GE Trims Flight Department in Favor of Charter

 - September 20, 2017, 4:54 PM

After operating its own aircraft for nearly 75 years, General Electric has shuttered operations of its three Bombardier Challenger 605s in favor of flying charter. A company-owned HondaJet in Europe and two Leonardo AW139s reportedly remain, but with a much-reduced aviation staff. GE took delivery of the HondaJet in March, and a second was scheduled to be delivered this year. The fate of other aircraft reportedly in its fleet—a BBJ and two Bombardier Global XRSs—is unknown.

The action is not a surprise. Earlier this year, GE’s new CEO, John Flannery, disclosed that he was preparing to make cuts at the company’s headquarters and at other areas that do not produce revenue or profit, including the firm’s helicopter and jet operations. “We have a plan to take out $2 billion in cost by the end of 2018,” GE reported in August.

A company spokesperson yesterday told AIN,As part of that effort, starting today, we are reducing the Corporate Air Transport [CAT] services and will use charter companies as needed.”

General Electric, which is moving its headquarters to Boston, last year leased space in a 60,000-sq-ft hangar from Rectrix Aviation at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, to be the new location for CAT aircraft and its full complement of some 70 department employees. The spokesperson said that GE “intends to sell the aircraft.”