Turbulent economic times are challenging for a firm that places pilots, flight department managers, flight attendants, schedulers/dispatchers, maintenance technicians and other aviation professionals. Founded by two pilots in 1983, Jet Professionals Inc. (JPI) is now located at Jet Aviation’s Teterboro, N.J. facility after nearly two decades at its original Shelton, Conn. location.
NetJets pilots this week overwhelmingly voted to switch union representation from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), an in-house group. The final results, released on Tuesday evening, show that of the 81.7 percent of eligible NetJets pilots who participated in the vote, 97.7 percent opted for the NJASAP while 2.3 percent chose the IBT.
Piper, which said it experienced at least a 45-percent decline in sales across the board, is preparing for another round of downsizing this month. At press time the company had not determined how many of its 1,200 workers will be let go. The company had to close for two weeks in the aftermath of September 11 and also dismissed more than 250 workers. “This doesn’t mean the company is not making the kind of investments to secure its future.
Ron flies a Gulfstream IV based at Dallas Love Field and he loves his job–most of the time. But the 42-year-old married father of two young children has found the on-demand culture of delivering teams of executives, who make decisions on a dime, is wreaking havoc with his family life.
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One OEM called it “an adjustment.” Another referred to it as a “reduction in force.” Yet another described an “involuntary separation plan.” But by those or any other names, the meaning is the same– “layoffs.” In the past 18 months, business aircraft manufacturers have announced layoffs of more than 9,000 workers and, barring a reversal of the current economic trend, there will be more.
For years the conventional wisdom has been that to make money, you have to spend money–on facilities, workforce, R&D and, of course, business aircraft to move key personnel quickly to where the opportunities present themselves. Sadly, to make money in not-so-good times you have to save money, and to do that one of the first items to go to the selling block is usually the corporate aircraft.
The last few months have been difficult for a number of aviation players. First, there were several whistleblower complaints from FAA aviation safety inspectors who risked their futures to make serious allegations against their management in the southwest region. These allegations had been under investigation for some time when the U.S. Congress decided to hold hearings and have FAA senior management respond to them in a public forum.
An agreement was recently reached between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the latter of which seeks to break away from IBT Local 1108 to form an independent NetJets pilot union.
Debi Irby always had a tough time finding new employees when she was chief pilot for various helicopter operators. The inquiries that did come to her attention were either random résumés from unqualified people or former military pilots asking how they could get into the civil market. It didn’t help that even within the aviation industry, helicopter people were thought of as a wild bunch, she said, “but we are professionals.”