NetJets Europe has placed a “historic” $1.1 billion order for 24 Dassault Falcon 7Xs scheduled for delivery between the first quarter of 2008 through 2014. NetJets chairman and CEO Richard Santulli said the transaction, signed in Paris this morning with Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne, is the “largest business jet order in European history and the second largest order ever” in terms of billings.
Preparing for future growth of its U.S. and European operations–and in spite of mounting losses–fractional ownership giant NetJets has placed orders for 72 business jets valued at more than $1.6 billion.
The nine-month-old NetJets pilot contract, which raised wages substantially, isn’t having the speculated adverse effect on profits at the fractional provider.
More than 20 years ago, fractional jet ownership began with NetJets and then expanded rapidly in the late 1990s with the growth of Raytheon Travel Air and Flight Options (now just Flight Options, which is wholly owned by Raytheon), Bombardier’s Flexjet and the Cessna/ TAG Aviation CitationShares joint venture, among others.
Remarkably, the two pilots and three passengers on a NetJets Hawker 800XP (N879QS) and the pilot of a Schleicher sailplane escaped serious injury when the two aircraft collided at about 16,000 feet yesterday afternoon near Carson City, Nev. The pilot of the glider bailed out and landed safely, while the jet made a gear-up landing at Carson City Airport.
First it was NetJets’ pilots who picketed and finally got a new labor contract; now it’s the fractional’s mechanics and other support personnel who on Friday began “informational picketing” at the company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Their contract became renewable in January last year.
The union representing some 760 Flight Options pilots is charging that the Raytheon-owned fractional share company is engaging in a pattern of harassing and hostile behavior as both sides continue negotiations toward an initial contract. Under terms of the National Labor Relations Act those talks can continue through August 2007 before a strike could be called.
NetJets Europe’s order for 24 Dassault Falcon 7Xs reflects a powerful declaration of intent for both companies. For Dassault, the deal–valued at $1 billion–is its largest single business jet sale ever and a vital fillip for the 7X program, which now has an order book for 116 copies of the fly-by-wire trijet.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has moved to ease restrictions on access to U.S. skies for foreign charter operators. It will increase to 12 (from six) the number of flights any one operator can make per year into the country before having to apply for a Part 129 foreign carrier certificate, and address applications on an ad hoc basis pending a permanent rule change that could take another two years to implement.
Scara, a French association of leisure and executive air charter operators, is urging CRPN, the French crew retirement fund that collects contributions from all French-employed pilots, to file a lawsuit against fractional operator NetJets Europe for allegedly violating French labor laws.