You may be thinking outside the cockpit, but the other end of you is still firmly stuck in the cockpit, and the flight is a lot more pleasant if that end is in a comfortable place.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Mention Wichita, and most people in the business aviation industry immediately think of Cessna, Raytheon/ Beech, Learjet or Boeing. Aviation history buffs and old-timers are likely to add Laird Airplane, Culver Aircraft, Travel Air or Stearman
to the list. But it’s a good bet that very few, if any, would even mention the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR).
The continued weakness of the U.S. dollar and lower operating costs are allowing U.S. executive charter operators to take business from European rivals. According to Niklas Berg, CEO of online charter booking system Avinode, U.S. firms are currently able to bid competitively against European operators for long-haul flights beginning in Europe and therefore requiring a transatlantic positioning flight.
The continued weakness of the U.S. dollar on international currency markets is stimulating sales of U.S.-based business aircraft to foreign buyers. With the dollar recently reaching historic lows against the three-year-old euro, prospective buyers from Europe are pouncing on exchange-rate-based discounts.
Still eagerly awaiting signs of lasting recovery from its three-year slump, the world’s aerospace industry will be looking to Singapore’s biennial airshow to deliver more of the sort of upbeat activity levels reported at the Dubai show staged in December. Asian Aerospace 2004 (February 24 to 29) will be viewed as a particularly important indicator of the health of the air-transport industry in the Asia/Pacific region.
Last year, the Bush Administration unveiled its proposed “next generation air transportation system” and then cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget request by nearly $400 million.
Describing last year as a “turnaround” for the industry, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) last month credited both the bonus depreciation allowance and the growing U.S. economy for changing what had been forecast
to be a year of stabilization into one of industry growth.
Next month, a Connecticut jury will hear a $3.5 million claim against Executive Jet Management (EJM) in a case that is already sending a chill through the business aviation community.
Last year’s slump in commercial aircraft sales and employment was not as sharp as predicted and not nearly as deep as the industry experienced 10 years ago. That’s the assessment of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), which also sees a recovery for civil aviation between next year and 2006, along with a concurrent upswing for aerospace employment.
Mojave, Calif.-based Scaled Composites recently modified the Virgin Atlantic-sponsored GlobalFlyer with fuel jettison capability at the request of pilot Steve Fossett, who is scheduled to fly the single-engine Williams FJ44-powered aircraft solo around the world nonstop without refueling sometime after January 4.