Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair closed on $2.8 million in new funding yesterday via the issuance of senior secured convertible notes. The notes have a three-year term and an interest rate of 2 percent. In addition, the company restructured its existing aircraft financing arrangements with Midsouth Services, reducing its monthly lease payments by more than $1.8 million during the next 15 months and extending the maturities on two aircraft.
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.
Avincis is the new name for World Helicopters, a firm that combined the Bond Aviation Group with Inaer when it took over the former last spring. The group, owned by KKR and Investindustrial, operates 400 aircraft, 350 of them helicopters.
Charter operators are facing a costly training issue that could see pilots and fleets grounded unless a solution is found. According to operators, FAA inspectors are requiring strict compliance with an interpretation of the regulations that cover qualifications of instructors and check airmen. The result will be a lack of qualified instructors and check airmen employed by flight training organizations.
Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair restarted operations on November 9, following a nearly three-week voluntary grounding of its approximately 60 Piaggio Avantis. The voluntary grounding was precipitated by a July 28 incident in which an Avantair-operated Avanti shed an elevator in flight and flew two subsequent legs before the crew noticed that the control surface was missing. “The Piaggio continued to fly normally for a few reasons, including its dual elevators, forward canards and high wings,” according to Avantair CEO Steve Santo.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered NetJets’ first “signature series” Global 6000 at a special ceremony today in Montreal at Bombardier’s Global Completion Centre. “Today NetJets has unquestionably become part of the Bombardier Business Aircraft family,” said Bombardier Business Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi.
The Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) launched an escrow facility to provide a secure deposit for funds being paid in advance by customers for air charters worldwide. “Clients may be asked to pay a substantial deposit to secure a charter flight but there is little protection if one of the other parties–the broker, the agent or the aircraft operator–goes out of business before the flight takes place,” said BACA chairman Dick Gilbert. “The escrow account allows BACA brokers to offer their clients safeguarded advance payments for charter flights or programs.”
UK-based aircraft charter and management company Hangar8 has acquired Farnborough-based aircraft management company International JetClub (IJC) for about $1.8 million in cash. The acquisition takes the company’s number of aircraft under management from 40 to 50, of which four are helicopters and 22 are large-cabin, long-range jets. Hangar8 also announced its year-end results yesterday, showing a 32-percent increase in gross profits to $7.5 million.
FAA officials met with representatives from NBAA, NATA, Part 135 charter operators and Part 142 training providers last week in an attempt to resolve the issue that is forcing charter operators to stop pilot training and checking at Part 142 schools.
VistaJet announced a deal today worth up to $7.8 billion for 56 Bombardier Globals, with options for up to another 86. Deliveries of this latest batch of Bombardier jets under firm order are due to begin in January 2014 and run through the end of 2017.