As he does every year in his annual report, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett gave his frank and folksy description of how his company’s many holdings performed in the previous year, including FlightSafety International and NetJets.
Aviation International News » April 2003
Early last month–while Bombardier’s business jet production was closed for a four-month plant shutdown in response to dropping sales and deliveries, and following on the heels of the announcement of a plan that will lay off 3,000 employees–a bit of good news broke through the gloom. The first Global 5000 entered flight-test after completing its maiden voyage on March 7.
Bombardier Aerospace has launched Skyjet Europe, in which customers are charged a fixed hourly rate only for the hours flown with no positioning costs. As a result, customers can expect to pay the same price for journeys of the same length, regardless of their point of departure and destination.
There is too little business-aircraft training capacity in Europe, according to a European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) survey. “More training, simulators and training availability on [more] aircraft types are required,” based on input from 48 operators employing 774 pilots holding 803 type ratings and flying 244 aircraft.
Britain’s Marshall Aerospace ended its role as factory-authorized service centers for Bombardier and Gulfstream. The Cambridge-based firm decided to focus its maintenance, repair and overhaul work on Cessna Citations, for which it is also an authorized service center.
Nimbus Group, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. firm that had until recently maintained its intention of buying very light jets to establish a nationwide air-taxi service, named Dr. Michael Wellikoff chairman and interim CEO. Wellikoff, a dentist, replaced Ilia Lekach, under whom the company last year failed to obtain financing to complete a highly promoted purchase of 1,000 Eclipse 500 very light twinjets.
New Jersey issued an order last month that requires aircraft “parked or stored” for more than 24 hours in the state be secured by at least two locks. A state spokesman said the order applies to all general aviation aircraft not in a locked hangar. In addition to locking doors, acceptable locks include those for propellers, magnetos, wheels and throttles.
The UK’s General Aviation Manufacturers and Traders Association (GAMTA) is looking for a new chief executive after the sudden resignation of Graham Forbes just a week after the group’s annual conference (see page 64). Forbes, who had led GAMTA for the past 10 years, is expected to join Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority as head of personnel licensing.
The Senate confirmed three new members of the NTSB, including its new chairman, and a new FAA deputy administrator. Former DOT official Ellen Engleman was sworn in March 24 as the new NTSB chairman. Before her appointment, Engleman served for 18 months as the administrator of the DOT’s research and special programs administration. The new FAA deputy administrator is Robert Sturgell, a former Top Gun staffer and airline pilot.
Dassault’s newest business jet, the Falcon 2000EX, last month received FAA certification and JAA approval for certification by its member nations. The approximately $23.5 million Falcon 2000EX is essentially a longer-range, more powerful version of the $21.8 million Falcon 2000, currently Dassault’s best-selling model.؉