Three of the five pilots for Cleveland-based fractional aircraft operator Flight Options who are trying to organize pilots under International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 (the same union that represents NetJets fractional pilots) told AIN that they soon expect to have enough organizing cards to call a vote.
On October 29, more than four out of every five of the unionized pilots at fractional provider NetJets voted to reject a tentative agreement (TA) reached in late August (see AIN November, page 4), sending a strong message to their now former master executive council (MEC) members, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 284 and the company itself.
NetJets Europe (NJE) sold shares in 18 complete aircraft last year, representing an 80-percent increase in sales over 2003. By the end of last year the European fractional ownership program’s fleet consisted of 58 aircraft. That number is set to grow to 91, with 33 deliveries scheduled for this year.
The Gulfstream G150, which the Savannah, Ga.-based company describes as the first wide-cabin, long-range, midsize business jet, rolled out January 18 in el Aviv before hundreds of employees of Israel Aircraft Industries, which is producing the G150 at its plant on Ben Gurion International Airport.
Marquis Jet is now marketing a 25-hour card that gives users access to 12.5 hours in each of two different aircraft types. The new card combines aircraft types with different seating and baggage configurations, amenities and distance capabilities. The company offers two different versions of the new card: a Citation Excel/Hawker 400XP combination and a Citation X/Citation Excel combo.
Atlanta-based aviation placement company AIR projects that the four major fractional aircraft ownership companies will hire at least 1,000 pilots this year, more than double the 482 hired last year, but fewer than the record 1,363 hired in 2000. The last year in which the fractionals hired more than 1,000 pilots was 2001, according to AIR. NetJets, the largest fractional operator, is expected to hire more than a third of the projected total.
Bolstered by the introduction of the Challenger 300 and Learjet 40, Dallas-based fractional aircraft ownership operator Flexjet said it saw a 32-percent increase in the sale of shares last year compared with the year before.
Last year charter/management provider Executive Jet Management added 38 aircraft and a dozen bases bringing its total fleet size to more than 100 aircraft based at more than 50 locations in the U.S. As a division of NetJets, Executive Jet provides charter backup for the fractional aircraft ownership operator.
In the single largest training agreement in its history, Dallas-based CAE SimuFlite will soon start training all 900-plus pilots of Flight Options, the second-largest fractional aircraft ownership operation in the world. The exclusive three-year agreement, with an option for two more years, is valued at about $28 million and is effective starting this month.
With the exception of Bombardier Flexjet, 13 major and minor players in the fractional industry continued their growth cycle last year, according to Wichita-based AvData. Total net shares last year surged past 6,200, up 6.7 percent from 2002. During the same period, the fractional turbine fleet grew 6.1 percent–to more than 800 aircraft.