The five major fractional operators fell short of AIR’s projected pilot hiring levels last year, according to statistics prepared by the Atlanta-based aviation employment consultant. The major players–Avantair, CitationShares, Flexjet, Flight Options and NetJets–hired 674 new pilots, more than 300 shy of AIR’s January 2006 estimate that 1,000 pilots would be required.
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.
The union representing air traffic controllers rejected the FAA’s request yesterday for federal mediation to help the agency reach a labor agreement with controllers, labeling it a “publicity stunt.” A 1998 contract expired on September 30, and the FAA suggests that little progress has been made since it and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association began negotiating on July 13.
CitationShares v-p of flight operations and chief pilot J.D. Witzig on Tuesday confirmed that the fractional provider will raise its pilot wages as of January 1. These higher wages will raise the bar above what the NetJets pilots negotiated in the contract they ratified last month, meaning that CitationShares pilots will become the best-paid in the fractional industry.
The FAA on Tuesday issued a final rule amending Part 121 regulations governing drug and alcohol testing to clarify that “each person who performs a safety-sensitive function for a regulated employer by contract, including by subcontract at any tier, is subject to testing.” These amendments are necessary, the FAA said, because guidance has been conflicting for more than a decade “about which contractors were subject to drug and alcohol testing.
With White House budget cuts restored by Congress, NASA is returning to its roots by restructuring its aeronautics research mission directorate to emphasize cutting-edge fundamental research, as well as protecting its far-flung test facilities as national assets.
Since the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 filed an application letter to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for representation of the 830 Flight Options pilots earlier this month, the fractional provider has increased efforts to thwart the union drive. It has set up a Web site to provide information to the pilot workforce about unions and, according to NMB filings, hired union-busting law firm Ford & Harrison.
Nearly three months after the union representing air traffic controllers rejected the FAA’s request for federal mediation to help reach a labor agreement, the union has changed its mind, saying it is “unhappy with the pace of the negotiations in the last two weeks.” When the FAA called for federal mediation last November, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) labeled it a “publicity stunt.” At that time, a NATCA spokesman to
The major U.S. fractional providers appear to be poised for growth this year, if estimates of pilot hiring and aircraft delivery intake are accurate. NetJets recently said it plans to hire 450 pilots this year, and New York-based analyst UBS Investment Research predicts that the New Jersey-based fractional provider will take delivery of 76 business jets by year-end.
Gulfstream Aerospace, which experienced a 12-percent increase in aircraft production last year compared with 2004 and expects that growth to continue, revealed plans yesterday for a $300 million expansion of manufacturing and service facilities at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters. This project, to unfold over the next seven years, includes a new 570,000-sq-ft service center–more than twice the size of the existing center.