Cleveland-based fractional aircraft provider Flight Options took delivery of its first Embraer Phenom 300 on Tuesday. Flight Options has a firm order for 100 of the light jets and options on 50 more. The Phenom 300s are scheduled to be delivered at a rate of about 10 per year over the next 10 years. The first three fractional Phenoms have already been pre-sold, according to a Flight Options spokesman.
Aircraft management company Global Jet Concept marks its 10th anniversary this year at a time when longevity itself is quite an accomplishment in an industry that has been badly buffeted by the financial crisis for the past 18 months or so. The Geneva-based company has some 60 aircraft under management contracts, with 22 of them available for charter.
Avinode and Charter X have completed the merger that they agreed to in March and are pressing ahead with plans to form what will be the executive charter market’s largest online portal. Avinode has bought out the Charter X shares for an undisclosed sum. The two companies’ technical teams have started work to integrate the rival systems.
Former NetJets Europe executive Chris Moody claims he has helped to bring liquidity back into the market for fractional shares in business aircraft by offering a way to buy and sell shares without incurring what he regards as the prohibitive fees associated with fractional ownership contracts.
Pre-owned business jet prices are down 40 percent from the heights of 2008 and are now on average 15 percent below “market value,” Aircraft Post president
Cessna Aircraft yesterday completed its acquisition of business aviation flight services provider CitationAir. With the move, CitationAir becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Cessna but maintains its separate operation. The original company–called CitationShares until the name was changed this past October–was started in 2000 as a 50-50 joint venture between Cessna and TAG Aviation Holding.
Data on the U.S. fractional share industry show that last year was extremely challenging for the big four fractional operators–NetJets, Flexjet, Flight Options and CitationAir–and for smaller but healthier Avantair.
Data released yesterday by aviation specialized services firm Argus indicates that business aircraft flight activity last month increased 5.3 percent from year-ago levels. However, January numbers were down slightly–2.8 percent–from December, and the year-over-year increase fell short of analysts’ predictions of double-digit flight activity gains during the first half of this year.
Since Sentient Jet was purchased by Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners last September, the company has returned to its roots, according to CEO Steven Hankin. Business is down, he concedes, but the slumping economy has forced business travelers to avoid owning capital assets–and therefore moved them toward purchasing jet cards.
Fractional ownership of private aircraft seems to be a struggling business model in North America and Europe but it’s alive and well in this part of the world, according to NetJets Middle East (NJME). The company, which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s National Air Service and is affiliated to U.S.-based NetJets Inc.