Embraer, a recent but aggressive entrant in business aviation, predicts that manufacturers will sell 9,680 new business jets during the next 10 years, representing an annual growth rate of 4.4 percent over current sales.
The recent buying frenzy for FBOs has reached at least one airline. ExpressJet Holdings, whose operations include a fleet of 255 Embraer regional jets operated as Continental Express, has purchased a non-controlling interest in Wing Aviation, an FBO, charter and refurbishment firm based in Conroe, Texas.
A last-ditch attempt to stave off bankruptcy by Delta Air Lines has seen St. George, Utah-based SkyWest agree to buy Delta Connection subsidiary Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA). Scheduled for completion this month, the $425 million deal will make SkyWest by far the largest regional airline in the U.S., giving it a combined fleet of 372 airplanes, projected annual enplanements of more than 28 million and 13,400 employees.
A new traffic control rule proposed by the FAA for New York La Guardia Airport would replace the current system of slot allocation with “operating authorizations,” a mechanism that would allow the authority to exclude airlines that fly too many regional jets.
Flybe, the UK-based low-cost carrier that took delivery of its first Embraer E195 last month, plans to go public next year with the goal of raising between $141 million and $189 million. A spokesman at Dresdner Kleinwort, part of investment institution Dresdner Bank AG of London and Frankfurt, said the financial advisor will place the value of Flybe at between $283 million and $379 million.
Aircelle has expanded its global maintenance network into the U.S. through an agreement with Shreveport, La.-based ExpressJet Services. The pairing calls for ExpressJet to repair engine thrust reversers on Legacy 600 business jets and Embraer ERJ-135/145 and 170 regional airliners
Bankrupt Northwest Airlines has turned the financial screws on its existing Airlink partners by asking for bids from several regional airlines to fly RJs carrying up to 76 passenger seats.
UK Corporate Jet Services, parent company of Southampton-based executive charter operator Club328, has purchased bankrupt regional aircraft manufacturer AvCraft Aerospace. The new owner will not be resuming aircraft production, but will instead run the former property of U.S. support and completions firm AvCraft Aviation as a support organization for existing Dornier 328 operators under the name 328 Support Services.
Acorn Growth Equities of Oklahoma City has acquired privately held King Air modification firm Commuter Air Technology. The Arizona-based firm is known for its Catpass (commuter air technology passenger and safety system) modification, which increases King Air payload capacity to enable the turboprop twin to be used in regional airline and corporate shuttle service.
In a state-of-the-industry press release last month, the Air Transport Association (ATA) again called for a change in the way the FAA does business. The association said that restructuring the air traffic system is a critical first step for the airline industry to return to financial health.