Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Private A380 VIP 'Flying Palace' design ready - but order not yet signed

US design house Edése Doret Industrial Design is nearing completion of an interior configuration for a prospective customer for the VIP Airbus A380 "Flying Palace", although the client is yet to sign a firm order for the aircraft.
Airbus revealed earlier this month that an unnamed launch customer had signed a letter of intent for the VIP A380.
Company president Edése Doret says that while the design is nearing completion, it is still subject to adjustment by the client. "They will most likely make changes prior to design freeze," he says.
While Doret will not comment on whether the customer is from the Middle East, the images clearly show flat-screen moving map monitors carrying Arabic script, with Dubai as the origin of a theoretical flightpath.

NetJets is confident of new orders and profits

NetJets Europe is expecting a fresh round of aircraft orders this year and is confident it will remain profitable, having reached this milestone for the first time last year - a decade after it began.
Warren Buffett, chairman of NetJets parent company Berkshire Hathaway, said in his annual letter to shareholders that a "much improved situation is emerging at NetJets".
The 1996 move into Europe was "particularly expensive" and after five years of operation "we had acquired only 80 customers", he says. "By mid-year 2006, our cumulative pre-tax loss had risen to $212 million."
Now demand in Europe is soaring, "with the company adding 589 customers in 2005 and 2006", bringing the total to 1,300 customers - 600 fractional owners and 700 charter card holders.
"We have spent the last 10 years building the infrastructure that has allowed us to secure both the brand and the success we have today," says NetJets Europe business development manager Robert Dranitze. This year NetJets Europe is investing $30 million on improved remuneration for its cabin crew and will add 24 business jets to its 115-strong fleet.
"We are very bullish about the European market. It is huge and we have barely scratched the surface," says Dranitze.
NetJets' US operation also had a good year, with the company generating earnings of $143 million compared with a loss of $80 million in 2005, primarily because of the need to charter to meet "unusually high owner demand", adds Buffett.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Airlines and environment: Silverjet inspires SAS on carbon emission offsetting programme

SAS Scandinavian Airlines is offering passengers the opportunity "to offset carbon dioxide emissions from air travel by paying [voluntary] compensation" via its website. Compensation fees are not set but the airline noted that a typical Scandinavia-Europe roundtrip would cost €4.50 ($5.93) for the passenger to offset his share of emissions generated.

Delta AirElite adds Gulfstream GIV-SP to charter fleet

Delta AirElite continues to expand its long range business jet fleet with the addition of another large cabin late-model aircraft, a Gulfstream GIV-SP based in San Jose, Calif. The aircraft, which will be operated under Delta AirElite's FAR Part 135 operating certificate, is being added as demand for long range charter and Fleet Membership flying continues to grow. The GIV-SP has been a popular aircraft with customers, offering a spacious cabin designed for ultimate passenger comfort.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bombardier Aerospace 2006 delivery summary

Bombardier Aerospace delivered 326 aircraft in year ended January 31 (vs 337 a year ago): 64 CRJs (vs 110); 48 Q-Series (vs 28); 71 Learjets (vs 69); 99 Challengers (vs 98); 42 Globals (vs 30); and two amphibians (vs 2).

Embraer Phenom Milestone

Embraer announced program milestones for Phenom 100/300. It plans in March to begin final assembly of Phenom 100 in São José dos Campos and make first flight mid-2007; several fuselage sections have been produced and assembled at Botucatu. Phenom 300 has completed schedule of full-model wind tunnel tests at TsAGI in Russia.

GROB restarted spn flight testing

GROB restarted spn flight testing after suspending program due to Nov 29 crash of aircraft #2; certification is 1Q08.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Private VLJ air taxi operator DAYJET gets money

DayJet yesterday announced the receipt of $50 million in capital resulting from the completion of its third round of private equity financing. The company said the money will allow it to launch its delayed on-demand VLJ service, to be based in Florida, in the second quarter.

Cessna to ramp up Citation X production

Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. company, will increase production of its Citation X business jet over the next five years. "Orders for the Citation X have been increasing and, as a result, we will be increasing production more than 65 percent from 2006 to 2010 to meet the growing demand for this popular aircraft," said Roger Whyte, senior vice president of sales and marketing."More than 260 Citation Xs have been delivered to customers around the world and the backlog for the aircraft extends well into 2008. The fleet has amassed almost 1 million flight hours over its 10-year history. Cessna Aircraft Company delivered 1,239 aircraft in 2006, of that total, Cessna delivered 307 business jets and expects to deliver 375 jets in 2007.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

SILVERJET: First results of operations

Silverjet flew 2,911 passengers in February, its first full month of operations. Load factor was 45% excluding passengers on promotional or discounted fares. CEO Lawrence Hunt said the all-business-class airline's forward bookings and cash flow "are substantially ahead of our initial expectations."

Monday, March 05, 2007

International increase for business jet market

The international market for business jets experienced sales of US$18.8 billion during 2006, an increase of 24.1% from the previous year, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

The market boom proved lucrative for aviation plane manufacturers, with shipments of 4042 units identified last year, compared to 3580 aircraft in 2005. This was the first time sales exceeded 4000 since 1982.

"Worldwide economic growth, a strong export market and increased use of general aviation for both business and personal use all played a part in this outstanding year for general aviation," said John Grisik, chairman, GAMA.

