Morale among industry visitors to last month’s 14th annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) seemed conclusively higher than it has been for much of the past half dozen or so years, blighted as they have been by a stilted recovery from the financial crisis of 2008.
As of the middle of May, the FAA had yet to determine if it will renew its mandatory VFR helicopter route along the north shore of New York’s Long Island. The controversial North Shore Route was established for voluntary compliance in 2008 as a response to residential noise complaints and political prodding from elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y), who pressed then Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the FAA to make it mandatory.
Next month’s 2014 Farnborough International Airshow (July 14-20) will not be short on novelty, with 26 percent of exhibitors new to the biennial event. With economic conditions generally stronger even in Western markets that have been soft in recent years, and with continued and new military tensions around the world, the business context for this year’s show is arguably on more solid ground than it was for the 2012 event.
The AgustaWestland AW609 civil tiltrotor passed another milestone on the road to certification by completing autorotation testing at AgustaWestland’s Arlington, Texas facility over the course of 10 flight hours in March and early April. Test aircraft Number 1 made more than 70 power-off conversions from airplane to helicopter mode.
Many of us in aviation in the U.S. haven’t been paying much attention to our neighbor to the north. Canadians are known for being somewhat quiet and unassuming. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that quiet and unassuming doesn’t mean they’re not busily working on practical solutions to important issues. In fact, there’s a lot going on in Canada that we in the U.S. could learn from in the aviation arena.
Hawthorne Global Aviation Services recently opened its newest FBO at Chicago Executive Airport. The FBO–the company’s third following new facilities at MacArthur Airport in Islip, N.Y., and Lakefront Airport in New Orleans–is part of an aggressive business plan to open executive FBOs throughout the U.S. in major and medium markets. “We have the next four sites in mind, and they will probably be online this year,” Bill Koch, chairman of the board, told AIN.
Delta Private Jets launched a new aircraft management program designed to help owners cover the cost of purchasing a business jet by providing a guaranteed monthly income stream over a five-year fixed term. Called Ownership Assist, the new program is designed for owners who require only occasional use of their jet and are looking for guaranteed monthly income that covers 80- to 100 percent of their monthly payments, according to Delta Private Jets. Under the program, aircraft owners are allotted 30 flight hours per year over 20 flight days at no cost.
The U.S. airline industry is in “survival mode” against competition from foreign carriers, some of which are using “extreme new measures” to gain access to Americans flying internationally, said the president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Lee Moak sounded the alarm during a May 29 press briefing that touched on the union’s hot-button issues, chief among them Norwegian Air’s application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a foreign air carrier permit.
The tri-national Medium Extended Air Defense System (Meads) remains in limbo, with the $3.4 billion nine-year development program scheduled to conclude this year and no production order in sight from the U.S., Germany or Italy. But at a briefing last week during the ILA Berlin airshow, program officials said that Meads meets Poland’s stated air and missile defense (AMD) requirement. The Meads International industrial consortium, which currently comprises Lockheed Martin and MBDA’s German and Italian companies, is offering to make Poland an equal partner.
Low cost carrier Wizz Air is aiming to raise €200 million ($273 million) through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange next month. The 10-year-old company is seeking to expand its network, which currently consists of around 315 routes between 96 destinations in 35 countries, in order to challenge the continent’s leading budget carriers Ryanair and EasyJet. U.S. private equity group Indigo Partners, which is currently Wizz Air’s leading shareholder, is expected to reduce its equity holding through the share offering.