New risk and safety management requirements imposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency are continuing to take up a lot of management time at TAG and other aircraft operators. TAG recently became the first business aviation company to achieve EASA’s stage-two requirements for its safety management system.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Among business aviation’s service providers, TAG Aviation is arguably the most understated and least prone to high-profile self-promotion. But the Swiss-based aircraft management and support company has quietly expanded its customer base by emphasizing a highly personalized level of service and an insistence on taking the long-term view, rather than precipitously shifting tack to exploit what all too often can prove to be fleeting opportunities.
Chapman Freeborn is launching a new initiative designed to help business jet flight schedulers tap into Chapman’s local knowledge and expertise when flying into unfamiliar or challenging territory. Under a program it calls Global Broker, the company is offering its expertise in business jet support services, overflight permitting, ground handling, fueling and passport and immigration services to fellow charter brokers, operators and others.
Singapore state-owned ST Aerospace, known for its MRO operation and its passenger-to-freighter conversions, also runs a small business jet charter operation. Subsidiary Pacific Flight Services (PFS) operates from Singapore, although its four jets are registered in Australia.
At press time a French-operated Falcon 50 was grounded in the Dominican Republic, according to a TV report by France’s TF1, after it was involved in a major drug bust in Punta Cana in March. The Dominican counter-drug police discovered about 1,500 pounds of cocaine (with a street value of approximately $26 million) packed in 26 suitcases placed in the hold and the cabin. The three French pilots and one French passenger were arrested just before takeoff, with the engines already running for a departure to Saint-Tropez Airport, France, according to TF1. All four people were jailed.
Inaer France received on March 22 what it claims is the first approval in that country for a commercial helicopter operator to use night-vision goggles (NVG). France is relatively late adopting NVG operations, as most Avincis group operators already had such an approval, Frédéric Goig, CEO of the Le Cannet des Maures-based company, told AIN. Avincis is the name chosen late last year for the merged Inaer and Bond.
Sikorsky Innovations has selected EvoLux Transportation the winner of its second “Entrepreneurial Challenge Competition” for its in-development helicopter reservation system, targeted at making helicopter flights more attractive for potential users and increasing revenues for operators.
EvoLux claims to be “building the world’s first helicopter charter marketplace.” Its software platform manages per-seat, on-demand reservation and dispatch. In August 2011, it began to test the prototype in the South Florida market. It generated “early revenues” that “validated” the model.
XOJet appointed Shari Jones as its new senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Based at the company’s Bay Area headquarters, she will be responsible for the development of integrated brand strategies and their execution across the company’s product offerings and consumer communication channels. Jones will report directly to XOJet president and CEO Bradley Stewart. She comes from Levi Strauss, where she led consumer marketing for Levi’s and Dockers clothing in the Americas.
Per-seat charter broker BlackJet has developed an iOS app that allows members to book a seat on a private jet instantly from their iPhone or iPad. Together with this launch, it is providing a limited invite code (BLACKJETIPHONE5000) that can be used to request a membership. BlackJet seat service is currently available in San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles and South Florida. Service to Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Dallas and Seattle will be added this year.
Jet Aviation Flight Services introduced three new packages–silver, gold and platinum–to aircraft management customers in North America. Its silver package, designed for customers who own a light to midsize business jet, delivers primary management services. The gold package, targeted at large-cabin jet owners, includes the same primary management services, as well as financial budgeting and reporting. Jet Aviation’s platinum plan includes “all of the core management services required to manage and maintain aircraft.”