When Lee Monson joined Boeing Business Jets in fall 1996, expectations for the joint venture of Boeing and engine-builder General Electric, announced that July, were optimistic, but not very high. “We were expecting to sell one BBJ a month,” recalled Borge Boeskov, then president of the fledgling unit.
That sound you hear is the subdued tightening of belts as business aviation faces a recession after a half-decade of unprecedented growth.
Airbus announced at last month’s NBAA show the World Ranger, a corporate version of the four-engine A340-200. “It is important to note this is not an ACJ2 but rather an entirely different aircraft based on the A340 with a range in excess of 8,000 nautical miles,” said Richard Gaona, Airbus’ v-p corporate jetliner.
Aviation safety officials probing the British Airways (BA) Boeing 777 accident at London Heathrow in January are continuing to focus on the fuel system. They want to know why the airplane lost power on final approach to LHR. The 777, on a long-range flight from Beijing to London, touched down 1,000 feet short of the paved surface of LHR’s Runway 27L before coming to rest astride a taxiway junction near the threshold.
Aeronautical chart provider Jeppesen is experiencing first hand some of the angst that can accompany a business’s transition to the brave new world of digital product and service marketing. In Jepp’s case problems arose from glitches with its FliteDeck electronic approach chart software, a recent version of which wreaked serious havoc by locking up users’ computers.
Boeing completed a redesign of a 737 rudder control system and, as expected, the FAA formally proposed an AD that will require the installation of the system on some 2,000 Boeing 737-100s, -200s, -300s and -400s within a five-year period.
DeCrane Aircraft Systems’ PATS unit recently completed a 42,000-sq-ft expansion of its facility at Sussex County Airport in Georgetown, Del. The two hangars can now simultaneously accommodate up to five Boeing Business Jets. PATS is an authorized BBJ service center and recently began interior completions on a BBJ. PATS is the Boeing-authorized installation facility for BBJ winglets and long-range auxiliary fuel systems.
A General Electric spokesman confirmed the sale of its Garrett Santa Barbara completion center to Yankee Pacific and WestCap Partners Private Equity Fund. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based facility delivered the second of two Boeing Business Jet completions this year and has a contract with Bombardier for a series of Global Express completions.
The market for business jets–both new and used–has taken on a decidedly more global complexion in the past three years in the estimation of Jay and Josh Mesinger, CEO and vice president, respectively, of Boulder, Colorado-based J.Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales. “It used to be when the U.S. sneezed the rest of the world caught a cold,” said Jay Mesinger. “That’s not so much the case anymore, and we think that’s a good thing.”
Gore Design Completions (Booth No. 261), already a force in the narrow- and widebody completion and refurbishment industry, has just taken on what may be its biggest challenge to date–the executive/VIP outfitting of a head-of-state Boeing 777-200. The San Antonio, Texas-based company had previously done a 767 interior for the same central Asian customer and is working on the client’s Boeing 737-700 cabin.