Aerion’s long-awaited AS2 supersonic business jet (SSBJ) program received a major boost last month when Airbus signed up for a partnership involving an exchange of knowledge and capabilities in design, manufacturing and certification. According to Aerion, the collaboration will support the Mach 1.6, $100+ million AS2 through to certification. Although the industrialization plan for the new jet has still to be confirmed, the Reno, Nev.-based group said that this will happen “over the course of the next year” and confirmed that it is no longer searching for a manufacturing partner.
While the economy has grown stronger, there is still a lot of work to do to support business aviation’s recovery in the policy arena, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told the attendees at a chief pilots roundtable late last week in Washington, D.C.“The expectation is, as we work our way through the remainder of 2014, that the U.S. economy will continue to strengthen,” he said, noting gains in aviation fuel sales and flight activity, as well as declining inventory and stabilizing sales prices for pre-owned aircraft.
Lufthansa Technik today promoted Walter Heerdt as senior vice president for VIP and executive jet solutions. He succeeds Dr. Hans Schmitz, who is retiring after seven years at the helm of Lufthansa Technik’s VIP division. Heerdt has headed the German company’s marketing and sales department since 2003. He joined Lufthansa in 1979 as a manager in the engine services division before rising through the ranks and eventually being named senior vice president of marketing and sales for the entire Lufthansa Technik Group 11 years ago.
Bombardier delivered the first EASA-registered Learjet 75 on Friday to the Roullier Group, a company based in France. The handover during a ceremony at Bombardier Learjet follows EASA approval for the Model 70 and 75 on September 12.
Dassault celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Falcon 900’s maiden flight this month. On Sept. 21, 1984, the Falcon 900 made its first flight in Merignac with Hervé Leprince Ringuet and Jérôme Résal at the controls. The Falcon 900 “enjoyed a thundering success among business aircraft buyers, and its power to attract enhanced the company market share,” the company said. Dassault has delivered 160 Falcon 900s and 900Bs worldwide. The current-production Falcon 900EX traces its lineage to these previous models.
Sikorsky celebrated the 10th anniversary this month of the delivery of the first production S-92 medium-twin helicopter to offshore oil/gas operator PHI. Since then, Sikorsky has delivered more than 200 of the type. The fleet has accumulated more than 750,000 flight hours, nearly 90 percent of which were logged in offshore oil/gas operations. Sikorsky is now looking forward to fattening the roster of countries that fly head-of-state S-92s: the U.S.’s Marine One Presidential fleet will be based on the 19-seat design.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) released two new safety bulletins last week focused on risk assessment and professionalism. The first, a flight/ground risk assessment tool (Frat/Grat), explains how a good Frat/Grat is intended to operate, and offers operators guidance for how to create their own. The second bulletin is called “Setting the Right Example: Flying Safely Even When No One Is Watching.”
The unveiling of a new livery on Thursday of Etihad Airways’ first A380 at Airbus’s Hamburg factory signaled the start of a new era for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, as it prepares to launch its first services with the superjumbo in December.
The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) is opposing further increases to the UK’s air passenger duty (APD) tax that would steeply raise fees for business aircraft passengers. Though the proposed changes would simplify and reduce charges for scheduled airline passengers, the association charges that business aviation was “specifically targeted” to pay more.
Delta Private Jets continues to see “record growth” for charter and jet card travel, the company announced this week. In fact, it recorded a 76-percent, year-over-year increase in jet card sales last month. This follows record growth in both June and July, “with September on track for similar activity.” As demand increases, Delta Private Jets said it is able to add popular business aircraft models via its “unique” aircraft management programs–one of which offers aircraft owners a guaranteed monthly income stream–to meet customers’ needs and spur additional growth.