The business aircraft fleet in North Africa is growing annually by 6.3 percent, almost double the global average of 3.7 percent, according to a study conducted by WingX for the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA). Results from the study were released on Tuesday at MEBAA’s regional conference in Morocco. Despite this fleet expansion, however, business aircraft flight activity in the region fell by 4.8 percent year-to-date versus the same period a year ago.
Business aircraft activity last month climbed by 1.8 percent from a year ago, according to TraqPak data released today by aviation services company Argus. This was only the third year-over-year increase seen so far this year, it noted.
The 50th anniversary yesterday of the maiden flight of the first Learjet–the Model 23, on Oct. 7, 1963–begged to be celebrated, and Bombardier obliged with gusto, holding two events at its main assembly facility in Wichita over the weekend. Invited were current and former employees and their families, several special guests and owners and operators who brought examples of almost every Learjet ever produced.
Dwane Wallace, who led Cessna Aircraft from 1936 to 1975, was posthumously enshrined into the Aviation Hall of Fame on Friday. “Wallace’s visionary leadership brought Cessna Aircraft into the modern age through the expansion of the company’s product line, including the introduction of the world’s most successful line of business jets–the Cessna Citation,” said Cessna president and CEO Scott Ernest. “Wallace’s legacy is secure as the man who built general aviation around the world.”
Air BP secured the first major Asia-Pacific client for its global fuel card when it signed a deal this week with Beijing-based aircraft management and charter operator Deer Jet. Under the agreement, Air BP is providing its Sterling Card for each of Deer Jet’s 62 business jets. The card’s “independent oil company status” will allow Deer Jet to purchase aircraft fuel worldwide. Further, Sterling Card benefits include 24/7 support from the global Air BP out-of-hours team, which provides response service for queries and access to its interactive paperless electronic invoicing system.
This month Bombardier commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Learjet’s first flight even as the company struggles to launch a larger new flagship, the Model 85, and switch to composite airframe construction. Since 1963, Learjet has become one of the world’s most iconic brands, often generically misused to describe any make/model of private jet, and a conspicuous sign of affluence. Early Learjet owners included crooner Frank Sinatra and industrialist Louise Timken, and their aircraft were a far cry from the comfortable cabins of today.
While Gulfstream celebrates the 47th anniversary of the first flight of its first business jet this month, that very aircraft is in the process of becoming a museum piece, following a long service career. Grumman Gulfstream II S/N 0001 (built at the company’s Bethpage, N.Y. facility before the business jet division moved to Savannah), first flew on Oct. 2, 1966. After the certification flight-test program it was refurbished and sold to entrepreneur Robert Galvin, Motorola Corporation CEO, in 1970.
Embraer Executive Jets will hold four more Embraer Executive Operator Conferences (EEOCs) over the coming month, in addition to one held for the Legacy 600/650 on Tuesday in Jakarta. Today in Bangalore, Embraer is holding an EEOC for the Phenom 100 and 300. Next Monday and Tuesday it will hold conferences for the Legacy 600/650 and Lineage 1000 in Dubai, and it will repeat this EEOC for these three jets on October 10 and 11 in Hong Kong. Finally, the EEOC North America will be held in Los Cabos, Mexico, for the Phenom 100 and 300 from November 4 to 6.
VLJ activity has rebounded strongly in Europe, at the expense of traditional light jets such as Citations and Learjets, according to speakers at the annual Business Aircraft Europe event, held at London Biggin Hill Airport on September 11 and 12. The event grew out of Light Jets Europe, which started in 2007 but was renamed after the VLJ (very light jet) sector nosedived with much of the rest of the industry when the global financial crisis hit five years ago.
Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group recently closed four “high-level contracts to provide corporate sales and service work for important Asian-based clients,” it announced today. The transactions included the outfitting acceptance on schedule for a new ACJ318 completed by Lufthansa Technik for a Japanese client; an agreement to oversee and manage an ACJ319 from green delivery through to its redelivery from the Airbus Corporate Jet Center for a Chinese client; the sale of a pre-owned ACJ319 to a Chinese client; and the green delivery of a new BBJ1 from Boeing for a Chinese client.