Wheels Up displayed its first Cessna-refurbished Citation XLS during a preview event yesterday at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. The company announced in December that it would add refurbished Citation Sovereigns and Excel/XLSs to its closed membership fleet of King Air 350is. The recently delivered XLS is one of 10 it will take this year. By year-end, Wheels Up expects to have 27 King Air 350is, 10 Citation Excel/XLSs and five VistaJet Global 5000s.
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.
While known primarily for its FBO network, Landmark Aviation has made great strides in its aircraft management division over the past few months. In the wake of three strategic company acquisitions, the Carlyle Group subsidiary’s managed aircraft fleet has grown 50 percent, to a total of 83 jets and turboprops nationwide, rendering it the country’s second-largest business aircraft management operator behind Executive Jet Management, according to industry data provider Argus. Approximately 50 of Landmark’s managed aircraft are also available for charter.
Projected demand for private charter flights suggests significant volatility over the early part of the Northern Hemisphere summer season, according to the latest data from online charter portal Avinode. The company’s forward-looking demand index for 30 days beginning June 2 showed marked decreases in most categories analyzed for the North American and European markets, with some notable exceptions.
Now air charter buyers can use their smartphones to grab the next available helicopter seat bound for the Hamptons. The new Blade app lets customers book a seat on an existing flight or charter a whole helicopter and then use the app to help fill the seats. The app is backed by New York City’s Liberty Helicopters. Flights booked on Blade take off from NYC’s East Side Heliport and land in South Hampton, East Hampton and Montauk, with return flights to Midtown’s West Side Heliport.
Delta Private Jets launched a new aircraft management program designed to help owners cover the cost of purchasing a business jet by providing a guaranteed monthly income stream over a five-year fixed term. Called Ownership Assist, the new program is designed for owners who require only occasional use of their jet and are looking for guaranteed monthly income that covers 80- to 100 percent of their monthly payments, according to Delta Private Jets. Under the program, aircraft owners are allotted 30 flight hours per year over 20 flight days at no cost.
Los Angeles-based Clay Lacy Aviation now offers a Gulfstream G650 for global charter flights, along with recently added G200 and GIVSP. Increasing Clay Lacy’s fleet of charter aircraft to more than 50, these jets are based at Van Nuys. Clay Lacy also operates an FBO facility in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1968, the company provides aircraft management, charter, sales, acquisitions, FBO, maintenance, avionics and interior work.
Odyssey Aerospace Components (Booth 3034), a VIP interiors manufacturer for OEMs Boeing, Bombardier, Airbus and Gulfstream, announced at EBACE 2014 that it received a contract to provide cabinetry and interiors for two 787 BBJs. The Denton, Texas-based company will provide monument engineering, systems integration, manufacturing and installation. Meanwhile Odyssey, a Greenpoint Company, is currently finalizing a VIP 747-8 BBJ completion.
Athens-based VIP charter operator GainJet Aviation (Booth 5218) announced at EBACE 2014 it is opening GainJet Africa, a new charter base in Kigali, Rwanda next month. Offering the African market ultra-long-range VIP charter service, GainJet will base a 14-passenger Gulfstream 550 equipped with satellite TV and high speed broadband in Kigali. The G550 is capable of nonstop flights to the East Coast of the U.S. or Southeast Asia, from many African capitals.
Geneva-based Global Jet reports receiving several business jets for charter recently as well as it gaining a Chinese air operator certificate (AOC) from the China Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC). The AOC allows operations in China by Global Jet in partnership with Hangzhou-based Jinggong Business Aircraft. Global Jet is exhibiting here at EBACE 2014 in Booth 5555.
Air charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been “testing” short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.