Last year charter/management provider Executive Jet Management added 38 aircraft and a dozen bases bringing its total fleet size to more than 100 aircraft based at more than 50 locations in the U.S. As a division of NetJets, Executive Jet provides charter backup for the fractional aircraft ownership operator.
In the single largest training agreement in its history, Dallas-based CAE SimuFlite will soon start training all 900-plus pilots of Flight Options, the second-largest fractional aircraft ownership operation in the world. The exclusive three-year agreement, with an option for two more years, is valued at about $28 million and is effective starting this month.
With the exception of Bombardier Flexjet, 13 major and minor players in the fractional industry continued their growth cycle last year, according to Wichita-based AvData. Total net shares last year surged past 6,200, up 6.7 percent from 2002. During the same period, the fractional turbine fleet grew 6.1 percent–to more than 800 aircraft.
CESSNA 560 CITATION, SAVANNAH, GA., NOV. 25, 2003–A Cessna Citation 560 (N632QS) registered to Convergys Corp c/o NetJets Sales, Oklahoma City, Okla. received minor damage when it landed with the nosewheel retracted on Runway 9 at Savannah (SAV), Ga. There were no injuries in the November 25 incident, which occurred at approximately 10 p.m. in VMC. The aircraft had departed Hilton Head (HXD), S.C.
The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through third-quarter deliveries and billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. New aircraft billings were up 19.7 percent, to $8.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, while total deliveries of new GA airplanes increased 7.7 percent, to 1,928.
In his annual letter to shareholders published early last month, investment mogul Warren Buffett said earnings improved last year at Berkshire Hathaway’s flight services division, which includes FlightSafety International (FSI) and NetJets. Last year the unit saw its pre-tax profits rise to $191 million on revenues of $3.24 billion, up substantially from the previous year’s $72 million profit on revenues of $2.43 billion.
On December 23 NetJets pilots overwhelmingly elected the five-member master executive council (MEC) slate known as Strong Union. Eighty-nine percent of the more than 1,900-strong unionized fractional pilot workforce supported the candidates and delivered a vote of no confidence to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284.
Lufthansa passengers can now book NetJets Europe aircraft to fly them to and from the German flag carrier’s main long-haul hub at Munich. The new Lufthansa Private Jets service, which was set to begin at the start of the summer airline schedule on March 29, will offer passengers fast and direct connections between the Lufthansa airliners and their chartered business jet.
The stereotypical business aircraft in the Middle East is a widebody airliner converted to money-no-object specifications for an omnipotent sheikh. While there are still plenty of lavish VIP and head-of-state transports fitting this description, business aviation in this region appears to be evolving to become more business-like, pragmatic and functional.
Raytheon Aircraft last month reached a “tentative agreement” for NetJets to purchase up to 50 Hawker Horizons for its fractional aircraft fleet. The deal is expected to be finalized before the end of this month. In mid-2003, NetJets canceled a 1999 order for 50 Horizons due to “developmental and certification delays.” Full certification of the Hawker Horizon is still not expected until around midyear.