NetJets has become the first combined 14 CFR 135/91K operator to achieve Level IV of the FAA’s Safety Management System Pilot Program. The March 27 certification provides a four-level system acknowledging development of a formal SMS in accordance with both FAA and international standards. The program is designed to guide operators in developing and implementing an integrated, comprehensive safety management system for their organization and required the U.S.-based operator to conduct thousands of hours of additional safety training for all employees.
Demand for air travel continues to surge worldwide as emerging markets led another strong month of traffic growth in February. International Air Transport Association (IATA) data released last week shows that passenger demand rose 3.7 percent during the month compared with February 2012. According to IATA, since last October passenger demand has grown at an annualized rate of 9 percent, almost double the growth trend over the first nine months of 2012.
Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, took what executives describe as an historic first step into aircraft leasing last week as it ordered 12 Boeing 737-800s. Expected to spur further financing and leasing of imported aircraft in Russia, the transaction calls for the bank’s Sberbank Leasing subsidiary to place the airplanes with Moscow-based Transaero Airlines.
A new aluminum-lithium foundry in Issoire, France, opened March 26 by aluminum specialist Constellium embodies the latest effort to regain ground lost to composite materials in aircraft construction. Dedicated to a new line of alloys dubbed Airware, the new casthouse has the capacity to produce 14,000 metric tons of aluminum-lithium per year, making it the world’s first large-scale production facility of the alloy.
The AgustaWestland deal in India for AW101 helicopters that is being investigated after bribery allegations has prompted the Indian government to re-examine its already delayed defense procurement procedure 2013 (DPP). This is now focusing on “indigenization,” which defense minister A.K. Antony described recently as the “ultimate solution to the scourge of corruption.”
Fuel Bidder, a new Delaware-based software provider, has launched Fuelbidder.com, a jet fuel marketplace application it says will help aircraft operators find the lowest jet fuel price at airports around the world. According to the company, the free app allows users to request pricing from hundreds of suppliers. Registered users input their uplift date, airport, preferred FBO, estimated fuel volume and a deadline by which they would like to receive all final price offers. The app will then send the request to each registered fuel supplier at the destination airport.
Bristol Flying Centre Group has unveiled its newly remodeled FBO, the sole aviation services provider at the UK’s Bristol Airport. Located in the southwest of the country, the airport has recently seen 1,700-percent growth in annual passenger numbers. To accommodate that passenger surge, the company has doubled the size of its terminal to 6,500 sq ft, including two separate lounges for private and charter flights as well as a crew lounge and redesigned passenger reception areas.
JA Air Center in Sugar Grove, Ill., opened its new completion and refurbishment shop in January and, according to sales director Rodd Caldwell, “business is picking up and the full crew of six has been busy over the past year, with a steady backlog of about two months.”
The center is focusing on interior work from the King Air through super-midsize jets. Currently in the shop are a Cessna 210, Learjet 40 and Challenger 300, “all of them in for partial cabin refurbishment.”
International Airlines Group (IAG) confirmed on Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Boeing that calls for the conversion of options on eighteen 787s to a firm order.
On March 26 an NBAA and NATA working group met with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials to discuss the Federal Excise Tax (FET) issue. IRS auditors are applying the FET to management fees and expenses paid by Part 91 (non-commercial) operators to management companies.