The union representing some 760 Flight Options pilots is charging that the Raytheon-owned fractional share company is engaging in a pattern of harassing and hostile behavior as both sides continue negotiations toward an initial contract. Under terms of the National Labor Relations Act those talks can continue through August 2007 before a strike could be called.
NetJets Europe’s order for 24 Dassault Falcon 7Xs reflects a powerful declaration of intent for both companies. For Dassault, the deal–valued at $1 billion–is its largest single business jet sale ever and a vital fillip for the 7X program, which now has an order book for 116 copies of the fly-by-wire trijet.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has moved to ease restrictions on access to U.S. skies for foreign charter operators. It will increase to 12 (from six) the number of flights any one operator can make per year into the country before having to apply for a Part 129 foreign carrier certificate, and address applications on an ad hoc basis pending a permanent rule change that could take another two years to implement.
Helicopter fractional ownership and charter company HeliFlite (Booth No. 5424) added a fourth Bell 430 to its fractional fleet in July and plans to add a fifth next summer. Since its founding in 1998, the Newark, N.J.-based company has sold more than 30 one-sixteenth shares in its Bell 430s, with each share providing 50 hours of flight time per year on a five-year contract.
Honeywell Aerospace expects the world’s business jet manufacturers to set a new delivery record next year and establish a strong precedent for a 10-year forecast period in which the industry will ship more than 12,000 airplanes worth $195 billion.
Million Air at press time was set to open its first FBO in Europe through a joint venture with the Flying Group of Belgium. The U.S. network will operate Flying Group’s new facility at Paris Le Bourget Airport in France. It will likely be known as Million Air Paris. The arrangement with Million Air does not relate to any of Flying Group’s other activities, namely executive aircraft charter, fractional ownership and management.
Assuming the next six months or so do not see a deterioration in trading conditions, the NetJets Europe fractional-ownership program should finally achieve an operating profit in the second half of this year.
On behalf of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), two separate task forces are tackling the vexed issue of regulating fractional ownership operations in Europe. One group is focusing on safety and licensing concerns and the other on security. Neither is expected to complete its recommendations until the middle of the year, according to an ECAC spokeswoman.
At the EBACE gathering in Geneva earlier this year, the joint industry working group on business aircraft operations (IWG-BAO), which includes NBAA, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), presented the initial findings of its work on corporate, fractional and commercial operations, with a view toward making a recommendation to the ECAC Task Force on fractional ownership.
PlaneSense, the Pilatus PC-12 regional fractional ownership program of Manchester, N.H.-based Alpha Flying, celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. The company, thought to have more than 100 shareowners, currently operates 20 PC-12s and has more on order. The company was formed to address the “shorter-distance, regional needs” of its shareowners.