Business NewsWire Complete Issue

January 11, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

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Airports I: FAA Says SMO Is Discriminating

The FAA last week issued a 60-page order taking the city of Santa Monica, Calif., to task for what the agency has determined are discriminatory landing fees at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO). The order, which the NBAA immediately welcomed, is the latest chapter in a years-long battle between business jet operators and the city, and is a direct result of a series of landing fees that went into effect on Aug. 1, 2003. According to the FAA, the fees are “unreasonable and [result] in unjust discrimination against one group of aviation users to the benefit of another group.” Specifically, the FAA determined that the fees have a significant impact on operators of certain aircraft types, are not warranted by the relatively small increase in jet operations at the airport and are “high by any standard.” "The determination made by the FAA is great news for anyone opposed to discriminatory landing fees in the United States," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "Santa Monica Airport has been unfairly discriminating against business aircraft operators, in violation of Federal law." Last year, the NBAA was joined by two of its members – Bombardier Aerospace and Dassault Falcon Jet – in filing a complaint with the FAA arguing that the fee schedule was unreasonably discriminatory and unlawful. The agency agreed, noting that SMO’s landing fees structure is "fundamentally flawed in that it fails to provide a reasonable relationship between the revised landing fees and the costs of maintaining the pavement at SMO." According to the NBAA, until the city withdraws its landing-fee structure Santa Monica Airport will be ineligible for federal airport improvement funds under FAA's Airport Improvement Program. Alternately, the city may choose to appeal the FAA’s ruling. "We are pleased the FAA has taken a strong stand on behalf of business aircraft operators," Bolen continued. "The business aviation sector contributes greatly to the local economy, and because modern business aircraft are remarkably quiet, business aircraft operators make good neighbors. We are hopeful that the FAA’s decision will eliminate the need for further, unnecessary legal action for all involved."

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Airports II: Others Want Your Business

Even if Santa Monica would like to see all the bizjets go somewhere else, other cities and airports around the country are going all out to attract them, whether flown as charters, fractional operations or traditional flight departments. For example, traffic at the Portland-Hillsboro Airport (HIO) in Portland, Ore., is expected to increase by nearly 30 percent in the next two decades, according to an article in the The Business Journal of Portland. The newspaper reported that “a significant proportion” of more than 254,000 operations at the facility in 2003 were for business reasons. That number is forecast to increase to 323,000 by 2020. "The airport is growing rapidly and it has been that way for the last few years. It is a microcosm of the growth of Washington County businesses," Daren Griffin, Port of Portland general aviation manager, told the newspaper. Meanwhile, management at the Lebanon (N.H.) Municipal Airport (LEB) welcomes what it says is about a 10-percent increase in business aviation activity over the past year. According to The Associated Press, an increase in fractional operations has greatly contributed to LEB’s recent growth. Greg Soho, chief executive officer at LEB FBO Signal Aviation Services Inc., told the AP its fuel sales were on track to show a 5-percent increase in 2004 over 2003.

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Gulfstream Delivers 100th G200 Jet

Gulfstream Aerospace last month delivered its 100th G200 business jet. Fractional operator NetJets accepted delivery of the aircraft at Gulfstream's Dallas facility where it was outfitted. Gulfstream rolled out the G200 in 1997; the aircraft received FAA certification in 1998 and entered service in 2000. In 2001, NetJets placed 50 firm orders for the G200 with an option for 50 more. On June 30, 2002, NetJets took delivery of its first G200. To date, NetJets has taken delivery of 12 G200s. In September, Gulfstream received a type certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency, which allows registration in 25 European Union countries. "We are pleased to take delivery of G200, serial number 100, for our growing fleet of NetJets aircraft," said Bill Boisture, president of NetJets Aviation. "The G200 has proven to be an aircraft we can rely on time and time again. Also, for a super-mid-size plane, the roomy G200 cabin provides our customers an exceptional level of comfort." According to Gulfstream, considerable improvements and weight reductions have been applied to the G200 since its introduction. The company says the G200 has a dispatch reliability rate in excess of 99 percent, a range of 3,400 nautical miles and has shed some 450 pounds. The G200 cabin can accommodate up to 10 passengers while its cockpit can be equipped with a range of automation options including Safe Flight Instrument Corporation's Enhanced Autopower® Automatic Throttle System (ATS) as a retrofit on in-service G200s and as optional equipment on new G200s. The G200 aircraft is built by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), then painted and outfitted by Gulfstream. The G200 fleet of aircraft has flown a total of 80,388 flight hours and completed 49,755 takeoffs and landings through Sept 30, 2004.

