By all accounts, this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition was an outstanding success, bringing together the usual group of aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, operators, flight crew, mechanics, owners, buyers and anyone with an interest in the world of business aviation.
Very light jet
Safety advocate Robert “Bob” Barnes died in Phoenix on September 28 after suffering a stroke. Barnes was instrumental in establishing the International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP) as a way to constantly improve the quality of pilot training whether the student flew a Cessna 150, a Falcon 2000 or a Boeing 777.
Eclipse Aerospace introduced its new safety enhancement upgrade package (SEP) for earlier generations of the Eclipse single-pilot very light jet. The SEP adds significant features such as anti-skid braking, autothrottles (including under- and overspeed protections), an updated flight management system as well as an independent standby display unit with an integrated attitude heading and reference system (AHRS) to provide backup heading and attitude information.
The business jet fleet is projected to grow by 55 percent over the next 12 years–to nearly 31,000 aircraft from about 20,000 today–according to the International Bureau of Aviation’s Business Jet Asset Report 2013, released on Tuesday. Much of the new growth is expected to come from new deliveries, “Implying many business jet models have a solid future ahead of them,” the group said.
The economic slump in Europe hasn’t slowed the growth of Austria’s GlobeAir, the air taxi operator that launched operations in 2008 with a pair of Citation Mustangs. During an EBACE briefing, GlobeAir CEO Bernhard Fragner reported a profit of €200,000 ($260,000) last year and projected further positive results for 2013.
As the business aircraft market continues to recover from the industry downturn, AIN took a look at recent forecasts from manufacturers as to where growth may be heading and the factors that are likely to affect it most.
The past year has been challenging but also marked a turnaround for Piper Aircraft. CEO Simon Caldecott has been on the job for a year, and the first decision he was faced with was huge: what to do about the single-engine PiperJet Altaire program. While just before last year’s NBAA show Piper had given every indication that the Altaire would continue, Caldecott used the occasion to announce that the program was being put on indefinite hold, although Piper has retained all the intellectual property developed for the Altaire.
Business aviation analyst Brian Foley believes that the Latin American market has been under-appreciated by the industry. “It currently accounts for 10 percent of all the world’s business jets, and it operates on a somewhat different economic cycle,” he said. While the European general aviation markets are essentially stagnant and the Asian markets appear to be slowing, Latin America “will continue to play a key role in sustaining what has been a troubled industry, hopefully until the U.S. market regains its strength,” he said.
UK-based ConnectJets this week at EBACE announced a loyalty program for jet-card customers who expect to fly a total of 25 hours or more in a year. Jet Card Europe starts at $6,006 per hour for very light jets, and ranges up to $7,458 for light jets and $9,900 for midsize jets. The card comes with several benefits, including guaranteed availability, no peak-day restrictions, no positioning costs, no monthly management fees, no extra fuel or airport surcharges and discounts on same-day return trips.
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