Increasing size provides economies of scale for any business, but for fractional operators attaining “critical mass” in terms of fleet size and flight crews is essential to the model working at all. Profitability then depends on the details of pricing and cost control.
Ask an airline executive to rank the most frustrating aspects of his job, and labor relations will more often than not top the list, particularly at a time of massive layoffs and salary reductions. Of course, some airlines experience more success than others in maintaining relatively positive relationships with their employees.
Last month’s ratification of a cost-cutting deal by the 1,400 pilots of Air Canada Jazz could set the country’s regional airline industry on an entirely new course if management succeeds with a reorganization plan centered on a broader scope of operation for the Air Canada regional subsidiary.
Turbulent economic times are challenging for a firm that places pilots, flight department managers, flight attendants, schedulers/dispatchers, maintenance technicians and other aviation professionals. Founded by two pilots in 1983, Jet Professionals Inc. (JPI) is now located at Jet Aviation’s Teterboro, N.J. facility after nearly two decades at its original Shelton, Conn. location.
In an unusual move, the FAA has proposed an AD that would require pilots to view a new icing-awareness training video before they could serve as PIC of Mitsubishi MU-2Bs. The requirement would supplement a 1997 AD requiring MU-2B pilots to take an eight-hour training course about flying in icing conditions.
The growth of fractional aircraft share sales has cooled recently, reflected by delayed and canceled orders for new aircraft by fractional providers (AIN, May, page 1). Another apparent reflection of the downturn is the sharp reduction in total pilot hiring by the major fractional providers.
Cleveland-based Flight Options came full circle this week when company founder Kenn Ricci returned to the helm, some six years after he sold the fractional provider. He now comes back to a flagging company in need of help, not to mention one with pilot labor problems. AIN spoke with Ricci to find out his plans for turning Flight Options around, as well as making peace with the pilots.
Simulation and training specialist CAE is about to embark on a full-scale beta test of the new multi-crew pilot’s license (MPL) curriculum it developed to complement existing programs in its Global Academy.
Nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is now offering an accelerated first officer flight training (FOFT) program, which trains first officer candidates to regional airline and corporate fleet standards in less than a year.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is taking steps to address the looming pilot and mechanic shortage facing airlines globally. IATA’s training and qualification initiative looked at manufacturers’ market outlook studies, which predict that 17,650 new passenger aircraft will be delivered by 2018, requiring more than 200,000 new pilots, or nearly 19,000 pilots a year.