Four months after John Nahill, former v-p of corporate strategy and development at Raytheon Co., took charge of Flight Options from its founder and then chairman and CEO Kenn Ricci, Raytheon in mid-June completed a “financial recapitalization agreement” in which it now owns approximately 65 percent of the world’s second-largest fractional aircraft ownership company.
The growth of fractional aircraft share sales has cooled recently, reflected by delayed and canceled orders for new aircraft by fractional providers (AIN, May, page 1). Another apparent reflection of the downturn is the sharp reduction in total pilot hiring by the major fractional providers.
Flight Options’ paperless cockpits are so well-liked by its pilots that those who end up with airplanes not yet equipped with electronic flight bags (EFBs) feel slighted.
James Miller, v-p of Flight Options, said here yesterday that the two “hot things for us this year” are installing EFBs in the remainder of the fractional giant’s 200-plus fleet of airplanes and putting AirCell satcom phones in all of its aircraft.
The last year has been a rewarding one for Jet-Care International of Cedar Knolls, N.J., a subsidiary of UK’s Spectro Laboratories, its representatives reported at NBAA ’02. The company has expanded the list of clients for its services while also gaining good response to the new upgrade for its ECHO (Engine Condition Health Online) software package.
It’s become tradition. No sooner does a manufacturer introduce a new airplane than NetJets follows right behind with an order announcement. This year’s NBAA Convention is no exception. The Woodbridge, N.J.-based fractional jet operator has placed orders and options for 200 of the newest midsize business jets, introduced here by Cessna and Gulfstream, transactions that have a potential value of nearly $2 billion.
Bombardier Flexjet announced its selection as fractional provider to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) at a press conference yesterday and introduced a member of the Flexjet/NASA oversight committee, Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 astronaut and the last man to walk on the moon.
When TAG Aviation took over Aeroleasing in Switzerland and Aviation Methods in California, and finally Wayfarer Aviation on the East Coast, all in 1998 and 1999, the aim was to set up an operation that would be active in all major markets.
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.