When business aviation is booming, as it is now, nowhere is it more evident than at FBOs, the place at airports where everybody ends up hanging out, working, planning, preparing, departing and arriving. FBOs are also the place where most people are introduced to non-airline aviation.
While 2003 general aviation shipping and billing numbers are hardly cause for celebration, the CEOs of GA manufacturers are generally upbeat and optimistic that a turnaround has been reached. And even though 2003 was a “challenging year,” it still ranks as the fifth best year for billings in GA’s history.
When the ICAO Assembly meets in Montreal late this month, the International Business Aircraft Council (IBAC) will propose standardization of international regulations governing fractional ownership operations. At present, the U.S.
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.