At press time NetJets had not named a new president, the position from which Bill Boisture resigned early last month. During his two-year tenure, Boisture, 59, was the company’s front-line negotiator with the pilot and flight attendant unions. Both groups ratified five-year labor contracts with NetJets management late last year.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has been split by a major disagreement over what operating rules should apply to fractional ownership in Europe.
The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) has deferred a decision on proposed security arrangements for fractional-ownership flights operating into Europe. The Paris-based organization discussed the issue at a meeting on December 7 and 8, but a spokesperson reported that ECAC has not yet reached a final decision.
The five major fractional operators hired nearly twiceas many pilots last year as in 2004. According to AIR, an Atlanta-based employment consultant, NetJets, Flight Options, CitationShares, Flexjet and Avantair, combined, hired 816 pilots last year, compared with 482 in all of 2004. AIR predicts the fractionals will hire 1,000 pilots this year.
Cessna 560 Citation V Ultra, Woodruff, Wis., Jan. 5, 2006–Citation V Ultra N391QS, registered to NetJets Sales, was substantially damaged when the right wing hit the runway while landing at Lakeland Airport/Noble F. Lee Memorial Field at 8 a.m. The airplane then ran off the runway into a snow bank. There were no injuries to the ATP-rated pilot and copilot and five passengers.
Gulfstream Aerospace president Bryan Moss has announced plans for a $300 million, seven-year expansion of the company’s manufacturing and service facilities in Savannah, Ga. The facility’s square footage will increase approximately 70 percent by 2012, resulting in an increase of about 1,100 jobs, a 25-percent jump from the current employment level of 4,300 people.
NetJets Europe will hire more than 100 pilots this year–the largest intake of aircrew since the fractional ownership program started in 1996. It is looking for applicants with a minimum of 1,500 hours total flying time, 500 hours multi-engine time, a valid European Union passport and a full European air transport pilots license.
Last month the Flight Options pilots overwhelmingly voted for union representation under International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 1108. According to the National Mediation Board, which conducted the election, 67 percent of the 795 eligible line pilots at the fractional provider were in favor of the union. Local 1108 also represents the pilots at competing fractional provider NetJets.
Several executive changes at Flight Options have followed in the wake of Raytheon’s full acquisition of the Cleveland-based fractional provider in late December. Chief marketing officer Cameron Gowan is out, and company leader Michael Scheeringa is solidly in.
While its larger competitor NetJets saw profits vanish last year, fractional ownership operator Flexjet is reporting “our best year yet in terms of revenue and profitability.”