NetJets has attained Level III of the FAA’s safety management system (SMS) pilot program. As such, NetJets is the first fractional operator, as well as the first fixed-wing Part 135 operator and the first combined Part 135/91K operator, to achieve Level III. The FAA SMS pilot program, which has a four-level system of acknowledgement, is intended to help operators develop and implement a comprehensive SMS for their entire organization through safety-centric policies and risk mitigation.
Charter and Fractional » Fractional
News and issues concerning the fractional-ownership industry and markets, including company announcements, regulations, new developments and labor issues.
Atlanta-based Ascension Air is now offering three fully equipped 2012 Cirrus SR22Ts to individuals and pilots through its fractional ownership program. The company’s fractional ownership program requires about $10,000 down and a monthly management fee of $2,000. Ascension’s new SR22Ts include 60/40 FlexSeating in the back seat, which includes a third over-the-shoulder seat belt allowing for a fifth passenger and 60/40 fold-down seating.
After almost a decade of controversy, four years since the first complaint was filed and several postponements of the actual trial, the Bobigny Criminal Court (a French court near Paris Le Bourget Airport) decided on Tuesday to acquit NetJets Management Ltd and NetJets Transportes Aéreos (two companies trading as NetJets Europe) in a case where they were accused of employment practices contrary to French law. All civil plaintiffs’ claims were rejected.
As CitationAir transitions from selling fractional shares to focusing on its Jet Card and Jet Management products, the company plans to “begin reducing its aircraft fleet as Jet Share contracts expire,” according to a statement that AIN obtained yesterday from company president and CEO William Schultz. “A corresponding number of pilots will be furloughed as aircraft are removed from the fleet, making way for new managed aircraft,” he added.
“A few years ago NetJets was my number-one worry–its costs were far out of line with revenues, and cash was hemorrhaging,” Warren Buffett, chairman of NetJets and FlightSafety International parent company Berkshire Hathaway, wrote in his latest annual letter to shareholders, released on Saturday. “These problems are now behind us,” with NetJets delivering $227 million in pre-tax earnings last year, up $20 million from 2010.
Flight Options, the second-largest fractional jet provider in the U.S., said 2011 was one of its best years and expects the momentum to continue to build this year. In fact, the Cleveland-based company reported a healthy jump in new fractional owners last year versus 2010.
“One of the statistics from 2011 of which we are most proud is that more than one-third of all new owners came from referrals–a strong and appreciated endorsement from our current owners,” noted Flight Options CEO Michael Silvestro.
NetJets Europe launched the first direct financing product for the fractional industry in Europe, providing new clients with an alternative financing method with rates comparable to those offered by major financial institutions.
CitationAir has stopped selling fractional shares in new aircraft and ceased renewals for current fractional-share customers, the Cessna Aircraft subsidiary confirmed to AIN yesterday. Effective last week, “CitationAir will be streamlining our offerings to deliver those products in our portfolio that have demonstrated the greatest customer demand,” CitationAir president and CEO William Schultz wrote in an email sent to employees.
Fractional share operator AirSprint Private Aviation has quietly but steadily been building its business in Canada for the past 12 years, and since last June it has been expanding into the Southwest U.S. Calgary-based AirSprint’s Canadian fleet consists of eight Cessna Citation XLSs and 13 Pilatus PC-12s. AirSprint has three PC-12s based in the U.S., at its Scottsdale, Ariz., office, and the company is planning to expand the U.S. fleet as word spreads that there is an alternative to jets or twin turboprops in the Southwest U.S.
Fractional provider Flight Options donated 10 hours of fractional jet flight time to Corporate Angel Network, which arranges free flights to treatment for cancer patients using the empty seats on corporate jets. This contribution expands the relationship between Corporate Angel Network and Flight Options, which has donated flight time to the organization since 2001. “Corporate Angel Network provides a unique and extremely valuable service to those afflicted with cancer, and we are proud to be able to support this life-giving organization,” said Flight Options chairman Kenn Ricci.