Fractional operator NetJets announced an order late last month for 50 Hawker 400XPs and eight midsize Hawker 800XPs, a deal valued in excess of $360 million. The order also includes an option for 50 Hawker 400XPs, bringing the total potential value to more than $600 million. In addition, discussion is under way with an undisclosed company on a long-term maintenance agreement, which was to be finalized by the end of last year.
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News and issues concerning the fractional-ownership industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
The five major fractional operators fell short of AIR’s projected pilot hiring levels last year, according to statistics prepared by the Atlanta-based aviation employment consultant. The major players–Avantair, CitationShares, Flexjet, Flight Options and NetJets–hired 674 new pilots, more than 300 shy of AIR’s January 2006 estimate that 1,000 pilots would be required.
Long-time business aviation leader Jim Christiansen might be feeling a little déjà vu after his appointment last month as president of NetJets Aviation in Columbus, Ohio. From 1990 to 1992 he was president of Executive Jet Aviation, as the company was known then.
A Flight Options Beechjet 400A (N691TA) yesterday afternoon experienced a dual-engine flameout en route from Indianapolis International Airport to Marco Island Airport, Fla., while on a positioning leg. The crew declared an emergency and landed safely at Jacksonville International Airport. This marks the second such Beechjet incident at the Cleveland-based fractional provider.
In a November 22 letter to the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), the Transportation Security Administration said it has “begun the process of developing and instituting a security oversight and monitoring program for fractional ownership aircraft.
Following up on a tentative agreement reached nearly nine months ago, Raytheon Aircraft and NetJets signed a contract for the purchase of 50 Hawker 4000s (née Horizons) for the latter company’s fractional fleet. In addition, there is a separate 10-year guaranteed maintenance program. Raytheon Aircraft said the combined total value of these contracts will exceed $1 billion, the largest single commercial order in the company’s history.
CitationShares v-p of flight operations and chief pilot J.D. Witzig on Tuesday confirmed that the fractional provider will raise its pilot wages as of January 1. These higher wages will raise the bar above what the NetJets pilots negotiated in the contract they ratified last month, meaning that CitationShares pilots will become the best-paid in the fractional industry.
On Thursday, Raytheon closed an agreement with minority shareholders Brantley Partners, Brantley Capital and Monitor Clipper Equity Partners to purchase their remaining interest in Cleveland-based fractional provider Flight Options LLC. Terms were not immediately disclosed.
Since the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 filed an application letter to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for representation of the 830 Flight Options pilots earlier this month, the fractional provider has increased efforts to thwart the union drive. It has set up a Web site to provide information to the pilot workforce about unions and, according to NMB filings, hired union-busting law firm Ford & Harrison.
Bombardier Flexjet, the U.S.-based fractional business jet arm of Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, last month announced it would begin operations in--where else--Canada. Flexjet Canada has started operations with three Canadian-registered aircraft–two Learjet 45s and a Challenger 604–formerly in the Bombardier corporate fleet and 10 Montreal-based pilots.