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.
Fractional provider Bombardier Flexjet launched Coastal Connect under its Flexjet 25 jet card program, which is operated by U.S. air carrier Jet Solutions. The new feature provides special rates for customers who fly to and from designated zones between the East and West Coasts on Flexjet Challenger 300s. The Flexjet 25 jet card starts at $100,000, with the cost of each flight deducted from the debit card balance, which can be replenished via an automatic or manual recharge option.
Demand for charter flights has climbed steeply, seemingly in anticipation of the year-end holiday season, according to the latest data from online charter portal Avinode. As of December 1, the company’s forward-looking demand index for the following 30 days stood at 241.78, almost 95 points above where it had been on November 1. This was also almost 42 points higher year-over-year.
Chemical giant BASF is claiming its Basotect open-celled melamine foam is both improving sound insulation and saving weight in the Russian Helicopters Mi-8. Used for an executive cabin refurbishing, it has cut interior noise from 85 to 80 dB. It has also saved 530 pounds, compared with the previous insulation arrangement. The special foam is affixed to “selected noise-intensive points,” at a thickness of 40 mm.
Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland has received $74 million from the UK Government Regional Growth Fund to help develop the AW609 civil tiltrotor and future tiltrotor designs. AW said it will work with the National Composites Centre, the University of Liverpool and key UK suppliers on the program. The tiltrotor is slated for certification in 2016. AgustaWestland said it would contribute more than $87 million to the program.
Belgium-based Brabus Private Aviation is offering executive and VIP cabin interior design for helicopters. Completion or refurbishing work will take place at Ruag Aviation’s Munich, Germany facility. France’s Happy Design Studio will provide livery design and the paint job. Finally, Switzerland-based PrivatAir will provide “sourcing, purchasing and aircraft management services.”
Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) has earned IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) Stage 1 certification, indicating that the company’s safety management system has been documented, approved and resourced. It is implemented at the time of the audit. AAG provides helicopter and fixed-wing charter flights, fractional ownership programs and helicopter maintenance services from Teterboro, New York and Philadelphia. The Sikorsky subsidiary lays claim to operating the Northeast’s largest fleet of S-76C medium twins.
A Russian company called Satellit-Development has plans to develop a heliport between Saint Petersburg’s “beltway” and Pulkovo airport. Dubbed Heli-Drive, it is said to be the first commercial heliport in the country. “I hope our project will help medical and rescue services, as well as private enterprises and guests of Saint Petersburg,” said co-owner Vladimir Skigin.
San Francisco-based XOJet and TWC Aviation announced an alliance today under which TWC joins XOJet’s exclusive platinum partner network and TWC becomes a “preferred provider” for XOJet clients interested in aircraft ownership, management or private jet sales and acquisition services. Additionally, XOJet plans to leverage the TWC Aviation charter fleet of large-cabin business jets throughout North America and Asia. TWC manages more than 50 business aircraft throughout the U.S. and abroad, with offices in San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles and New York.
Fractional aircraft provider Flight Options and Sentient Jet announced an agreement under which Sentient Jet will be a retailer of Flight Options’ JetPass 25-hour jet card. Through the agreement, Sentient Jet will market the Flight Options jets-specific JetPass side-by-side with its open-fleet Sentient Jet 25-hour card. Sentient and Flight Options are sister companies since parent company Directional Aviation bought Sentient in May.