Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, in his latest annual letter to shareholders issued Saturday, said the company’s flight services division–FlightSafety and NetJets–reported $120 million in pre-tax earnings versus $191 million in 2004. According to Buffett, “Earnings improved at FlightSafety as corporate aviation continued its rebound…[but] operating results at NetJets were a different story.
It has been a long road for Raytheon Aircraft, but on November 21 the Hawker 4000 (née Horizon) super-midsize received full FAA certification, following the award of provisional certification almost two years earlier, and more than 10 years since the program was announced at the 1996 NBAA Convention.
NetJets Europe (NJE) has offered its flight crew new onshore contracts and improved pay. Proposed raises for pilots and flight attendants range from 4.6 percent to 26.7 percent, and new roster arrangements will limit maximum duty days to 50 days per quarter. AIN obtained a copy of the contract offer, which was sent to NetJets staff on December 1. (See box on page 30 for details.)
NetJets Europe has offered its pilots more pay and new contracts as it seeks to retain existing flight crew and hire 180 more personnel next year. Annual starting salaries will increase by between 12 and 35 percent, with first officers getting €56,500 ($73,450) and captains being offered €95,000 ($123,500).
Fractional ownership operator NetJets has increased its flights to Le Bourget airport by 70 percent since the last Paris Air Show in 2003, the U.S.-based company announced here on Monday. NetJets figures show a jump from 1,400 movements over the five first months of 2003 to 2,400 movements over the equivalent period this year.
The French Ministry of Employment has launched an investigation into NetJets Europe flight crews at French airports, after an association of air charter operators alleged the fractional ownership giant is breaking the country’s employment law.
Bloomberg News reported on November 14 that, according to J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Joseph Nadol, fractional provider NetJets might have canceled its order for as many as 100 Gulfstream G150s. “Gulfstream’s backlog of funded orders from NetJets declined by about $600 million during the third quarter, which suggests NetJets canceled its G150 order announced in September 2002,” said Nadol.
NetJets Europe pilots are preparing to establish trade union representation at the fractional ownership company. According to Teamsters union officials, a group of the European pilots is now evaluating four possible options for union representation and it expects to launch the new organization by year-end.
Europe’s business jet fleet has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past year, according to the latest statistics from UK-based aviation data group Airclaims. Tracking jets registered in 38 European countries, the figures show 1,407 aircraft as of last December 31–a 12-percent increase on the tally of 1,260 at the end of 2004.
IBM Euroflight, the computer giant’s European corporate flight department, is to close down before the end of June due to “insufficient activity.” Its two Dassault Falcon 2000 jets are to be sold and bargaining between management and the unions as to the future of the operation’s 20 permanent employees–including seven pilots and seven maintenance technicians–at its Paris Le Bourget Airport base is at an advanced stage.