The Lufthansa Technik-led Platinet support program for business aircraft operators is up and running. The German aircraft maintenance and completions firm has assembled an initial group of partners for the service and is now looking to expand the geographical scope of the support network.
Air charter operators have the opportunity to apply for federal relief as a result of September 11. In discussions with the DOT, the National Air Transportation Association learned that Part 135 companies will be allowed to apply for relief by calculating their available seat miles (ASMs) or revenue ton miles (RTMs) for the time that their operations were grounded after September 11.
On October 11 the House small business subcommittee on regulatory reform and oversight considered the financial hit to small aviation business from restrictions on the National Airspace System. The hearing was intended to quantify dollar needs and consider expansion of recipients for aid under H.R.3007, introduced on October 3 by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) with 25 cosponsors.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) was Signature’s busiest base until September 11. Even after all other major airports around the country have reopened to some forms of general aviation operations, DCA remains closed to non-airline traffic. At press time, the normally bustling ramp at Signature DCA, the company’s flagship facility, was barren. The usually chock-a-block hangar was empty.
“Business has been very strong, but for all the wrong reasons,” said aircraft purchase broker Drew Callen, president of Boston JetSearch, which is based at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. “There has been a surge of new inquiries for fractional shares and wholly owned business aircraft of all types. Also, many buyers who were on the fence have decided it’s time to take action.”
Beyond North America, the global business aviation community has continued to find itself in a state of unsettling flux in the six weeks since September 11’s terrorist attacks. On balance, though, corporate pilots and industry executives gave AIN the strong impression that they preferred their lot to that of their airline counterparts.
Delta Airlines’ Comair Jet Express, hoping to expand its global presence as an on-demand charter and aircraft management provider, has changed its name to Delta AirElite Business Jets.
It is good news that the joint program and development office (JPDO), formed recently at the direction of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, is crafting a national policy on air transportation. Many voices, among them mine when I served as president of NBAA, called for a vision and mission statement by the U.S.
Business aviation continues to be a bright spot in the FAA’s annual aviation forecast, with top executives of two business jet manufacturers and the leading fractional ownership provider presenting generally upbeat assessments at the agency’s Aviation Forecast Conference in Washington, D.C., in late March.
At first it might seem like an odd couple: Don Burr, People Express founder and low-fare airline pioneer, and Bob Crandall, controversial megastar of American Airlines. Fierce competitors in the 1980s, the two men are now combining their talents and their money to develop a national on-demand, regional-based air-taxi network with hundreds of very light twinjets. Crandall is chairman of the new venture and Burr is CEO.