With the number of business jets in China steadily increasing, the country is facing a shortage of qualified pilots, with virtually all of those attending its flight academies and training schools destined for the commercial aviation sector. Operators in China use a ratio of five pilots for every business jet in operation, according to Christopher Jackson, co-founder and executive director of China-based aviation consultancy Jackson Rosenberg, who sees a need for hundreds of additional business jet pilots in the short to medium term.
Gulfstream Aerospace has been making major investments of its own to boost customer support in China. In November 2012 the U.S. manufacturer opened the country’s first factory-owned business jet service center at Beijing Capital International Airport.
West Star Aviation has completed the first installation of Rockwell Collins’ Skybox in a Gulfstream G550. The installation was completed at the company’s East Alton location and was delivered on time at the beginning of March. The new Skybox allows users to share movies, TV shows and music wirelessly and on demand through an onboard Apple iTunes library. West Star installed the Skybox AMSU-5100, which has the larger capacity of the two units offered.
ExecuJet Europe is relocating most of its accounting and information technology departments from the group’s Zurich, Switzerland headquarters to its new global operations center at Cambridge Airport in the UK. Last year, the business aviation services group transferred its aircraft operations department to Cambridge.
The latest move of ExecuJet personnel to the UK coincides with the appointment of Gerrit Basson as managing director of ExecuJet Europe. He is replacing Cedric Migeon, who is staying in Switzerland to start his own aviation consultancy business.
Basel, Switzerland-based Amac Aerospace has been granted maintenance organization approval by the State Civil Aviation Administration of Russia. This approval allows Amac to perform base and line maintenance work on all Russian-owned business aircraft, including bizliners. It also allows Amac to undertake heavy maintenance work up to C-checks at its facility at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. Since receiving the approval, Amac has worked on several Russian-owned jets, including the Gulfstream G450 and G550, Airbus ACJ319 and Boeing BBJ.
Aircraft manufacturers will deliver an estimated 9,400 business jets worth $253 billion over the next 10 years, according to a forecast released late last week by Montreal-based business aviation services firm Zenith Jet.
Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test Preston Henne will retire, effective March 31. Henne, who turned 65 last year, joined Gulfstream in 1994 and has since led the teams responsible for the design, development, test and certification of the Gulfstream V, G550 and flagship G650, among others. Dan Nale, Gulfstream’s vice president of advanced aircraft programs, will take over Henne’s position on April 1. Nale is a 10-year Gulfstream veteran who has overseen development of various next-generation aircraft at the company.
The freshly certified, wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 will make its Middle Eastern public debut at Abu Dhabi Air Expo, which will be held March 5 to 7 at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi. “We are delighted that Gulfstream has chosen [our] expo as the platform from which to premiere its latest aircraft and know it will be of great interest to [show] visitors,” said event director Didier Mary.
Gulfstream plans to have its G450 and G550 on static display at the show as well.
CAE’s Gulfstream G450/G550 flight simulator in Shanghai, China, recently received Level D certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The G450/G550 training programs are set to start soon at the Shanghai Eastern Flight Training Centre (SEFTC), in the Shanghai Pudong Waigaoqiao free trade zone. Both programs will feature standard CAE courseware in Mandarin, as well as English. The Shanghai facility is CAE’s 10th business aviation training location worldwide.
Gulfstream Aerospace has come to MEBA 2012 on the crest of a wave with deliveries of 104 “green” large-cabin jets forecast by the end of the year. The company has brought a G450 and G550 to the static display at MEBA this week, but was unable to fly a G650 or the new G280 to Dubai because it is focusing on delivering these new jets to customers.