When the economic bottom slipped from under the business aviation industry in 2001, those in the fractional ownership market were unsure where it would leave them. Recession was a new experience for those in the fractional market, which had come into its own in the mid-1990s, after the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
NetJets Europe is recruiting candidates for a new ab initio pilot training program that it hopes could provide its growing fractional ownership fleet with up to 45 new first officers each year. The part-sponsored program will be run by the UK’s Oxford Aviation Training (OAT), with the first 17-month courses due to start in May.
Avantair is offering a limited-time incentive to new buyers of Piaggio Avanti fractional shares. Customers who sign on the dotted line before March 20 are eligible to win a college basketball championship game day package consisting of round-trip travel aboard an Avanti and four tickets to the big game in Atlanta on April 2.
In a business world where a niche market may be the key to success, PlaneSense has apparently found both niche and success, operating a fractional ownership fleet composed solely of PC-12 turboprop singles and serving the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
NetJets Europe (NJE) sold shares in 18 complete aircraft last year, representing an 80-percent increase in sales over 2003. By the end of last year the European fractional ownership program’s fleet consisted of 58 aircraft. That number is set to grow to 91, with 33 deliveries scheduled for this year.
Atlanta-based aviation placement company AIR projects that the four major fractional aircraft ownership companies will hire at least 1,000 pilots this year, more than double the 482 hired last year, but fewer than the record 1,363 hired in 2000. The last year in which the fractionals hired more than 1,000 pilots was 2001, according to AIR. NetJets, the largest fractional operator, is expected to hire more than a third of the projected total.
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Jet Alliance claims to be the first company to offer fractional shares in the Eclipse 500 very light jet. “The technology used to build this aircraft allows us to offer shares at an incredible value,” said v-p Craig Arnold. A one-sixteenth share costs $75,500, with $1,250 per month maintenance charge and $650 per occupied hour fee.
NetJets Europe pilots have yet to form their planned trade union and now there are signs that the movement to do so might be losing momentum as flight crews consider the revised pay and conditions offer the fractional ownership group made in early December.
Long-time business aviation leader Jim Christiansen might be feeling a little déjà vu after his appointment last month as president of NetJets Aviation in Columbus, Ohio. From 1990 to 1992 he was president of Executive Jet Aviation, as the company was known then.
NetJets chairman and CEO Richard Santulli announced that long-time business aviation leader Jim Christiansen “will be assuming the position of president of NetJets Aviation,” in Columbus, Ohio. Santulli said, “With Jim's depth of experience, there is no one who knows our business better.” The position has been unfilled since Bill Boisture resigned in January 2006 after joining the fractional operator in October 2003.