NetJets Europe expects to move into its new Lisbon, Portugal headquarters in December. The fractional provider already runs all its operational and administrative functions from the Portuguese capital and it is now investing $28 million in a much larger building that will house slightly more than 400 staff. It also has a sales and marketing office in London. The past three years have seen rapid growth at NetJets Europe.
Charter and Fractional » Fractional
News and issues concerning the fractional-ownership industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane becomes the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year. Unlike other fractional operations, OurPlane sells shares only in one-quarter increments. Eclipse 500 share prices start at $349,900, with a monthly fixed cost of $3,500 and hourly operating costs of $369, without a pilot.
While the fractional market continues to expand, shareholder growth is advancing at a slower rate, according to data from the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).
After more than two-and-a-half years of negotiations for a new contract, the union representing some 1,900 NetJets pilots is closer to resolving their differences with NetJets management. According to Dave Vermeulen, chairman of the pilot’s union master executive council, the two sides recently reached agreement over benefits and an improved system for handling pilot grievances, disciplinary actions and terminations.
The fractional aircraft industry continued to grow during the 12 months ending April 30. Shares at the four major providers and 16 regional/local companies tracked by AvData of Wichita increased 7.2 percent, to more than 6,350. During the same period, the combined fleet expanded 5.1 percent, to 832 aircraft. Flexjet, alone among the four major providers, lost ground during the period.
NetJets Europe has launched a new NetJets Corporate Card program to market smaller blocks of flight time in its fractional-ownership fleet without the need to acquire an aircraft share. At the same time, it has rebranded Marquis Private Jet Card as the NetJets Private Jet Card, with NetJets having taken control of the London-based Marquis Jet Partners Europe operation.
“The pilot’s failure to obtain the proper touchdown point on the runway at Cuyahoga County Airport [CGF], Cleveland, Ohio, and the PIC’s failure to initiate a go-around,” were cited by the NTSB in its recently published final report as the probable cause of the Feb. 10, 2002, overrun accident of a Flight Options Mitsubishi MU-300 Diamond, N541CW.
A scheduled mediation session failed to settle a lawsuit in which former Raytheon Travel Air pilots allege they were fired because of their union-organizing activities when the company merged with Flight Options. The case is now set to go to trial on May 11. The pilots filed the lawsuit in late 2002. Court records show that the four pilots suing Flight Options are Thomas Bowden, William Brunet, Thomas Jeter and William Tumlin.
HeliFlite Shares, which has its operations center at Alliance Airport in Texas, obtained its Part 135 charter certificate in February and last month added a pre-owned Sikorsky S-76 it bought from Jet Aviation to its fractional fleet of two Bell 430s that it operates in the New York City area.
Last month, fractional provider Bombardier Flexjet announced a program for substituting a finance lease for the acquisition payment of a fractional share. Under the “Jet Rich Quick” program, customers pay no money down and a fixed monthly payment for the lease, which could involve a term of two or four years. They also pay the regular monthly management fee and the hourly occupied fee for time flown.