For the past four years, Bombardier designers have worked on a variety of design concepts for new airplanes. One result of those efforts–the Learjet NXT–was announced on October 30. The airplane will be the largest in the Learjet line and fills a niche between the midsize Learjet 60XR and the super-midsize Challenger 300.
Bombardier Aerospace consolidated its U.S. sales efforts for new and used aircraft with its Flexjet fractional-ownership program at a new headquarters building in Richardson, Texas, near Dallas. The new sales office is near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field, where Bombardier aircraft pilot and maintenance training is conducted and where there is a factory service center.
When Richard Santulli sold three fractional shares in a business aircraft in 1986, people snickered. Ten years later, NetJets had sold 1,551 shares and Santulli was the one left laughing. Today, NetJets has company in the fractional-ownership industry, an industry that now represents 5,827 fractional shares. Even with the current economic slump, last year’s new share sales were up by 17 percent over the tally for 2001.
Marking the first anniversary of the launch of its Hong Kong-based business aircraft charter network last month, Bombardier Flexjet Asia-Pacific believes it is the first in a market expected to skyrocket. “We think we have a winning program here,” said Flexjet Asia-Pacific general manager Gregory Kalinin.
Bombardier Aerospace promoted Michael McQuay to president of its Flexjet fractional operation headquartered in Dallas. McQuay, who joined Bombardier in 2001 as v-p and general manager of Flexjet North America, will be responsible for both Flexjet and the Skyjet North America online charter booking operation.
According to research from AvData, Amstat and ARG/US, Cleveland, Ohio-based Flight Options had a share-owner increase of 20.5 percent (from 541 owners to 652 owners) between December 31 last year through June 30 this year, the largest percentage increase of four major fractional aircraft ownership providers (including NetJets, Flexjet and Travel Air). As of last June, Flight Options had a 16-percent share of the owner market.
And you thought the dot.com bubble-burst was bad.
What began as a concept that met with outright skepticism and indeed some hostility by the established aviation industry has blossomed into a viable branch of business and personal transportation that continues to fuel manufacturers’ production lines, gobbles up flight crews and, at least for now, staves off recessionary pressures by keeping order books fat.
Well known Brussels-based FBO and air taxi company Abelag Aviation is celebrating its 40th anniversary, making it one of the oldest business aviation companies in Europe. “We are also the oldest Belgian air transport operator still in the hands of private Belgian investors,” said Hervé Laitat, the company’s deputy general director.
Bombardier Flexjet Europe has added a new intercontinental option to its Jet Membership block-charter program. The new service, which was launched on May 7 at Berlin’s ILA 2002 airshow, will allow its members to book flights from Europe to North America, the Middle East and Africa.