoted to president of the company in August, Deer Jet’s international flight operations have increased by 80 percent over 2013, now up to 6,800 annual flight hours to more than 300 airports worldwide.
Global Jet Capital (GJC), a new source of leasing and lending options for business jet transactions, starts operations this week. The company has been launched with an initial $2 billion fund with the backing of three investment firms: GSO Capital Partners, The Carlyle Group and AE Industrial Partners.
TAG Farnborough Airport is no stranger to NBAA shows, said Brandon O’Reilly, who has now been in the CEO post for more than eight years. And this year he comes with good news from Europe, with a 6-percent improvement in business over the past 10 months, he added, “for the first time since 2008.”
Directional Aviation Capital (DAC) is “realigning” its two fractional aircraft providers–Flight Options and Flexjet–to eliminate confusion in the marketplace since acquiring Dallas-based Flexjet from Bombardier in December. “Frankly, we were even a little confused internally about how the two brands were differentiated,” DAC principal Kenn Ricci told AIN.
Flexjet and Qatar Executive quickly lined up to be the launch customers for the new Gulfstream G500, which was revealed this morning alongside its larger G600 sibling during a ceremony at the aircraft manufacturer’s Savannah, Ga. headquarters. Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding today for up to 20 Gulfstreams, while Flexjet placed an order for 50 aircraft, including options.
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