The corporate shuttle. It starts “here,” goes “there” and comes back again on a regular schedule. Not unlike a weaver’s “shuttle,” efficiently pulling the thread back and forth to create a work worthy of the weaver’s craft. And that, in essence, is what the corporate shuttle aircraft does.
PrivatAir took delivery of a BBJ2 late last year and on January 16 started operating a business-class daily round-trip link between Zurich and Newark on behalf of Swiss International Air Lines. The aircraft is equipped with 56 widely spaced lie-flat seats, each fitted with a laptop connection. Although the airline announced the service as a code-share flight, tickets are available only through Swiss’ sales system.
The recent shift in top management signals the beginning of a new phase of growth for business aviation management and charter provider PrivatAir Group. On February 1, former COO Greg Thomas was named CEO, succeeding David Hurley, who was appointed vice-chairman of PrivatAir SA of Geneva.
It has turned out to be one of the biggest deals in business aviation that never was. In late January Jet Aviation announced it had rejected all purchase offers after a months-long effort to find a buyer for the charter, completions, maintenance and FBO conglomerate.
The scheduled airlines, after years of seeing business-class travelers lured away by business aviation operators, are fighting back.
The third running of EBACE, the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, has established the Geneva, Switzerland event as a solid entry in the world aerospace calendar, with three major business aircraft manufacturers (Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon) choosing to attend EBACE instead of this month’s Paris Air Show.
In Europe, reaction to September 11 included shock, outrage, empathy and resolve. Terrorism and the threat of violence have been staples of the European consciousness for decades. Whether it’s the Irish Republican Army in the UK or radical Islamic militants in Germany, Europeans have had to be far more conscious than Americans of the terror threat.
Above the Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring, Md., the rain and low ceiling cleared from overcast to broken, and then the cold mist lingered. A wet field of 256 golfers in the Greater Washington Aviation Open (GWAO) climbed to carts to await tournament director Paul “Bo” Bollinger’s signal for a shotgun start. Bollinger, whose regular job is with the Air Traffic Control Association, advised golfers to have fun, but swing clear.
Lufthansa will offer nonstop service in a Boeing Business Jet scheduled to operate six times weekly starting June 17 between Newark International and Dusseldorf Airports. The aircraft, provided through a wet-lease arrangement with Swiss charter firm PrivatAir, is fitted with 48 business-class seats and is painted in Lufthansa livery.
Two former PrivatAir vice presidents have launched Alerion, a charter brokerage firm with operations in Connecticut, New York, California and Florida. The company arranges corporate, individual and family charter services and offers management and advisory services to its clients.