Contract talks between NetJets management and pilots broke down once again on September 12, three days shy of a scheduled 30-day marathon bargaining session. The pilots’ union negotiation committee said it walked out of the talks “because the company has continuously failed to respond to the union’s position regarding the pilot group’s bargaining thresholds,” namely salary expectations.
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.
Prospective European clearance for commercial single-engine IMC operations (SEIMC) continues to progress through regulatory approval stages but will not come this year, according to industry sources close to the proceedings.
Cyril Baert believes he has found a new market niche for single-engine turboprop aircraft in France’s business aviation sector despite yet another postponement in a long-awaited change of rules governing the commercial operation of such aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions (SEIMC).
One year after CitationShares introduced its Vector jet card, the fractional provider has curtailed sales so as “not to exceed the capacity to fulfill” charter and owner flights. “We have reached the capacity we targeted way earlier than expected,” according to CitationShares president and CEO Steve O’Neill. “We expected a renewal rate of about 35 percent, but about 75 percent of cardholders are renewing.
Air Partner International has started offering its Jet Membership Program fixed-rate charter package throughout Europe, having launched it in the UK last year. It is already available to customers in North America through Air Partner’s new alliance with U.S.-based Sentient Jet. The program provides fixed rates in three Citation models in increments of 25, 50 and 75 charter hours.
An “informal” meeting between Platinum Jet Management and the FAA is scheduled at the agency’s northeast regional office on November 1. The get-together is to discuss the FAA’s proposed $1.86 million penalty against the company for its alleged FAR violations in connection with the February 2 accident at Teterboro Airport, N.J., in which a Challenger 600 crashed following an aborted takeoff.
PlaneSense, the Pilatus PC-12 regional fractional ownership program of Manchester, N.H.-based Alpha Flying, celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. The company, thought to have more than 100 shareowners, currently operates 20 PC-12s and has more on order. The company was formed to address the “shorter-distance, regional needs” of its shareowners.
In the first eight months of this year, the top five fractional operators hired more pilots than they did in all of last year, according to aviation job placement firm AIR of Atlanta. NetJets, Flight Options, Flexjet, CitationShares and Avantair hired 498 pilots through August this year versus 482 for all of last year.
A federal district court in California indicted Jeffrey Borer and Arvel Reeves on charges of secretly recording conversations between entertainer Michael Jackson and his attorney while on a chartered Gulfstream flight on Nov. 20, 2003. Borer was the owner of XtraJet, the company that operated the Gulfstream, and Reeves was the owner of Executive Aviation, which serviced the jet.
Fractional ownership provider NetJets Europe has launched a dedicated operation for the Scottish market. Through NetJets Scotland the company will offer flights to and from 17 Scottish airports, including the Royal Air Force bases at Lossiemouth, Leuchars (close to the exclusive St. Andrews golf course) and Kinloss.