Deliveries of new business jets continue to grow despite the slow economy and, according to Honeywell’s 10th annual business aviation outlook, the market will remain healthy in the near term with purchase expectations up in all regions.
“Both the postponement of the 54th Annual Meeting and Convention and its re-scheduling for December were in response to the needs of our members,” Jack Olcott, NBAA president, told AIN.
Aircell announced that it will charge a flat monthly fee of $1,495 for unlimited access to its air-to-ground broadband data service by business aviation users. “We believe all-you-can-use pricing makes the most sense for the business aviation market,” said CEO Jack Blumenstein, adding that per-passenger pricing models will be rolled out for fractional jet owners after the broadband service debuts later this year.
“We oppose this proposal in every part and recommend that it be withdrawn.” This was the terse comment from fractional pilot Thomas Gasta to the FAA’s proposed regulations covering fractional aircraft ownership. The proposal, whose comment period is closed now, received more than 200 responses. The vast majority of the responses supported the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in its entirety or with minor suggested changes.
JetLimited, the new fractional aircraft ownership program from Rifton Aviation, believes it sets itself apart from other regional and national frax programs in several ways, all intended to result in more personalized service to its target Northeast U.S. customers than other frax operations.
Thanks to a group of academic economists from Harvard and Stanford, we now know that the U.S. economy has been in a recession since last March. But despite academia’s confirmation of what most of us had already figured out on our own, the World Wide Web–and by extension the e-commerce business model–is not on the verge of extinction.
With the coming introduction of the Global Express into the Bombardier Flexjet fractional-ownership fleet, allocated usage will be based on days or hours, a departure from other fractional programs. A one-eighth share will provide up to 30 days or 125 hr a year and a half share entitles owners to 120 days or 500 hr.
Flight Options and Raytheon Aircraft are combining their fractional-ownership programs into a new company in which the “new” Flight Options will hold 50.1 percent and Raytheon will hold 49.9 percent. The new Flight Options will account for more than 1,600 share owners, 200 jets and 900 pilots. Raytheon Aircraft will also supply Flight Options with 115 new business jets.
The 843 pilots hired by six major fractional aircraft ownership companies in the first nine months of this year were about 30 percent fewer than the 1,210 frax pilots hired in the same period last year, according to employment tracking firm AIR. Nearly 1,400 frax pilots were hired during all of last year, compared with just 581 in 1999.
The demise of Avolar before it really got started is not an omen for the fractional aircraft provider industry. Introduced with much fanfare a year ago, Avolar was barely off the ground when its parent, UAL Corp., pulled back the power and shut off the fuel. Avolar failed for the most part because it wasn’t able to muster the significant upfront investment needed to launch a fractional operation, not because the fractional market is waning.