According to the Orlando Sentinel, state and local officials are drafting an incentive package to lure fractional provider NetJets to Orlando, Fla. “As NetJets’ business continues to grow and as we expand and add more employees and more aircraft, we also must add new infrastructure to maintain the highest standards of service and safety,” a NetJets spokeswoman told AIN.
As a group, the four largest fractional operators reported pilot hiring activity significantly off from what it was a year ago, according to AIR Inc., the Atlanta firm that tracks the aviation job market. In the first nine months of this year, AIR Inc. said NetJets, Flight Options, CitationShares and Flexjet hired a total of just 148 pilots compared with 997 in the same period last year.
Bill Boisture, who resigned suddenly in April as president of Gulfstream Aerospace, has been on the job for the last 30 days as president of NetJets. He joined the Woodbridge, N.J.-based fractional-ownership operator early last month and is directing the company’s North American operations out of Columbus, Ohio.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended the trading of Connect-A-Jet securities for 11 days last month, from October 1 to October 12, due to alleged “deceptive practices” by the online charter broker.
Jet Aviation Zurich has expanded its capabilities to include major interior refurbishment. One of the first beneficiaries of the expansion was the Citation VII, below, refurbished for fractional-ownership provider NetJets.
The surprise departure last month of Bill Boisture from Gulfstream after 10 years as its president and the naming of vice chairman Bryan Moss as his replacement tops a list of several major revelations over the last few months by the Savannah, Ga.-based manufacturer.
When Richard Santulli sold three fractional shares in a business aircraft in 1986, people snickered. Ten years later, NetJets had sold 1,551 shares and Santulli was the one left laughing. Today, NetJets has company in the fractional-ownership industry, an industry that now represents 5,827 fractional shares. Even with the current economic slump, last year’s new share sales were up by 17 percent over the tally for 2001.
Sentient, launched four years ago as a business aviation charter broker, is now second only to fractional-ownership giant NetJets in the number of business jet flights flown annually, according to president and CEO Mark Stone.
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.