Dassault Falcon announced last month a multi-year expansion at its Wilmington, Del. facilities that will include use of an existing 22,000-sq-ft hangar for interior completion work. The announcement is particularly timely as this year Dassault expects to deliver 80 business jets; it expects that number to increase to more than 100 next year.
While debate over the future of the war in Iraq rages among Congress, the White House and the populace, several organizations and individuals in the business aviation industry have been quietly providing support to servicemen wounded in the conflict. One major effort involves Richard Santulli, creator of the fractional ownership business model and the chairman and CEO of industry leader NetJets.
Although the second quarter of this year raised the order backlog at Hawker Beechcraft to a record $5.1 billion, roughly double what it was at this time last year, the realities of purchasing Raytheon’s aircraft division led to an operating loss of $36.6 million.
One prediction about which most fractional providers’ executives and consultants agree is that within five years there will be only two strong major providers, with the current majors either being relegated to a niche market or merging into one of the stronger players. While they all concur that NetJets will be one of those two companies, there is no consensus on which of the other three majors will hold the other spot.
Most of the fractional executives interviewed for this article were not optimistic that very light jets (VLJs) will enter the fractional fleet.
Forecast International of Newtown, Conn., released its most recent 10-year outlook, The World Market for Business Jet Aircraft, at the Farnborough Air Show last month.
Thirty years ago, most people would have dismissed anyone who said they’d eventually make money by selling bottled water, especially since tap water was, and still is, plentiful and nearly free. But since then, a lot of people have actually traded tap water for bottled water, resulting in skyrocketing sales of the clear liquid in plastic bottles.
Holders of the Marquis Jet Card will have new restrictions requiring that they book flights further in advance during peak travel times due to unexpected growth in flying hours by NetJets share owners over the last year, according to NetJets chairman Richard Santulli. Marquis flights are operated under Part 135 by NetJets, or NetJets-approved charter operators, and Marquis owns about 10 percent of the NetJets’ fleet.
Fractional-ownership provider NetJets has placed an order for 50 AirCell ST 3100 Iridium satellite communication systems for its growing fleet of Raytheon Hawker 400XP light business jets.
The satellite phone systems will be installed at Raytheon Aircraft Services in San Antonio before aircraft delivery. A spokeswoman for Woodbridge, N.J.-based NetJets said the fractional operator expects the first 400XP delivery this month.
Although foreign operators are unhappy over the complications they face in obtaining clearances to fly non-U.S.-registered into the U.S., in general the post-9/11 security rules are not insurmountable.