Flight Options’ foundation since its launch in October 1998 has been the tenet that a fractional share in a pre-owned jet makes better financial sense than one in a new jet, and it is a notion some 750 owners have embraced in the past 3.5 years. Now, however, Flight Options’ marketing people are tasked with convincing potential buyers that the Cleveland-based operator is also the best place to buy a share in a new airplane.
In the year since it was created on May 1, 2007, the Isle of Man aircraft registry has established itself as a popular offshore registry for business jet owners. Just over 50 aircraft have taken the Isle of Man’s M-tail numbers, more than four times the number targeted by the British Crown Dependency’s government.
The next two years seem certain to see a softening in demand for business and private aviation, according to aircraft management and charter group Air Alsie.
Nonetheless, the Danish operator is staying focused on prospects for long-term growth, encouraging its owners to consider buying more modern and longer range aircraft that would hopefully be delivered just in time for a recovery from the current economic downturn.
Raytheon Aircraft Services in the UK has received RVSM group approval for Hawker 700s. The company is now seeking FAA approval. For older Hawker 700Bs requiring the replacement of mechanical altimeters with digital equipment and an air-data computer (ADC), the mod costs approximately $123,000. For later 700s, which require only the ADC installation and other modifications, the cost falls to about $65,000.
Raytheon Aircraft’s failure to provide wing-structure data will delay by several months Aviation Partners’ blended winglet program for the Hawker 800, a program for which the Seattle-based modification designer had hoped to receive certification this summer.
“We’ve had some very positive response from the marketplace,” a Honeywell spokesman said, but the company and partner Garrett Aviation Services have failed to obtain the minimum number of orders needed to launch a Hawker 700 engine upgrade program. Last spring the companies announced a program to install a new high-pressure-ratio fan and a new TFE731-5 hot section, creating a TFE731-4.
Two UK corporate flight departments have been quietly closed, and both companies appear to have been having a hard time finding buyers for their middle-aged, midsize business jets. The DeBeers diamond mining group is shutting down its Dravidian Air Services operation at London Heathrow Airport, and it is trying to sell its pair of 19-year-old Hawker 700Bs.
Aviation Partners now expects to receive certification of its winglets for the Hawker 800 next May, nearly a year later than originally planned. Failure to obtain certain engineering data from Raytheon Aircraft caused the delay, according to Aviation Partners. The Seattle company claims winglets allow the “Hawker 800SP” to fly 30 min longer or 180 nm further and 18 kt faster than a standard Hawker 800.
When the going gets tough, marketing departments heat up their branding irons. Or so it seemed at the 55th NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention in Orlando, Fla., last month. No fewer than three major business aircraft manufacturers announced new or reinvigorated brands for at least one of their offerings (see full stories elsewhere in this issue). The moves were as much a reaction to the wishy-washy U.S.
Business aircraft deliveries this year and next will drop slightly, while over the same 12- to 18-month period new orders should start to pick up slightly. These are the core predictions of the latest business aviation outlook report published by Honeywell Aerospace last month.