Demand for private charter flights looks set to rise this month, according to the demand index generated by online charter portal Avinode. The outlook is brightest for the European market.
Charter and Fractional
News and issues concerning the aviation charter and fractional-ownership industries and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
NetJets accounted for more than a third of the revenue increase at Berkshire Hathaway’s “other service” businesses last year, according to the parent company’s year-end results released on Saturday. The division, which also includes FlightSafety International and several other non-aviation companies, saw revenues climb by $821 million, to $9 billion, with NetJets’ share rising by $288 million–up 7.5 percent year-over-year–thanks to higher sales of fractional aircraft shares.
Private flight club Wheels Up is offering its members guaranteed access to midsize, super-midsize and large-cabin jets via a new alliance with Jet Aviation Flight Services. Through a new program announced today, its clients will be able to book aircraft with 24 hours’ notice and at fixed occupied hourly rates. Members will have the option of buying pre-paid blocks of flight hours, in which case they will have guaranteed access to aircraft with just 10 hours’ notice.
Business has been so good at West Coast charter/management firm Jet Edge International that the company devised an unusual arrangement to build a fleet of Gulfstream G200s. With a fleet consisting of mostly large-cabin Gulfstreams, Jet Edge has seen growing demand for the super-midsize charter market, and the G200s (and one G280, with two more coming) are ideal to fill that need, according to president Bill Papariella.
Argus International’s new Avmosys operations software has been selected by the Wheels Up aircraft access membership program “to manage customers’ flight-related activity,” according to Argus. First to sign up for Avmosys was charter/management firm ACP Jets, and charter broker Apollo Jets was the first company to implement the system fully, according to Andy Balser, Argus International’s Avmosys product manager.
VistaJet extended its partnership with MedAire to strengthen travel safety protocols and offer enhanced benefits to its passengers. In addition to offering medical assistance to passengers and crew in flight and at their destination, VistaJet’s new MedAire travel safety solution includes access to aviation travel security briefs. It also provides information and advice to mitigate risks at destination and access to the MedAire global network of security experts, local providers and logistics personnel.
Air Charter Service, a UK-based aircraft charter broker with 16 offices worldwide, contracted nearly 7,500 charter flights during its fiscal year ending January 31–a 14-percent increase over its 2012 fiscal year. “We have seen constant year-on-year growth for several years, but this is one of the largest single jumps in charter numbers that we’ve ever had,” said managing director Ruan Courtney. “On average, we book a charter every 70 minutes and that’s because most charter contracts consist of more than one flight sector.
The top scheduled destinations for Flexjet owners over this Valentine’s Day holiday weekend include Aspen; New York City; Palm Beach, Fla.; the Caribbean; and Mexico, including Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, according to the fractional provider’s analysis of hundreds of customer flight plans. It said travelers are evenly split into two categories this year: those who are looking for a getaway to the snow and others who prefer to bask in the sun. Nearly two-thirds of Flexjet’s holiday travelers are booked on a super-midsize Challenger 300 or large-cabin Challenger 604, it noted.
Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation Services signed a firm purchase agreement for two Bombardier Q400 turboprop twins, to be used as 78-seat shuttles. The aircraft are worth $61 million at list prices. Based at Al Bateen Executive Airport, Falcon Aviation Services operates a charter fleet of business jets, as well as a fleet of helicopters serving the offshore oil and gas industry. The company also conducts search and rescue, aircraft management and maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Continuing an expansion plan it launched in 2011, Luxembourg-based Luxaviation has acquired Paris Le Bourget-based Unijet. Among the expected benefits for Luxaviation, access to the continent’s premier business aviation airport and fleet growth rank first.
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