If you see Michal Dvorak here at EBACE wearing a big smile, congratulate him on his new appointment. He was just named chief financial officer of ABS Jets (Booth 2052), with operational bases in Prague and Bratislava. Dvorak has always had a keen interest in both aviation and finance, and his new job will enable him to leverage his expertise in both areas.
VistaJet’s bullish expansion plans have long turned the heads of more conventional charter sector rivals suspicious of how well-founded its business plan would prove to be in a sector that has struggled to regain profitability since the ravages of the financial crisis.
Accompanied by stage smoke and theme music from the Superman movie, Pilatus Aircraft unveiled its long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24, today at EBACE. “The PC-24 is unique. It’s the only aircraft combining the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a midsize jet and the field performance of a light jet,” said company chairman Oscar Schwenk.
GE Honda Aero Engines has announced that its 2,095-pound-thrust HF120 turbofan intended initially for the HondaJet is nearing completion of certification tests and is on track for delivery of the first entry into service engines before year-end. “We now have a line-of-sight for certification and we are gaining experience on the fleet,” said GE Honda Aero president Terry Sharp.
Signature Flight Support will open a new facility at Changi International Airport in Singapore this summer, the BBA Aviation subsidiary announced today at EBACE. Its offices there will be located at the JetQuay CIP Terminal, which has lounge facilities. Signature will provide “supervisory services” for ground handling and fuel coordination at the Changi location, which will be Signature’s second facility in Asia after the Hong Kong Business Aviation Center at Chek Lap Kok/Hong Kong International Airport.
NetJets Europe plans to operate Embraer Phenom 300s by early 2014, the two companies announced today at EBACE. Holding a firm order for 50 of the specially outfitted “Signature Series” light jets, NetJets took its first delivery on May 1 for its U.S. operations.
With the official acknowledgement by NetJets that it will buy up to 275 Challenger 350s (100 firm, 175 on options), the Columbus, Ohio-based fractional share company becomes the worldwide launch partner for the new super-midsize jet, a distinction NetJets chairman and CEO Jordan Hansell all too happily embraced here in Geneva. Previously, although the order had been announced in June 2012, it was billed as being only for “Challenger 300-series jets.”
Among the few economic forces behind the rather tepid recovery of the market segment covering small and medium-sized business jets, perhaps the most influential rests with the world’s financiers. While the large business jet segment remains buoyant due to its comparative immunity from the vagaries of liquidity availability, for the rest of the market a lack of attractive financing terms remains a serious problem, according Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) president John Saabas.
Qatar Executive is investing in the development of a private jet terminal at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. The opening of the new gateway for airline service has been delayed, following a failure to achieve the planned “soft opening” on April 1, but this appears not to be holding back plans to serve business aviation traffic there.
Cabin MRO, completions and refurbishment giant Lufthansa Technik (Booth 1031) is expanding its innovation engineering capability at its base in Hamburg, Germany. This year, according to Andrew Muirhead, who runs the Innovation Business Unit, the 55-person core team will be boosted by seven additional posts, and further staff positions will be required in 2014 and 2015.