In what the organizers claim is a first, an aircraft–in this case a chartered Dassault Falcon 900B carrying 12 photographers and amateur astronomers on November 3–was used to intercept an extremely short total solar eclipse with a “perpendicular crossing” of the eclipse path. While aircraft have previously been used to capture solar eclipses, they flew with the eclipse path and waited for the shadow to catch up with the airplane.
Charter and Fractional » Charter
News and issues concerning the aviation charter industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Switzerland-based Vertis Aviation will open a Dubai branch of its aviation charter business in January in the Free Zone at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport. Vertis aims to capitalize on the development of business aviation at the airport and build a broader customer network within the countries that form the Gulf Cooperation Council. The office will be run by Catherine Buchanan, who will be responsible for managing the development of the charter brokerage and strengthening the Vertis brand in the region.
Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group introduced new “signature” charter brokerage services, promising clients red-carpet treatment from beginning to end. This service will include 24-hour client support, five-star catering, flight planning, ground transportation and “other essential services” for customers. Through a portfolio of “highly reputable operators” around the globe, Asian Sky Group plans to offer customers access to midsize through large-cabin business jets “at competitive prices.”
Sky Limo Air Charter of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced receiving FAA approval on Monday to place an ex-Avantair Piaggio Avanti (N306MS) on its Part 135 charter certificate, as well as the successful completion of the first charter flight with the aircraft yesterday. N306MS is one of five Avantis repossessed by Avantair creditor Midsouth Services before the Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional company entered bankruptcy.
With the exception of the light jets sector in Europe, demand for private and executive charter flights is holding up fairly well, according to the latest data from online charter portal Avinode. Demand for midsize and large-cabin jets in Europe on November 4 was, respectively, 42 and 74 points above where it had been a month earlier, based on Avinode’s forward-looking demand index, which projects anticipated demand for the next 30 days. Light jet demand was 70 points down over the same period.
EmptyLegMarket has added two new capabilities to its online clearinghouse for charter flights with empty seats that are available to generate revenue. The first, an Apple iOS app that allows users to bid on a price for potential empty legs, went live in early August. The newest EmptyLegMarket feature is integration of its scheduling software with other charter scheduling systems.
ExecuJet Europe has plans to launch commercial helicopter charter operations from the company’s London Cambridge FBO later this year, the company announced at Helitech in September. ExecuJet Europe expects to receive a helicopter air operator certificate (AOC) from the UK Civil Aviation Authority next month.
It will not operate its own helicopters but rather use those it has under management contracts. The company’s managed fleet already includes two Eurocopter EC155s based at Cambridge Airport, with another two contracts in the final stages of negotiation.
Fractional jet share and charter companies from NetJets to JetSuite to Executive AirShare are choosing to stack their fleets with Cessna Citation jets, large and small, according to Brad Thress, senior vice-president of business jets for Cessna Aircraft Company (Booth No. C8843).
NetJets, the largest Citation Jet operator in the world with 50 Citation Xs in its fleet, is perhaps one of the clearest examples, Thress pointed out. NetJets has 25 Cessna Citation Latitudes on order and options for 125 more, all of which will begin deliveries in 2016.
JetSuite has exercised options for 10 more Cessna Citation CJ3s to provide additional capacity for its new partnership with private flight membership program Wheels Up. In a deal confirmed here at the NBAA show, JetSuite agreed to take the first of the 10 additional aircraft on November 22, with one more to join its fleet every 90 days.
Private aviation membership services JetSuite and Wheels Up have forged a new partnership that will give reciprocal benefits to their customers. The agreement, which was announced today at the NBAA show in Las Vegas, will see Wheels Up members gaining access to JetSuite’s fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft, giving them a light jet alternative to the new company’s Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop twins.