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.
London Executive Aviation has been one of the stalwarts of Europe’s private charter sector for almost two decades. Trading conditions have never been tougher than in the last few years, but the UK firm is surviving by sticking to its core values, as founders Patrick Margetson-Rushmore and George Galanopoulos told AIN in an interview prior to this week’s show.
Daher-Socata is here at EBACE (Booth 1643) with its model year 2013 TBM 850 Elite, featuring a special cabin equipment package. The Tarbes, France-based company sold 38 examples of the single-engine turboprop last year, while its specialist aerostructures activities mean that it is involved in still-under-wraps business jet programs.
Piaggio Aero announced a reduced maintenance program for Avanti I/IIs today at EBACE, extending the heavy inspection intervals for the twin turboprop. Under the new inspection schedule, C and D checks–previously due at 1,500 and 3,000 hours, respectively–have been stretched to 1,800 and 3,600 hours.
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee’s preliminary report on the April 13 Lion Air accident in Bali appears to leave little doubt that pilot error was the primary cause, specifically a failure by the crew to follow standard instrument approach procedures.
The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to examine the FAA’s Runway Safety Program in the light of a steadily increasing number of runway incursions and evaluate the agency’s progress in implementing initiatives to prevent further incursions.
Prevention of runway incursions and ground collisions has been on the NTSB’s “Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements List” since 1990.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) wants to see small-aircraft commercial operators equip their fleets with lightweight data recorders, and the agency is pressing Transport Canada to work with industry to make it happen. The new TSB recommendation was part of a recently released accident report that was unable to pin down the reason a de Havilland Canada Twin Otter broke up in flight over the Yukon in March 2011.