Back in 2001, NetJets Europe might have considered a shortage of suitably qualified pilots to be a nice problem to face. At the time, the industry’s fractional ownership leader had no more than 80 clients in Europe–five years after having imported the concept from the U.S.
Charter and Fractional » Fractional
News and issues concerning the fractional-ownership industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Breaking from its single-airplane fleet of Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops, Fairfield, N.J.-based fractional provider Avantair has added two new Beechcraft Premier I light jets as core airplanes. Avantair CEO Steven Santo told AIN that the jets were added since his company has been unable to add Avantis fast enough as core airplanes.
It appears that the informational picketing by NetJets pilots, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108, is having the desired effect of putting pressure on company management to finally hammer out a new contract with the pilot workforce.
Fractional provider CitationShares yesterday announced three new programs for its customers–Preferred Positioning, Caribbean Express and Vector Value Plus. The Preferred Positioning program allows customers to book and purchase–at a steep discount–positioning (deadhead) flights on CitationShares aircraft. Through the program, CitationShares customers will receive a daily e-mail at around 6:30 p.m.
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.
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.