Six months ago, business aircraft manufacturers were publicly confident that their backlog of new aircraft orders stretching well into the next decade would provide a buffer to ease the industry through what was already flagged as an economic crisis. Today, cancellations and delivery deferrals are eating into those backlogs, and the OEMs are making adjustments that were only being hinted at two months ago.
Republic Airways Holdings
Al Jaber Aviation, a subsidiary of the Al Jaber Group in Abu Dhabi, today at the Middle East Business Aviation convention in Dubai unveiled details of its entry into the VIP and corporate aviation market by announcing a $1.2 billion investment for the acquisition of 21 corporate jets and bizliners.
German business jet operator DC Aviation (Stand No. 4) has declared its intention to increase its presence in the United Arab Emirates as part of an international expansion, which will also include establishing an FBO in Malta “in the next 12 months.” This will build on its existing activity on the Mediterranean island, where it claims to be “the only dedicated business jet handling company.”
“World air travel should grow [at] five percent per year between 2009 to 2028,” according to forecast data released last week by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. The highest growth will be in China, estimated at more than 7.5 percent per year, followed by Latin America and Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States each at 6 percent.
Midwest Airlines will replace all but nine of its Boeing 717s with 12 Embraer E170s flown by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways as part of an effort to restructure its fleet and fend off bankruptcy. As part of the deal, Midwest announced that Republic flight crew would fly the 12 E170s as Midwest Connect, temporarily replacing Midwest Airlines Boeing 717 crew until they receive training on the Brazilian equipment.
Comlux America, a newly created subsidiary of Comlux The Aviation Group, has purchased Indianapolis Jet Center, located at Indianapolis International Airport in Indiana. Plans call for renaming Indianapolis Jet Center Comlux Completion USA and focusing on VIP completion services.
It was just a few short years ago that Embraer, with only one business jet in its stable and the market for 50-seat regional jets maturing, made the decision to suit-up for the business jet game. Now, at NBAA 2008, nobody doubts that this Brazilian manufacturer is pursuing its campaign as fiercely, and successfully, as it fought Bombardier et al for RJ sales.
Over the last 76 years, Exxon Mobil has operated a variety of aircraft from Beech Staggerwings and Douglas DC-3s to Gulfstream IVs and the Bombardier Global Express. Today, the 68-member flight department operates four Global Expresses and five Challenger 300s. James Johnson, who joined the company in 1991, became manager of aviation services last year when Patricia Andrews retired.
The new president of Bombardier’s fractional ownership and jet card programs has brought a unique perspective to the Canadian manufacturer’s Flexjet and Skyjet operations. Fred Reid, who took the helm on August 25, is the former CEO of Virgin America and has spent more than 25 years working within the commercial aviation sector.
British air-taxi operator start-up FlairJet last month announced plans to start operations next May with a pair of Embraer Phenom 100s. It will lease the very light jets from an undisclosed Embraer customer in Europe that has 10 Phenom 100s on order. FlairJet has placed an order for one Phenom 100, which is scheduled for delivery in 2012. The company also has an option for another.