A meeting between company officials and the Flight Options pilot union planned for today and tomorrow is intended to address issues arising from the consolidation of fractional-share operations Flexjet and Flight Options. Flight Options parent Directional Aviation Capital purchased Flexjet from Bombardier last December for about $195 million.
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.
Argus International implemented several updates to the audit standard that it uses to qualify a charter operator for the Argus Platinum and Gold Plus rating. The additions are intended to create an “even more valuable and informative audit process,” said Argus president and CEO Joe Moeggenberg.
NetJets has embarked on a U.S. demonstration tour of its new Bombardier Challenger 350 to current and prospective customers in more than 20 cities. The aircraft is a demonstrator model, since NetJets won’t take delivery of its first Challenger 350 until this summer. The private viewing events will provide guests with the opportunity to view the redesigned aircraft, which includes larger passenger windows, onboard Wi-Fi and HD entertainment system.
Seawings has launched an amphibious seaplane shuttle service to connect Dubai’s remote new Al Maktoum International Airport with the Park Hyatt Hotel in the city center. The new operation has been launched in partnership with flight support provider Jetex, which operates an FBO at the airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284 executive boards launched the NetJets Unions Coalition last week, citing “minimal progress and unjustifiable demands” during ongoing contract talks. NJASAP represents the more than 3,000 NetJets pilots, while Local 284 represents some 500 NetJets dispatchers, flight attendants, maintenance controllers, mechanics and stock clerks.
San Francisco-based private aviation services company XOJet is changing the focus of its aircraft charter sales effort from “wholesale to the end user,” senior vice president of sales Gregg Slow told AIN on Tuesday. The majority of the company’s business has previously come from wholesale sources, such as brokers, he noted. To gear up for this initiative, XOJet tripled its sales team over the past year for more interaction with individual consumers of business aviation, among other things.
Wade and Dave Eyerly, the founders of Surf Air–an all-you-can-fly Part 135 membership service that operates Pilatus PC-12s on West Coast routes–left the company earlier this month. The brothers started Surf Air in 2011 and launched flight operations in June last year. Last month the company hired former Frontier Airlines chief Jeff Potter as the new CEO.
Through its recent acquisitions of aircraft charter/management specialist Sterling Aviation in Wisconsin and Seattle-based Galvin Flying Services, which managed several aircraft in addition to providing FBO services, Landmark Aviation has boosted its charter fleet by 18 aircraft. Among the dozen based at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee are a Challenger 604, a Hawker 850XP and a Citation Sovereign, while a Challenger 300 and Citation Excel are among the six at King County Airport/Boeing Field.
Demand for private charter flights looks set to rise this month, according to the demand index generated by online charter portal Avinode. The outlook is brightest for the European market.
NetJets accounted for more than a third of the revenue increase at Berkshire Hathaway’s “other service” businesses last year, according to the parent company’s year-end results released on Saturday. The division, which also includes FlightSafety International and several other non-aviation companies, saw revenues climb by $821 million, to $9 billion, with NetJets’ share rising by $288 million–up 7.5 percent year-over-year–thanks to higher sales of fractional aircraft shares.