NetJets is preparing to launch its NetJets China business in the middle of this year, by which time it expects to receive Chinese government approval for an air operator certificate. Upon its launch, NetJets’ Chinese joint-venture operation, NetJets Business Aviation Ltd., will provide aircraft management services.
NetJets has embarked on a U.S. demonstration tour of its new Bombardier Challenger 350 to current and prospective customers in more than 20 cities. The aircraft is a demonstrator model, since NetJets won’t take delivery of its first Challenger 350 until this summer. The private viewing events will provide guests with the opportunity to view the redesigned aircraft, which includes larger passenger windows, onboard Wi-Fi and HD entertainment system.
The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284 executive boards launched the NetJets Unions Coalition last week, citing “minimal progress and unjustifiable demands” during ongoing contract talks. NJASAP represents the more than 3,000 NetJets pilots, while Local 284 represents some 500 NetJets dispatchers, flight attendants, maintenance controllers, mechanics and stock clerks.
Airbus Corporate Jets has appointed Benoit Defforge managing director. He will also maintain his previous role as head of the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC).
Bill Chiles, president and CEO of helicopter operator Bristow Group, announced he will retire at the end of July but will remain with the company in a consulting role for another two years. He will be replaced by senior v-p and CFO Jonathan Baliff.
NetJets accounted for more than a third of the revenue increase at Berkshire Hathaway’s “other service” businesses last year, according to the parent company’s year-end results released on Saturday. The division, which also includes FlightSafety International and several other non-aviation companies, saw revenues climb by $821 million, to $9 billion, with NetJets’ share rising by $288 million–up 7.5 percent year-over-year–thanks to higher sales of fractional aircraft shares.
Private flight club Wheels Up is offering its members guaranteed access to midsize, super-midsize and large-cabin jets via a new alliance with Jet Aviation Flight Services. Through a new program announced today, its clients will be able to book aircraft with 24 hours’ notice and at fixed occupied hourly rates. Members will have the option of buying pre-paid blocks of flight hours, in which case they will have guaranteed access to aircraft with just 10 hours’ notice.
Business has been so good at West Coast charter/management firm Jet Edge International that the company devised an unusual arrangement to build a fleet of Gulfstream G200s. With a fleet consisting of mostly large-cabin Gulfstreams, Jet Edge has seen growing demand for the super-midsize charter market, and the G200s (and one G280, with two more coming) are ideal to fill that need, according to president Bill Papariella.
Argus International’s new Avmosys operations software has been selected by the Wheels Up aircraft access membership program “to manage customers’ flight-related activity,” according to Argus. First to sign up for Avmosys was charter/management firm ACP Jets, and charter broker Apollo Jets was the first company to implement the system fully, according to Andy Balser, Argus International’s Avmosys product manager.
NetJets this month expects to import its first two aircraft into China in anticipation of securing a Chinese air operators certificate (AOC) around the end of the first quarter of 2014. The U.S. fractional ownership provider will base a pair of its Hawker 800 midsized jets in China in order to be able to offer private charter services to local clients.
A busy year for upheaval in the fractional ownership and closed-fleet private aviation sectors reached a crescendo in December when Flight Options parent company Directional Aviation Capital completed its $185 million acquisition of Bombardier’s Flexjet program.