NetJets signed a 15-year OnPoint solution agreement with GE Aviation for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of its upcoming CF34-powered Bombardier Challenger 605 fleet, which was part of the fractional provider’s $9.6 billion aircraft order announced last week. NetJets placed a firm order for 25 Challenger 605s with options for up to 50 more, in addition to orders for other business jets.
Charter and Fractional » Fractional
News and issues concerning the fractional-ownership industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Cleveland, Ohio-based Flight Options received its sixth consecutive Argus Platinum safety rating. The rating is the result of independent evaluations and a multi-day on-site audit that assesses candidates against industry best practices. Flight Options became the first fractional provider to receive the Platinum rating in 2002, and this year it is one of only two fractional providers to receive the rating. Out of the 2,159 Part 135 operators in the U.S., less than 5 percent currently hold the Argus Platinum rating.
Bombardier Flexjet is taking its rebranding efforts to the next step with the addition of Christopher Bero as the company’s new director of marketing. He joins Flexjet with more than 15 years of experience in brand marketing and communications. Most recently, Bero was responsible for managing strategic marketing activities and media initiatives at Samsung Mobile Electronics.
Flexjet will be the first fractional provider to offer access to the new Bombardier Learjet 70 and Learjet 75, derivatives of the 40-series Learjets that were announced earlier this week at EBACE. Though a Flexjet spokeswoman said the number of Learjet 70/75s the frax company has on order is not yet determined, deliveries of the new twinjets are still scheduled to begin next year.
Fractional-share provider Avantair’s revenues grew by 9.9 percent, to $40.1 million, in its Fiscal Year 2012 third quarter, compared with the same period last year. Revenue-generating flight hours climbed 6.1 percent, to 11,327. Net loss attributable to shareholders was $1.1 million, down from $1.3 million during the same quarter last year. Non-Gaap adjusted Ebidta grew 81 percent to $1.7 million, up from $940,000.
NetJets Europe announced this week at EBACE that it is diversifying into aircraft management services. According to NJE sales director Marine Eugene, NetJets Aircraft Management has been established as a separate operation and will soon have its own air operator’s certificate. It will focus on large-cabin and long-range business jets, from the size of the Dassault Falcon 2000 upwards.
Qatar Airways and fractional jet ownership provider Flexjet announced plans today at EBACE to form an alliance that will offer the Middle East airline’s passengers a seamless charter service throughout North America. The agreement also provides Flexjet fractional ownership customers with access to Qatar Airways flights in North America and to the all-Bombardier fleet operated by the airline’s private aviation arm, Qatar Executive.
Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair announced on Tuesday that its entire fleet of fractional Piaggio Avantis will soon feature airborne high-speed Internet. The company is now installing Aircell ATG 5000 communications systems in its twin-turboprop fleet and expects to complete the work this summer. The ATG 5000 covers the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet and portions of Alaska, providing broadband connection via a nationwide network of ground stations.
The IRS has countersued NetJets for more than $360 million in alleged uncollected excise taxes. In November, NetJets sued the federal government for what it said were wrongfully imposed taxes, interest and penalties totaling more than $642.7 million. NetJets claimed that as a manager of private aircraft, it was not required to pay a “ticket tax” because its services were not taxable transportation.
NetJets Europe announced today that it is extending its ferry waiver zone, in which fees on positioning flights are not charged, for flights between 21 “business critical” airports in the Middle East and Europe. The extension will add Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait to the waiver, which previously included Lebanon and Tel Aviv. The company said it has witnessed “strong growth” in flights to the Middle East in the last few years, with 9.2 percent growth reported last year alone.