It was premeditated mass murder, almost flawlessly executed, and civil aircraft were the weapons of choice. A civil airplane was also the battlefield for the first retaliatory strike, when the passengers of a United 757 most likely aimed at a Washington landmark took matters into their own hands and fought back, causing the Boeing to fall short of its intended target.
Avolar, the budding stand-alone fractional business jet division of UAL Corp., stepped up its launch effort last month with a pair of new aircraft orders–despite a current economy that has other fractional providers turning to new marketing tactics. To boot, the Avolar business plan is ahead of schedule. Avolar president Stuart Oran said at the NBAA Convention in New Orleans last month, “We are now operational.
Avolar, the newly formed business aviation subsidiary of UAL Corp., reached an agreement with Airbus to market and/or manage, but not buy, up to 15 Airbus Corporate Jetliners under a program to be operated separately from Avolar’s fractional-ownership program for smaller business jets. Terms also permit Avolar customers to purchase an ACJ. The executive twinjets will be crewed by mainline United Airlines pilots.
In a move widely expected to portend an industry trend in years to come, Continental Airlines last month confirmed its intention to sell 20 percent of its now wholly owned Continental Express subsidiary on September 1, laying the foundation for an eventual full spin-off of the Houston-based regional airline.
Despite United Airlines’ apparent decision to abandon its attempt to buy US Airways for $4.3 billion, the airlines agreed to submit to the Justice Department a merger proposal for full review in compliance with a 21-day review period requirement, prompting applause from DC Air CEO Robert Johnson, who pledged to locate his airline’s headquarters in Washington if the merger survives Justice Department scrutiny.
Frontier Airlines grounded one of its captains and first officers after they inadvertently flew their Boeing 737 into prohibited airspace above the White House seconds after taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) last month.
Deliveries of Gulfstream business jets in the first quarter were down slightly compared with the same period a year ago, but the firm’s first-quarter order backlog of $6.4 billion was an increase of $900 million from last year. Gulfstream said it delivered 15 green GIV-SPs and GVs (vs 18 in the first quarter last year) and 10 finished G100s and G200s (the same as last year’s first quarter).
Scope-clause negotiations between US Airways and the Air Line Pilots Association reached an impasse just days after the beleaguered airline early last month recruited former Continental Express president David Siegel to replace Stephen Wolf as CEO. The talks broke down soon after the sides reported significant progress toward a settlement, the outcome of which could determine the airline’s direction for years to come.
Little more than a week after halting efforts to find outside investors for a majority share in its Avolar business aviation venture, United Airlines parent UAL Corp. pulled the plug entirely on March 22 and announced it is closing down the Chicago-based subsidiary.
An RAA fall meeting understandably marked by apprehension and uncertainty also assumed a palpable air of cynicism this year, as an industry whose fate appeared so dubious after 9/11 continues to grapple with the consequences of the U.S.