As the Raytheon Hawker 800XP that on August 28 collided with a sailplane in Nevada prepared to land, one of the jet’s passengers cinched up his seat belt and the inboard portion of the belt fitting detached. The passenger moved to another seat and the same thing happened again.
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.
The industry’s fortunes have changed dramatically in the last three years, swinging wildly from the lowest of lows to almost unimaginable heights. For business aircraft makers, the current “cycle” likely will be remembered as one of the biggest roller-coaster rides in the industry’s history. Perhaps no company is more illustrative of the rapid turnaround than Dassault Falcon Jet.
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.
Aerion SSBJ–Aerion continues on track with development efforts for its supersonic business jet. High-speed testing on the Aerion supersonic natural-laminar-flow wing was expected to be carried out last month by using a rocket sled to achieve the necessary Mach 1.5 test speed.