Mercury Air Centers and TAG Aviation disclosed a joint initiative to provide travel services through Mercury’s FBO network. The partnership will provide Mercury customers with a variety of ancillary services, including charter and management through TAG Aviation in the U.S. Mercury has 20 FBO locations throughout the country and TAG operates and manages more than 90 aircraft available for charter.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
JetBird, Europe’s planned new low-cost charter service, has raised €21 million ($31 million) in fresh capital through an oversubscribed private placement of equity to new and existing shareholders. The placement values the company at €101 million ($150 million) as it prepares to receive the first of 50 Embraer Phenom 100 very light jets in time to start operations in April 2009.
Flight Options late Friday simultaneously announced its finalized acquisition by Miami-based private equity firm H.I.G. Capital and an order for nearly $1 billion worth of Embraer Phenom 300 light jets. In a deal announced in late October, H.I.G bought the fractional provider from Raytheon Co. for an undisclosed sum. According to an H.I.G. Capital spokesman, there are no management changes planned at Flight Options.
Rifton Aviation Services, an FBO at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., has received FAR Part 135 authority to conduct U.S. and international air-taxi operations. Rifton’s own Falcon 2000 is the first aircraft to receive certification under Rifton’s Part 135 certificate. Soon to follow will be Rifton’s Gulfstream IV and Citation Excel. Rifton officials credit the Teterboro, N.J.
The FAA and TAG Aviation USA have settled “all matters” between them in an agreement that calls for TAG Aviation USA and its Swiss parent, TAG Aviation Holding, to pay $10 million to the FAA. Both parties, including FAA Eastern region counsel Loretta Alkalay and TAG Aviation Holding chairman Roger McMullin, signed the agreement on November 8.
At a closed-to-the-press meeting between FAA officials and attendees of the NATA Aviation Business Roundtable on Monday, NATA president James Coyne accused the FAA of sowing confusion about operational control issues and carrying out a vendetta against AMI Jet Charter. “It was almost blood-boiling,” Coyne recalled.
The impressive growth of business aviation in the Middle East hasn’t excluded the region’s executive charter companies, some of which have been enjoying their most lucrative stretch ever. Awash in available capital, they’ve not only added equipment and new markets, they’ve begun expanding into related businesses such as FBOs and maintenance services.
When the FAA pulled the trigger on AMI Jet Charter and TAG Aviation USA last month, a silence settled over the land that was almost reminiscent of the empty skies after 9/11. Many in business aviation had been aware for months that the feds were going after AMI/TAG with a perplexing intensity, but nobody was saying anything publicly.
Gulfstream has penned a letter of intent with Safe Flight Instrument for the supply of the latter company’s Enhanced AutoPower automatic throttle system as an option for new Gulfstream 200s, as well as for retrofit for G200s and Galaxies already in service. An STC for the system is expected by early next summer, upon the completion of 10 to 25 flight test hours.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended the trading of Connect-A-Jet securities for 11 days last month, from October 1 to October 12, due to alleged “deceptive practices” by the online charter broker.