A busy year for upheaval in the fractional ownership and closed-fleet private aviation sectors reached a crescendo in December when Flight Options parent company Directional Aviation Capital completed its $185 million acquisition of Bombardier’s Flexjet program.
For Brazil’s Embraer, a lot has changed in the 13 years since it first laid brick and mortar in Asia. The world’s major airframe makers now consider China, for example, the second biggest market for airliners in the world, and Embraer’s establishment, first, of an office in Beijing, and later, of a joint venture to build ERJ 145 regional jets in Harbin has proved prescient.
The worldwide supply of used aircraft is revisiting a level not seen in more than five years, despite a growing business jet population that saw nearly 4,000 enter service during that period. The U.S. claimed nearly half of those new aircraft deliveries, followed by Europe and Asia, South America and Africa and Australia. One might speculate that if a buyer is purchasing a business jet in a down economy there must be an excellent reason for the investment, and perhaps this is why only 200 of those delivered during this period have made their way onto the used market.
The FAA kept its oft-repeated promise to designate six unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test sites by the end of last year. On December 30, the agency announced that it had selected universities and other public entities in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia to operate test sites at their own expense, fulfilling a requirement of Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization act.
The January 5 crash of a Bombardier Challenger 601-3R during the crew’s second attempted landing at Aspen Pitkin County Airport (ASE) has prompted pilots to question both their own limitations and the difficulties involved in landing at the Denver resort. Even under visual conditions, mountains that rise 5,000 to 6,000 feet above field elevation make Aspen a one-way-in, one-way-out airport: land on Runway 15 and depart from Runway 33.
The FAA continues to fall behind with the implementation of its Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general. The IG has been conducting ongoing assessment of the FAA’s progress with NextGen under the provisions in Title II of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
The union that represents Allegiant Air’s pilots–APA Teamsters Local 1224, currently in contract negotiations with the airline–is to present its longstanding concerns about safety issues directly to the carrier’s investors. The initiative, announced last week in a press statement, comes after months of what it sees as fruitless efforts to resolve the issues with the FAA and the airline’s management.
The FAA announced January 31 that it is downgrading India’s aviation safety rating to category two from category one in response to a recent International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit. A category-two rating means India no longer complies with ICAO safety standards. India will be allowed to maintain its current level of airline service to the U.S.
In 2009 offshore-energy helicopter operator Bristow Group bought 42.5 percent of Brazil’s Lider Aviação Holding for $174 million. “Bristow is happy with its investment in Lider,” Bristow executive vice president Mark Duncan recently told AIN. “It was a bold and strategic move and it was the right move.”
Wholly owned American Airlines regional subsidiary American Eagle Airlines will change its name to Envoy this spring, the company announced last month. It said the move stems from the need to eliminate confusion between the company’s current name and American Eagle, the regional flying brand under which all of American’s 10 regional affiliates will eventually operate.