The Wm Wrigley Jr. Company of Chicago has a rare bird, one of only two Gulfstream G550s equipped with a second crew-rest area, divided from the remaining aft end of the cabin by a sound-damping lead curtain. The second crew-rest area was built and installed at Gulfstream’s Long Beach, Calif. completion center. The other aircraft with a second crew-rest area is operated by NetJets.
NetJets Europe has offered its pilots more pay and new contracts as it seeks to retain existing flight crew and hire 180 more personnel next year. Annual starting salaries will increase by between 12 and 35 percent, with first officers getting €56,500 ($73,450) and captains being offered €95,000 ($123,500).
Fractional ownership operator NetJets has increased its flights to Le Bourget airport by 70 percent since the last Paris Air Show in 2003, the U.S.-based company announced here on Monday. NetJets figures show a jump from 1,400 movements over the five first months of 2003 to 2,400 movements over the equivalent period this year.
The idea of aircraft fractional ownership took some time to germinate in the Middle East. But the seed NetJets Middle East planted in 1999 has now started to bear fruit, according to company president Mohammed Al-Zeer. “Our biggest challenge at this point is to add aircraft quickly enough to meet demand,” he told Aviation International News.
Analysis of the national aircraft registers of Middle Eastern countries gives the strong impression that next to no private or corporate flying happens in the region. In fact, the ramps of Middle Eastern airports are routinely occupied by aircraft owned by local individuals and companies that have opted to register them in places like Bermuda, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the U.S.
The French Ministry of Employment has launched an investigation into NetJets Europe flight crews at French airports, after an association of air charter operators alleged the fractional ownership giant is breaking the country’s employment law.
Bloomberg News reported on November 14 that, according to J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Joseph Nadol, fractional provider NetJets might have canceled its order for as many as 100 Gulfstream G150s. “Gulfstream’s backlog of funded orders from NetJets declined by about $600 million during the third quarter, which suggests NetJets canceled its G150 order announced in September 2002,” said Nadol.
NetJets Europe pilots are preparing to establish trade union representation at the fractional ownership company. According to Teamsters union officials, a group of the European pilots is now evaluating four possible options for union representation and it expects to launch the new organization by year-end.
Flying Group, the Antwerp-based aircraft charter, fractional ownership, management and handling company, views France as the main outlet for its growth strategy. It is putting this theory into practice by establishing substantial new bases at both Paris Le Bourget Airport and Cannes-Mandelieu.
Europe’s business jet fleet has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past year, according to the latest statistics from UK-based aviation data group Airclaims. Tracking jets registered in 38 European countries, the figures show 1,407 aircraft as of last December 31–a 12-percent increase on the tally of 1,260 at the end of 2004.