VLJ air-taxi start-up DayJet of Delray Beach, Fla., announced today that it had secured $140 million in debt financing, which it will use to buy its fleet of Eclipse 500s. Previous rounds of private-equity financing had raised $68 million, bringing total financing to $208 million. DayJet founder and CEO Ed Iacobucci said last month at a seminar in New York that raising money for the company has been the hardest thing he’s had to do.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Even though “ATXA” looks as if it belongs on the New York Stock Exchange ticker, add it to your lexicon of GA lobbying groups. The Air Taxi Association (ATXA) is open for business.
Bexair, the Bahrain-based executive charter firm, is set to take the size of its fleet into double digits with an order for a new Bombardier Challenger 605. The company is also preparing to open several new international bases and wants to develop
as a business aviation services group.
Continuing its efforts to crack down on loopholes in its oversight of Part 135 charter operators, the FAA is conducting mandatory special emphasis inspections through the end of the year. The inspections began last month and are in enforcement of Operational Specification A008, which took effect in March. The specification is aimed at eliminating ambiguities in operational control in charter flights.
In recent years the charter industry has drawn unwanted attention, as high-profile accidents have prompted the FAA to train a microscope on the industry’s operating practices. A review of the regulations governing the industry was among the most controversial topics at the National Air Transportation Association’s Air Charter Summit, held from June 27 to 29.
A new service designed in part by former Avantair chairman Al Rapetti seeks to align charter operators under one roof to maximize revenue, fill seats and aid with marketing. Instead of representing the passenger, West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Business Jet Seats is taking a different angle and is serving charter operators. In essence, member companies look to Business Jet Seats to help them market their service.
Six air charter brokers have formed the Air Charter Association of North America (Acana) to improve standards within the broker industry. Members can work only with Part 121 and Part 135 operators and must meet a set of 12 requirements before they qualify for membership. “It’s a non-regulated industry, and this organization was needed to address brokers’ ethics,” Acana president Jonathan Tasler told AIN.
Spain has a new executive charter company in the shape of CorporateJets XXI. The Barcelona-based operation was launched with a E30 million ($39 million) investment and will initially operate an eight-passenger Cessna Citation XLS and a 14-passenger Dassault Falcon 900. The new operator is part of the Grup XXI consortium, which is also active in real-estate development, hotels, restaurants and medical centers.
One prediction about which most fractional providers’ executives and consultants agree is that within five years there will be only two strong major providers, with the current majors either being relegated to a niche market or merging into one of the stronger players. While they all concur that NetJets will be one of those two companies, there is no consensus on which of the other three majors will hold the other spot.
Fledgling helicopter commuter airline America Rising has pushed back to 2006 the launch of its New York to Washington, D.C. rotorcraft shuttle service, blaming a lack of suitably de-ice-equipped helicopters and continued delay in gaining approval for the operation from the Transportation Security Administration.