Directional Aviation Capital (DAC) is “realigning” its two fractional aircraft providers–Flight Options and Flexjet–to eliminate confusion in the marketplace since acquiring Dallas-based Flexjet from Bombardier in December. “Frankly, we were even a little confused internally about how the two brands were differentiated,” DAC principal Kenn Ricci told AIN.
Textron Aviation confirmed to AIN that it will terminate flight operations at its former fractional and charter/management operation, CitationAir, on October 31. The move comes 2.5 years after CitationAir stopped selling fractional shares in new aircraft and ceased renewals for current fractional-share customers in February 2012, saying at that time it would instead focus on its jet card and aircraft management products. The company is now abandoning even that modest plan.
Avantto is one of Brazil’s most active aircraft management and fractional ownership companies. In addition to its more traditional services, it launched a new Combo program this year under which owners can purchase a share that includes flight time in both a fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter.
Fifteen years after inventing the jet card, which simplifies the purchase of a block of charter hours, Sentient Jet sees no slowdown in demand for the product it pioneered. “We’re having a great year,” said Sentient president Andrew Collins. “In many respects it feels a lot like stuff we’ve been talking about is coming to fruition.”
A busy year for upheaval in the fractional ownership and closed-fleet private aviation sectors reached a crescendo in December when Flight Options parent company Directional Aviation Capital completed its $185 million acquisition of Bombardier’s Flexjet program.
Flexjet saw a 60-percent surge in new fractional aircraft sales and a 57-percent jump in jet card sales last month year-over-year, the company announced yesterday. For the entire year, Flexjet’s fractional share sales rose 10 percent, while jet card sales climbed 29 percent over 2012. After 18 years under Bombardier Aerospace’s wing, Flexjet was acquired last month by Directional Aviation Capital.
VistaJet is moving into the U.S. private lift market with a new alliance with Jet Aviation Flight Services, which is to operate a fleet of 12 Bombardier Globals on its behalf. The Europe-based group has made clear its intention to target former and current fractional ownership clients in building its North American client base. Under the terms of an agreement announced on September 6 in New York City, the Europe-based private flight provider also is teaming with start-up membership-based program Wheels Up to market VistaJet’s Flight Solutions Program (FSP) to customers in the U.S.
PlaneSense took delivery of the 1,200th PC-12 at its Portsmouth, N.H. headquarters last month during a ceremony hosted by company founder and CEO George Antoniadis. The aircraft is the 49th PC-12 acquired by PlaneSense since its founding in 1995 and launch in 1996. With retirements (typically after 6,500 hours of service) and replacements over the years, PlaneSense’s current fleet counts 30 of the turboprop singles, with an average age of five years (including the four core aircraft).
Prime Fraction Club, whose members buy shares in high-end boats and automobiles as well as aircraft, has added a new six-passenger AgustaWestland AW109 Grand to its fleet, which now features 10 helicopters. The pricing structure for the fractional ownership program offers one-quarter shares in an AW109S Grand at a buy-in cost of R$3.56 million ($1.55 million), in addition to a fixed monthly fee of R$34,724 ($15,074) for maintenance, hangar space and other costs.
Even as the Brazilian economy appears in a slow slide downward, business aviation fractional ownership operator Avantto (Stand 6111) is watching its value grow. “People are flying about 20 percent more, and the number of flights at Avantto is growing faster than the size of our fleet,” said company president Rogério Andrade.
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