Boeing’s planned Connexion airborne broadband data service was dealt a damaging blow last month when its three largest customers–American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines–abruptly withdrew from the project in the face of their own fiscal difficulties. As a result, Boeing is left with no equity partners in the venture and only one customer, Lufthansa, for the fledgling in-flight Internet and e-mail service.
The major reductions in airline passenger traffic at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) since September 11 may actually benefit business aviation activities at the airport, as well as SkyWest Airlines, the sole regional airline operation remaining at the large West Coast airport.
It was a challenge. A big one, admittedly, but as Stuart Oran discovered, much bigger than originally envisioned.
It was premeditated mass murder, almost flawlessly executed, and civil aircraft were the weapons of choice. A civil airplane was also the battlefield for the first retaliatory strike, when the passengers of a United 757 most likely aimed at a Washington landmark took matters into their own hands and fought back, causing the Boeing to fall short of its intended target.
Avolar, the budding stand-alone fractional business jet division of UAL Corp., stepped up its launch effort last month with a pair of new aircraft orders–despite a current economy that has other fractional providers turning to new marketing tactics. To boot, the Avolar business plan is ahead of schedule. Avolar president Stuart Oran said at the NBAA Convention in New Orleans last month, “We are now operational.
Avolar, the newly formed business aviation subsidiary of UAL Corp., reached an agreement with Airbus to market and/or manage, but not buy, up to 15 Airbus Corporate Jetliners under a program to be operated separately from Avolar’s fractional-ownership program for smaller business jets. Terms also permit Avolar customers to purchase an ACJ. The executive twinjets will be crewed by mainline United Airlines pilots.
In a move widely expected to portend an industry trend in years to come, Continental Airlines last month confirmed its intention to sell 20 percent of its now wholly owned Continental Express subsidiary on September 1, laying the foundation for an eventual full spin-off of the Houston-based regional airline.
Despite United Airlines’ apparent decision to abandon its attempt to buy US Airways for $4.3 billion, the airlines agreed to submit to the Justice Department a merger proposal for full review in compliance with a 21-day review period requirement, prompting applause from DC Air CEO Robert Johnson, who pledged to locate his airline’s headquarters in Washington if the merger survives Justice Department scrutiny.
Frontier Airlines grounded one of its captains and first officers after they inadvertently flew their Boeing 737 into prohibited airspace above the White House seconds after taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) last month.
Deliveries of Gulfstream business jets in the first quarter were down slightly compared with the same period a year ago, but the firm’s first-quarter order backlog of $6.4 billion was an increase of $900 million from last year. Gulfstream said it delivered 15 green GIV-SPs and GVs (vs 18 in the first quarter last year) and 10 finished G100s and G200s (the same as last year’s first quarter).