Turbine business airplanes experienced a major increase in accidents last year, compared with 2010. According to statistics compiled by AIN, nonfatal accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets nearly doubled from 16 in 2010 to 31 last year, while U.S.-registered turboprop accidents surged from 32 to 43 year-over-year. In the one fatal jet accident recorded last year, all four crewmembers were killed in the April 2 crash of a Gulfstream G650, which was on a certification test flight; two people had died in the single fatal accident of a business jet in 2010.
AINalerts » January 5, 2012
Month-over-month, demand for charter flights looks set to flatten out in January, according to the latest projections from online charter portal Avinode. The group’s forward-looking demand index stood at 95.70, less than half of the pre-Christmas and New Year’s holiday spike of 221.62 seen a month earlier on December 3. However, the January 4 index was some 24 points above where it stood 12 months ago. In the global marketplace, Avinode’s January 4 price index stood at 100.02, which was almost unchanged from last month and moderately up from a year ago.
Yesterday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) certified the country’s “new” homegrown heavy-lift helicopter, the AC313. It tips the scales at 27,600 pounds, can carry up to 27 people and has a maximum ferry range of 560 miles and service ceiling of nearly 28,000 feet. The helicopter was built by state-owned Avic, the same company that recently made Chinese-market Sikorsky S-76 airframes under contract.
Italy’s parliament this week approved plans for a new tax on business aircraft, but details of how the legislation will work in practice are not anticipated until later next month. However, it is expected that tariffs could reach about $385,000 for larger business jets that spend more than 48 consecutive hours in the country. The tax will apply only to privately owned aircraft and will exclude those operated under commercial air operator certificates, as well as aircraft operated by governments and for purposes such as emergency medical services.
Russia-based UTAir Aviation has not yet resumed Mil Mi-26T operations after they were suspended on December 20 following a fatal accident. On that day, one of the airline’s Mi-26 heavy twins landed hard, rolled and caught fire 135 nm south of Surgut in the Khanty Mansi autonomous region. One crewmember was killed, while the other five were injured. There were no passengers aboard. The company immediately announced fleet-wide inspections that were to be completed “in just a few days” before any further flying.
CAE announced yesterday that it opened the first-ever business jet and civil helicopter training center in Mexico. The facility–located at Toluca Airport, near Mexico City–includes new full-motion flight simulators for the Bombardier Learjet 40/45 and the Bell 412 helicopter, both of which were recently qualified to level-D-equivalent standards by Mexico’s Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil. CAE’s Mexico facility is the seventh location in its business-aviation training network.
Signature Flight Support acquired two FBOs in Mobile, Ala., from Azalea Aviation yesterday–Mobile Air Center at Mobile Regional Airport and Downtown Air Center at Mobile Downtown Airport. With the two facility additions, Signature now has 111 FBOs in its worldwide network. Mobile Air Center features 60,000 sq ft of hangars and a 16,000-sq-ft executive terminal and customer offices, while Downtown Air Center has 45,000 sq ft of hangar space and a 5,000-sq-ft terminal.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has launched a new State Advocacy Network (SAN), whereby association member volunteers in every state will serve as liaisons between member businesses, state legislatures and the association. SAN will allow NATA to identify “pertinent legislation and regulations ahead of their implementation in every state,” including airport and land use, security, taxation, aircraft noise and emissions, NATA president and CEO James Coyne said.
Stratosphere Fuel is launching a fuel-discount and flight-handling program in partnership with JetEx Flight Support. Dubbed Strat Fuel and aimed at Part 135 charter operators and Part 91 corporate flight departments, the program will offer “highly competitive” fuel and handling services for domestic and international flight operations. Strat Fuel’s official launch will be at the NBAA Scheduler & Dispatchers Conference in San Diego, which starts January 15. The program costs $1,200 annually and $100 per month per airplane.
Very light jet air-taxi operator Linear Air received FAA approval to use iPads as electronic flight bag devices yesterday, making it the first commercial air carrier in the FAA’s Eastern region to receive such approval. “iPads in the cockpit enable Linear Air to eliminate 50 pounds of paper, allow seamless updating and more efficient handling of operational and customer service issues,” said company president and CEO William Herp.