It has turned out to be one of the biggest deals in business aviation that never was. In late January Jet Aviation announced it had rejected all purchase offers after a months-long effort to find a buyer for the charter, completions, maintenance and FBO conglomerate.
According to a statement by Raytheon Aircraft chairman and CEO Jim Schuster last month, certification of the super-midsize Hawker Horizon is still expected for late this year, but “our main focus is not so much the certification milestone, but to assure that we introduce a reliable, producible aircraft that meets or exceeds all of our customer expectations.
Flight Options, the second-largest fractional operator behind NetJets, and Raytheon Aircraft Services (RAS) reached an agreement in which RAS will provide all maintenance for the operator’s entire fleet. RAS will dedicate additional facilities for Flight Options maintenance, and all Flight Options mechanics will become RAS employees.
Aviation–and more particularly business aviation–is increasingly becoming the dominant component in the portfolio of UK public company BBA Group. The London-based group aviation holdings on both sides of the Atlantic now account for close to 60 percent of its worldwide business (out of approximately $2.3 billion total revenues recorded last year).
According to research from AvData, Amstat and ARG/US, Cleveland, Ohio-based Flight Options had a share-owner increase of 20.5 percent (from 541 owners to 652 owners) between December 31 last year through June 30 this year, the largest percentage increase of four major fractional aircraft ownership providers (including NetJets, Flexjet and Travel Air). As of last June, Flight Options had a 16-percent share of the owner market.
And you thought the dot.com bubble-burst was bad.
NetJets Services has chosen Rockwell Collins to provide avionics maintenance repair and technical support on its fleets of Gulfstream G200s and Raytheon Hawker 400XPs. Under two separate 10-year agreements, Collins Aviation Services will provide NetJets with forward exchange avionics support.
A lawsuit in which four former Raytheon Travel Air pilots alleged they were fired because of their union-organizing activities when the company merged with Flight Options in March 2002 was resolved early last month, just days before the case was scheduled to go to trial in Cleveland.
What began as a concept that met with outright skepticism and indeed some hostility by the established aviation industry has blossomed into a viable branch of business and personal transportation that continues to fuel manufacturers’ production lines, gobbles up flight crews and, at least for now, staves off recessionary pressures by keeping order books fat.
Above the Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring, Md., the rain and low ceiling cleared from overcast to broken, and then the cold mist lingered. A wet field of 256 golfers in the Greater Washington Aviation Open (GWAO) climbed to carts to await tournament director Paul “Bo” Bollinger’s signal for a shotgun start. Bollinger, whose regular job is with the Air Traffic Control Association, advised golfers to have fun, but swing clear.