The review attributes the growing international market as a factor for the increase in deliveries. Gamma also identified that despite the stability of the North American market, US general aviation manufacturers have reported a 60% increase in exports in 2006.

All categories across the aviation manufacture sector are said to have achieved shipments increase by double digits in 2006. Specifically, piston plane makers shipped 2750 piston aircraft, an 11.6% increase from 2005, with recognition being attributed to manufactures, Cessna Aircraft and Cirrus Design.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

...and first US A318 Elite customer

Investment company Petters Group Worldwide (PGW) has become the first US customer for the A318 Elite following its order for one aircraft. Minneapolis, Minnesota-based PGW plans to use the aircraft for corporate flights within the USA, and to Asia and Europe.

The deal takes the orderbook for Airbus's Corporate Jet family this year to nine aircraft.

VIP buyer for Airbus A380

Flight International reports that Airbus has received its first preliminary order from an unidentified customer for a VIP-configured A380 ultra-large airliner.

Details of the arrangement are vague, but Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy told Flight's online news service Air Transport Intelligence that he has a letter of intent to supply a VIP version of the jet. "The problem is that when a VIP customer wants one, he wants it tomorrow," he says. "He doesn't want to have to wait."

Leahy will not say whether, or when, the agreement is likely to be confirmed and has provided no information about the nature or location of the potential customer. Airbus recently referred to the corporate version of the A380 as the "Flying Palace".

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lufthansa Private Jet from success to success

Lufthansa Private Jet, the exclusive top-end service for individual and flexible air travel, has written another chapter in its success story. In 2006, the number of flights operated in this segment rose by 13 per cent. Up to ten private aircraft were booked daily during the year. The highest demand accounting for about 60 per cent of the total came from point-to-point connections to around 1,000 destinations in Europe and the Russian Federation. But the number of private jet flights offered in combination with long-haul services through the Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich hubs has also increased significantly since mid-2006. Customer satisfaction scoring over 90 per cent shows how positively customers are responding to the Lufthansa Private Jet service. "We are delighted that our innovative product has become so firmly established in the market so soon after its launch. Lufthansa Private Jet, offering customers à la carte mobility, has meantime become a firm fixture in our full-service strategy," observed Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President Marketing and Sales at Lufthansa Passenger Airlines. "Our customers appreciate especially the opportunity of enjoying the exclusive Lufthansa First-Class amenities on the Private Jet service and making their journey even more comfortable."The accord with NetJets is consequently being extended for a further five-year term and cooperation intensified with the private jet provider. From now on, more jets will be on call, daily, in order to accommodate increased demand for the Lufthansa Private Jet service. In future, the Falcon 2000, which seats up to ten passengers in comfort, will also be available to customers daily.The Lufthansa Private Jet service is on offer at an attractive fixed price, depending on the flight route and including all charges and costs. Guests flying with the jets travel free. The entire itinerary is coordinated by an event manager. A personal service team is available for customers, round-the-clock. In-flight catering and entertainment are tailored to individual requirements and passengers have full use at any time of First-Class services laid on at the airport by Lufthansa, SWISS or Lufthansa partners.

Elite Traveler's 2007 Top 5 Private Jet Trends Report: Big Jets are Getting Bigger, Big Name Chefs are whipping up Truffles & Fois Gras at 30,000 feet

While private jets are getting bigger, a new fleet of little jets (a.k.a very light jets) is carving out an explosive niche as the new rich man's taxi. Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine, is tracking these and other emerging private jet travel trends of the world's super affluent. Now, the magazine reveals its latest report on the top five private jet trends in 2007 and offers a voyeuristic glimpse into the future of private flight.
"Truly, only the sky is the limit for today's elite traveler," says Douglas Gollan, president and editor-in-chief. "As big jets get even bigger, big names in everything from interiors to cuisine will play a role."

Elite Traveler's Top Five Private Jet Trends to watch in 2007 are:

  1. The Rich Man's Taxi -- Very light jets will change the way the wealthy
    travel as they hop from their luxury villa to a nearby city for dinner
    and then are back by midnight. "Very light jets are the car service
    of the future," says Gollan.
  2. Bigger Really is Better -- Private jets are getting bigger as
    individuals place orders for jets the size of a 737 and even larger.
    On board, stand-up bars, media rooms, sound-proof game rooms for kids
    and master bedrooms replace old-fashioned first class seating.
    "Customization is key," says Gollan. "We're going to see everyone
    getting involved -- from architects to high-end designers like Versace
    -- in order to give private jet travelers what they want for their
    penthouse in the sky."
  3. Private Jet Palates -- Pre-packaged meals have given way to haute
    dining at high altitudes
    . Wolfgang Puck, David Bouley and David Burke
    are among the top chefs crafting fois gras-filled menus and providing
    special gourmet services for private jet travelers. Some private jet
    companies are partnering with local top-rated restaurants, while some
    owners are simply opting to fly their personal chef along.
  4. Super Rich Sports Fans -- Increasingly, private jet travelers will cut
    the line, at least the airport, when heading to sporting and major
    events such as Art Basel in Miami, the Super Bowl, the Olympics and
    the America's Cup races. More and more of the Super Rich are taking
    their jets to big sporting events.
  5. The Uber Gift Card -- The gift of private jet travel is on the rise,
    with more and more people buying jet cards as gifts for friends and
    . "These work a lot like your debit card, deducting hours as
    they're used," says Gollan.