Operators who own a share of a fractional aircraft are to be given the same Cape Town Treaty protection as sole owners have had since March 2006. They are to be included in the International Registry of Mobile Assets (IRMA), which provides a single universal point of reference and record, and was set up under the treaty (which comprises the Cape Town Convention and the related Protocol on Aircraft Assets).
The regional NBAA forum at West Palm Beach International (PBI), Fla., on March 10 served a slice of business aviation with complex ingredients. Fractional ownership has added occupants to the back of the cabin without always expanding the industry pie.
Bombardier has merged its Asia/Pacific and European Flexjet block-charter programs into a new London-based Flexjet International operation. The service will also have an office in Hong Kong and is being led by Judith Moreton, who was appointed managing director of Flexjet Europe last October.
In terms of business jet orders and deliveries, Bombardier said the 12 months ending on January 31 constituted the company’s “best year ever.” Chairman and CEO Laurent Beaudoin, reporting on the company’s FY 2007 (ending Jan.
Delta AirElite Business Jets is celebrating its 20th year of business aircraft charter and management, and remains the only business jet provider owned by a major airline. The Cincinnati-based company has been in business since 1984, originally as part of regional airline carrier Comair and then as a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines following its acquisition of Comair in January 2000.
Last month, fractional provider Bombardier Flexjet announced a program for substituting a finance lease for the acquisition payment of a fractional share. Under the “Jet Rich Quick” program, customers pay no money down and a fixed monthly payment for the lease, which could involve a term of two or four years. They also pay the regular monthly management fee and the hourly occupied fee for time flown.
In an effort to improve its customer support, Bombardier has opened a new service center at Dallas Love Field and allocated shares equaling one Learjet 45 from its Flexjet fleet to deliver aircraft-on-ground (AOG) parts and mobile repair parties within the U.S. and in some instances transport stranded customers.
Bombardier delivered its first corporate-owned Challenger 300 to Dean Phillips Inc., a multi-services company based in Quincy, Ill. A Bombardier customer since 1993, Dean Phillips also operates a Learjet 60. Company president Dean Phillips and his wife both have Learjet type ratings. They have also received training to fly the super-midsize business jet.
The four largest fractional operators–NetJets, Flight Options, Flexjet and CitationShares–hired 11 pilots in March, compared with none during the same month last year, according to figures compiled by AIR Inc. of Atlanta. The March figure brings to 56 the number of fractional pilots hired in the first quarter, versus 47 in the same period last year.
At press time, Bombardier Aerospace expected to have delivered six copies of its newest business jet, the Learjet 40. In January the company delivered the first batch of Learjet 40s–two went to U.S.-based operators, two entered service with Bombardier’s Flexjet fractional-ownership program, one was delivered to a corporate operator based in Germany and the manufacturer expected to hand over one more before the end of last month.