Wheels Up plans to add Cessna Citation Excels and Sovereigns to its private aviation membership program, the company announced on Friday. The first Citations are set to become available to Wheels Up members around the end of the first quarter. Cessna is currently outfitting the first of these with Wheels Up’s blue-and-white livery and with revamped cabins providing Wi-Fi connectivity.
Because of a recent fleet reduction at CitationAir, the company recently sent furlough notices to 19 pilots. The furloughs will be effective December 6 and will leave approximately 100 pilots at the company, which is winding down its fractional aircraft business as it continues to exit that market.
While the charter industry has seen some changes this year, the fractional-share business is undergoing a wrenching transition, with the shutdown of Avantair and the announced sale of Bombardier’s Flexjet to Flight Options parent Directional Capital.
Directional Aviation Capital (DAC)–the Kenn Ricci-led company that owns Flight Options, Sentient Jet, Nextant Aerospace and Constant Aviation, among others–announced last month that it is buying fractional provider Flexjet from Bombardier for $185 million. The transaction is expected to close by year-end, pending U.S. government approvals. All Flexjet employees, including president Deanna White, will remain in place, Ricci said.
Directional Aviation Capital (DAC)–the company headed by Kenn Ricci that owns Flight Options, Sentient Jet, Nextant Aerospace and Constant Aviation–announced this morning that it is buying fractional provider Flexjet from Bombardier for $185 million. The transaction is expected to close by year-end, pending U.S. government approvals.
The positive momentum for business aircraft flying in January apparently didn’t continue into February, with flight activity in this segment falling 4.4 percent year-over-year last month, according to TraqPak data released on Tuesday by aviation services company Argus.
Companies interviewed for this year’s fractional and charter market special report indicate that business is decent, although nowhere near the pre-recession pace of 2005 and 2006. The fractional-share business, at one time assumed by many to be dying or at least permanently flat, is growing, but still at a slow rate.
Bill Schultz, currently executive vice president and COO of CitationAir, will take over as president and CEO of the private air services company as of tomorrow.