As happens in every significant downturn, corporate squeamishness about owning business jets climbs while used aircraft languish on brokers’ ramps. Already during this recession, the stigma against the perceived appropriateness of traveling by business jet has forced companies to cancel new jet orders, sell jets and even close entire flight departments.
Aviation International News » March 2009
Ocean Sky is to open a new FBO at London Luton Airport on March 30. The UK company has signed a lease on the facility formerly occupied by Harrods Aviation before it developed its current facilities at the airport. This is situated on Luton’s south ramp and is immediately parallel to the runway.
The crew of the Colgan Air Q400 that crashed outside Buffalo on February 12 observed “significant” ice accretion on the aircraft’s windows and wings before the eventual upset that killed all 49 on board and one person on the ground, according to the NTSB’s lead investigator for the accident, Steven Chealander.
The ATR 72-500 was approved to start operations at London City Airport in early February and has entered service with Irish regional airline Aer Arann on its route to the Isle of Man. The UK approval process requires a series of test flights to establish that the aircraft and operator can cope with the downtown airport’s 5.5-deg approach and its 3,900-foot runway, while also meeting strict noise limits.
An agreement for German investors to take over the trainer aircraft business of the insolvent Grob Aerospace group might have cleared the way for a separate deal to resurrect the SPn light business jet program. On January 28, Grob’s insolvency administrator, Dr.
PlaneSense, Alpha Flying’s Pilatus PC-12 fractional aircraft ownership program, has added seven airports in the Bahamas to its primary operating area. New airports include: Chub Cay and Great Harbor Cay (Berry Islands), Congo Town (Andros), New Bright (Cat Island), Cockburn Town (San Salvador), Spanish Cay (Abaco) and Stella Maris (Long Island).
Bird Air Services of India has signed an exclusive marketing agreement with Swiss company VistaJet Holding to market VistaJet in the Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). Bird Air Services is a subsidiary of Bird Group, a fast-growing Indian travel conglomerate.
The NTSB wants the FAA to monitor the communication contingency plans of all Gulf of Mexico operators. The recommendation follows the Board’s probe of a 2005 Houston Helicopters S-76A accident in the Gulf, in which the pilots did not report their positions via satphone to the company, via radio to other aircraft, or by filing a flight plan with FSS. As a result, their rescue was delayed by nearly eight hours.
Dutch very light jet operator Bikkair shut down on February 4, saying that it was unable to secure the capital it needed to fund its development. The Rotterdam-based company began operations in March last year with the first of an undisclosed number of Cessna Citation Mustangs it ordered and had been offering block charter arrangements through its Amulet program.
Russian investment firm Industrial Investors in late January announced its intention to sell all or a portion of AAI Acquisition, the company formed to buy the assets of bankrupt very light jet developer Adam Aircraft Industries last April. According to a company spokesman, Industrial Investors would prefer to find a partner help to develop the A700, but it would also sell AAI outright if needed.