Charter operator JetFlite International has found that growing competition has made doing business in traditional strongholds in the U.S. much more difficult, and thus the company has expanded its services to tap new sources of revenue. This includes serving new markets in Russia and other countries and the October 2011 opening of JetFlite’s FAA-approved Part 145 repair station at the company’s Long Beach, Calif. headquarters.
Helmond, Netherlands-based Glass Deco International recently introduced a new glass that it claims, tongue-in-cheek, is most definitely not “a breakthrough” technology.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) advises that “prudence and strong management attention” are required during the development phase of the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker. In a report to Congress, the GAO repeated concerns expressed last fall that the program faces schedule and technical risks.
After several down years, the private aviation industry looked to 2011 as the start of a rebound cycle, and for many aviation service providers the year did show some gains after a relatively flat 2010. “We loved 2011 a whole lot more than we did 2010,” was how the head of one major FBO chain summed up the past year’s business.
Moscow-based shared-use program Jet Travel Club (JTC) officially started operations last week. JTC members can make non-commercial flights on the club’s two CitationJets and two Hawkers and use an area in the VIP terminal at Moscow-Domodedovo Airport. Membership is not limited to Russian nationals; foreign citizens can buy a JTC card for access to the club’s Russian-registered business jets.
Associated Aircraft Group (AAG), a Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary specializing in S-76 operations on the East Coast, has marked “40,000 hours of safe flying” in 17 years. AAG president Scott Ashton emphasized that his company has implemented a safety management system “that encompasses a comprehensive culture of risk management and safety promotion and policies.”
AAG lays claim to being the only executive helicopter company to own and operate an FAA Part 145 maintenance facility.
Online aircraft charter portal PlaneFinder, which says it allows customers to buy flights from Part 135 operators instantly without hidden booking fees, launched today. The site also lets passengers “reverse advertise” themselves to charter companies by anonymously posting their travel plans in an online database that can be searched by charter companies. In addition, PlaneFinder also provides revenue-generating opportunities for charter operators by selling empty “dead head” flights.
The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) is seeking input from the aviation maintenance industry through an anonymous survey measuring the burden FAA audits impose on repair stations.
Arsa is conducting the survey in tandem with an FAA project seeking to measure and quantify the impact of audits on repair stations and will submit the results to the FAA for comparison and validation with the agency’s own research on the issue.
Embraer will establish an Engineering and Technology Center in its aeronautical cluster in Melbourne, Fla., to conduct R&D activities for both product and technology development. Initially it will focus on executive jet interiors and will include a materials and interiors laboratory. Embraer plans to partner with educational institutions to develop programs of mutual benefit. It is the second research and development center established outside its headquarters complex at São José dos Campos, Brazil.
Hawker Beechcraft yesterday secured more time to solve its debt problems through a restructuring plan, with lenders granting a 90-day forbearance agreement. The move staves off the immediate threat of a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection–a move that has been widely expected by industry analysts.
The manufacturer, which is owned by Onex and GS Partners (a division of investment banking giant Goldman Sachs), announced it had “reached an agreement with certain lenders that will provide the company with approximately $120 million of additional liquidity.”