Accidents in the first quarter involving U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes resulted in 15 fatalities, compared with 22 in the same period last year, even though the corporate jet segment did not reduce its number of fatal and nonfatal accidents. According to data assembled by AIN, five people were killed in two crashes involving N-numbered business jets in the first quarter versus seven in two accidents in the year-ago period–all under Part 91 operations.
A meeting between company officials and the Flight Options pilot union planned for today and tomorrow is intended to address issues arising from the consolidation of fractional-share operations Flexjet and Flight Options. Flight Options parent Directional Aviation Capital purchased Flexjet from Bombardier last December for about $195 million.
Landmark Aviation made its entry into the UK business aviation market in a big way with yesterday’s announcement that it acquired RSS Jet Centre, which operated the former Ocean Sky FBOs at London Luton, Manchester and Glasgow Prestwick International Airports. The Houston-based company, which now operates 57 FBOs (including eight under license) mostly in North America, has had a presence in France since 2006, and currently has bases at 10 airports in Europe. This includes a facility at Paris Le Bourget, where a new $4.1 million terminal is set to open.
Impatient with delays in inducting the HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer from government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), the Indian air force has issued a request for information (RFI) for Stage II intermediate jet trainers. The Indian Air Force (IAF) requires 85 IJTs, and the cutoff date for RFI response is April 4.
Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines plans to take advantage of more aggressive Chinese aviation reforms with the formation of a new low-cost carrier called Jiuyuan Airlines. Plans call for the new joint venture between Juneyao and three private investors to start operations in August. Privately held Juneyao holds a 69-percent stake in the new carrier, whose registered capital base totals $96 million. Based in Guangzhou, Jiuyuan translates in English to “Nine Yuan,” reflecting starting fares of $1.46.
While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.
Middle Eastern charter and scheduled service operator Rotana Jet plans to more than double its fleet by 2016. At the Air Expo show at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport, where Rotana Jet is based, the company said that over the next two years it will add at least seven aircraft to the five it currently operates. However, most of the expansion for now is focused on the scheduled part of its operation.
While Asiana Airlines acknowledged the culpability of its pilots in the loss of airspeed that ultimately caused the July 6 crash of one of the carrier’s Boeing 777-200ERs on approach to San Francisco International Airport, it also blamed the design of the airplane itself, describing as “inadequate” the warning system to alert the flight crew that the autothrottle had stopped maintaining airspeed.
Quest Aircraft (Booth MD-032B) of Sandpoint, Idaho, is displaying one of its Kodiak turboprop singles outfitted with the new “Summit Executive” interior this week at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. The new interior, which is expected to receive STC approval in the second quarter, features reclining club-four seating, along with folding tables, forward cabinets, better soundproofing and other amenities. It builds on the Timberline and Tundra interiors announced in 2012 that included composite panels, storage pockets, cupholders, improved headrests and center pedestal closeouts.
Sometimes it really is good to be the biggest airplane in the pattern. Just ask the JetBlue Airways crew who brought a company Airbus A-321 into Sun ’n’ Fun on April 2, as part of an airlift of teenagers and twenty-somethings, all students or up-and-coming pilots, dispatchers and mechanics (and more) participating in JetBlue’s high school outreach, Gateway and College Crew programs around the country.