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.
Charter and Fractional » Fractional
News and issues concerning the fractional-ownership industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
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.
The major U.S. fractional providers appear to be poised for growth this year, if estimates of pilot hiring and aircraft delivery intake are accurate. NetJets recently said it plans to hire 450 pilots this year, and New York-based analyst UBS Investment Research predicts that the New Jersey-based fractional provider will take delivery of 76 business jets by year-end.
Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, in his latest annual letter to shareholders issued Saturday, said the company’s flight services division–FlightSafety and NetJets–reported $120 million in pre-tax earnings versus $191 million in 2004. According to Buffett, “Earnings improved at FlightSafety as corporate aviation continued its rebound…[but] operating results at NetJets were a different story.
Last Thursday’s union victory for the Flight Options pilots has received mixed reactions.
NetJets Europe (NJE) has offered its flight crew new onshore contracts and improved pay. Proposed raises for pilots and flight attendants range from 4.6 percent to 26.7 percent, and new roster arrangements will limit maximum duty days to 50 days per quarter. AIN obtained a copy of the contract offer, which was sent to NetJets staff on December 1. (See box on page 30 for details.)