Kenny Dichter, founder of jet-card innovator Marquis Jet, is re-entering the private aviation market with the launch of Wheels Up, a new private members club. The new company is set to place an $800 million order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops, with deliveries of the eight-passenger aircraft due to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, running through 2018.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm headed by NetJets founder Richard Santulli, closed a new $300 million credit facility yesterday. The company will use these proceeds to acquire and lease helicopters–including Sikorsky S-92s, Eurocopter EC225s and AgustaWestland AW189s and AW139s–valued at $400 million to affiliates of Bristow Group. The credit facility is the largest ever for a helicopter lessor, the company said.
Cessna Aircraft announced the “Sovereign Shield” program yesterday for 2013 Citation Sovereigns, covering all scheduled maintenance and parts costs for these business jets for the first five years or 1,500 flight hours. The program “practically eliminates” maintenance-related direct operating costs for these Citation Sovereigns, Cessna said. According to Cessna, operators covered by the Sovereign Shield program can save more than $3,500 on a 2,000-nm trip compared with operators of competing midsize jets.
A surcharge that FlightSafety International had planned to assess for certain Part 135 training events beginning in August has been cancelled, a FlightSafety spokesman confirmed to AIN. The charge presumably would have helped cover costs of training check airmen to meet clarified FAA requirements that the check airman has “completed at least one air carrier’s initial training and qualification curriculum as a flight crewmember for an operator certificated under the same CFR part.”
At its 18th Annual Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference, held June 20 to 22 in Washington, D.C., the National Business Aviation Association announced 32 recipients of scholarships valued at $60,000. More than 235 attendees gathered for the two-day conference, which focused on cabin safety, emergency training, cultural awareness and sensitivity training and networking.
The scholarship program is administered by NBAA and its Flight Attendants Committee, and was established to assist business aviation flight attendants/flight technicians in their roles as crewmembers.
Elkhart, Ind.-based charter operator Travel Management is installing Aircell’s Gogo Biz high-speed Internet service across its entire fleet of 70 Hawker 400XPs and 800XPs. It expects installations of the system to be completed by October. The company began introducing Gogo Biz aboard its 800XPs last year.
FlightSafety International broke ground yesterday on an expansion and renovation project at its Teterboro, N.J. learning center slated for completion early next year. According to the company, the center will increase in size by 50 percent, allowing it to accommodate up to eight full-motion flight simulators and offer facilities for flight crew emergency training, including a pool and other specialized equipment. It will also feature “advanced technology” classrooms, aircraft cabin training facilities and enhanced office areas.
FlightSafety International has received EASA approval for 49 of its practical maintenance training courses under Regulation 1149/2011.
A legal battle is under way between the nation’s largest private aviation provider and two of the major FBO chains over whether NetJets’ aircraft charter and management arm, Executive Jet Management, can require the chains to provide fuel discounts to aircraft owners and operators whose aircraft are not part of the company’s fully managed fleet.