Angola’s booming economy, which saw 10-percent growth in gross domestic product last year driven largely by new oil discoveries and reconstruction after the southwest African country’s long civil war, is driving a rapid expansion in business aviation activity. In response, local handling and aircraft management group Bestfly has opened the country’s first real FBO at Luanda International Airport. It is building a 21,500-sq-ft hangar that it expects will be ready in July.
Embraer Executive Jets delivered the first of up to 125 “Signature Series” Phenom 300s to NetJets during a ceremony yesterday at the aircraft manufacturer’s Phenom assembly facility in Melbourne, Fla. In October 2010 NetJets placed a firm order for 50 of the specially outfitted light jets, with options for 75 more. Including all options, the order is worth more than $1 billion.
NetJets has filed lawsuits against Signature Flight Support and Landmark Aviation in an attempt to force the two FBO chains to extend contracted high-volume fuel discounts to Support Services clients at NetJets aircraft charter and management arm Executive Jet Management.
NetJets’ joint venture in the People’s Republic of China is making headway since announcing its entry into the country’s private aviation market during last year’s ABACE. “We are continuing to make great progress in gaining approval from the Chinese government to establish operations in China,” NetJets told AIN. “We are on target now to have approval in the first quarter of 2014.”
NetJets says that it has made good progress with its joint venture in the People’s Republic of China since announcing its entry into the country’s private aviation market during last year’s ABACE. It will begin by managing and chartering aircraft that are wholly owned by customers, rather than launching into fractional ownership as it did several years ago in the U.S. and Europe. However, fractional aircraft and card services may be added later as the market for private aviation services in China continues to develop, it noted.
Flexjet appointed Jason Weiss as its new vice president of operations. In his new role, he is responsible for managing the fractional operator’s flight operations, training, technical operations, operations analysis and fleet management, the owner operations center and procurement. Weiss–who replaces David Gross, who is retiring from Flexjet after 13 years–comes from NetJets, where he was the vice president of crew resource planning.
Charter firms XOJet and Travel Management Co. (TMC) announced a new alliance yesterday to integrate the latter’s fleet into XOJet’s operations. The two companies have a combined fleet of more than 100 jets, though they will remain separate entities.
Elkhart, Ind.-based TMC operates a fleet of 24 Hawker 400XPs and 30 Hawker 800XPs, while XOJet operates Bombardier Challenger 300s, Cessna Citation Xs and Hawker 800XPs. Under terms of the deal, XOJet will sell all seven of its 800XPs to TMC and concentrate on expanding its fleet of super-midsize aircraft.
Airshow China last month provided yet more evidence of how eager the business aviation industry is to tap the enormous potential growth in China. Every major business aircraft maker made the trip to Zhuhai in the prosperous southern province of Guangdong, and their products formed one of the more prominent clusters among the 80 or so aircraft on display.
NetJets opened a new exclusive-use facility for its customers at Atlanta DeKalb-Peachtree Airport yesterday. The fractional aircraft provider has signed a long-term lease with Atlantic Aviation for the 2,800-sq-ft facility, which includes customer and crew lounges, a conference and business center and flight-planning facilities. According to NetJets, DeKalb-Peachtree is one of its most popular domestic destinations, with approximately 4,000 NetJets flights coming in and out of the airport annually.
NetJets Europe is betting on large-cabin, long-range operations as demand for light to midsize jets remains flat and is preparing to receive its first Bombardier Global 6000. Delivery is scheduled to take place by year-end, with commercial operations starting February 1.