Profits soared last year at Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, though not all of the company’s divisions did well. In his annual letter to shareholders released last month, the investment mogul summarized the reduced performance of FlightSafety International and NetJets– the two largest companies in their respective fields of simulator training and fractional ownership.
A “much improved situation is emerging at NetJets,” according to Warren Buffett, chairman of parent company Berkshire Hathaway. In his annual letter to stockholders, published February 28, Buffett said NetJets has “never had a problem growing. But profits had been erratic.”
NetJets has presented its annual trophy for Best Heavy Maintenance Provider during 2006 to Hawker Aircraft Services. It’s the third time the company has won
the annual maintenance honor; it has also previously received NetJets’ Supplier of the Year Award. The Hawker Aircraft Services facility performs heavy maintenance on NetJets’ domestic fleet of 71 Hawker 400XPs and Hawker 800XPs.
Hans Doll was promoted to director of customer and product support for Grob Aerospace. He was previously head of sales for Grob training aircraft. Denzil White was named director of international sales for the Grob training fleet as well as director of special mission aircraft.
The four largest fractional operators–NetJets, Flight Options, Flexjet and CitationShares–hired 11 pilots in March, compared with none during the same month last year, according to figures compiled by AIR Inc. of Atlanta. The March figure brings to 56 the number of fractional pilots hired in the first quarter, versus 47 in the same period last year.
Raytheon Aircraft signed a 10-year agreement with NetJets for the maintenance of the fractional-ownership operator’s fleet of Hawker 1000s, Hawker 800XPs and Hawker 400XPs. The contract includes options beyond the initial 10 years. Hawker 1000 and 800XP heavy maintenance will be performed at the Hawker Service Center in Little Rock, Ark. Maintenance for the Hawker 400XP will be done at Raytheon Aircraft Services in Tampa, Fla..
Manufacturers delivered 518 new business jets last year, some 23 percent fewer than the 676 shipped in 2002, according to the annual year-end report released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Last year’s figure is the lowest level since 1998, when 520 business jets were delivered.
When the economic bottom slipped from under the business aviation industry in 2001, those in the fractional ownership market were unsure where it would leave them. Recession was a new experience for those in the fractional market, which had come into its own in the mid-1990s, after the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
NetJets Europe is recruiting candidates for a new ab initio pilot training program that it hopes could provide its growing fractional ownership fleet with up to 45 new first officers each year. The part-sponsored program will be run by the UK’s Oxford Aviation Training (OAT), with the first 17-month courses due to start in May.
The Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference and exhibition emphatically imposed itself on the international airshow calendar with a strong debut at Dubai’s Airport Expo Center. The event attracted 2,401 visitors, as well as some 90 exhibitors from 20 countries and 31 aircraft. It also generated $907 million in new aircraft orders.