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RAAS Service Bulletins Available For Citations…

Cessna announced it has released final Service Bulletins for the new Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS), an upgrade to installed Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) equipment. Upgrading to RAAS involves installing a PCMCIA card that activates additional features in the existing Mark V and VII EGPWS computer 219-219 software. Cessna’s Citation Service Center network will perform the RAAS installation and associated certification for all Citation Bravos (model 550), Citation Encores (model 560), Citation Excels (model 560XL), and Citation Xs (model 750). According to Cessna, the RAAS upgrade provides operators improved situational awareness and helps lower the probability of runway incursions. In Cessna’s implementation, RAAS alerts provide timely aural advisories to the flight crew during taxi, takeoff, final approach, landing and rollout. Using GPS data, RAAS issues advisories based on aircraft position when compared to airport locations stored in the EGPWS runway database. For more information, contact any Cessna Citation Service Center’s RAAS representative via e-mail at .

…While Machinists Try To Organize Cessna’s Independence Plant

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) last week filed a petition calling for an election to organize workers at the Cessna Aircraft Company's Independence, Kan., plant. According to The Wichita Eagle, the petition was filed with the National Labor Relations Board. According to the union, signatures allowing the election were collected from a majority of the employees who would be represented. The IAMAW already represents workers at the company’s Wichita plant and last year agreed on a new three-year contract after employees came close to striking the manufacturer. Cessna’s Independence, Kan., plant is less than 10 years old. Ground was broken for the facility – which produces the company’s line of single-engine piston-powered airplanes – on July 3, 1996. Cessna’s current plans for the facility include building the Citation Mustang there, beginning later in 2005.

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Bombardier Grabs Chinese Type Certificate

Bombardier last week announced receipt of a type certificate for its Learjet 45 bizjet from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). China’s approval will allow operators to register the type in China; it includes not only the model 45 but 40-series jet family like the models 40, 40XR and 45XR. Global Wings, based in Tokyo, Japan, will be the first operator to benefit from the CAAC’s approval. The company plans to base two Learjet 45 XRs in Beijing and begin executive charter operations in that country. “Demand for business jet travel throughout Asia continues to grow and this is a key development in China, almost historic in its significance to our customers and to their charter passengers,” stated David Dixon, regional vice president of sales, Asia-Pacific, Bombardier Business Aircraft. Certificated to FAR Part 25, Amendment 77, the Bombardier Learjet 45 is now approved in more than 38 countries. Its performance includes a range of approximately 2000 nm with eight passengers and two crew. It can cruise at up to Mach 0.81.

Dassault Snags Bendix Trophy For EASy Flight Deck

On the system’s first anniversary, Dassault Falcon’s EASy Flight Deck technology was named recipient of one of the industry’s most prestigious awards, the Honeywell Bendix Trophy for Aviation Safety. The Flight Safety Foundation presented the award to Dassault Aviation at the International Air Safety Seminar for the EASy flight deck. Dassault began developing the EASy flight deck in the mid-‘90s after identifying a need for enhanced situational awareness in the cockpit. The first EASy-equipped Falcon 900EX was delivered in December of 2003. EASy is certificated on the Falcon 2000EX, 900EX, 900DX and 7X. "The EASy cockpit is far more than just a cockpit update. It is a revolutionary presentation of critical flight data designed to reduce the likelihood of 'misunderstandings' between pilots and avionics," said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. "The momentum of the 2000EX EASy has been very gratifying to us. With the exception of the 7x, which is in another category, we expect the 2000EX EASy to be our best selling aircraft for the next 3-4 years," said Rosanvallon.

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CAMP Systems To Be Acquired

A firm named Boston Ventures announced this week that CAMP Systems International LLC has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Warburg Pincus. The transaction, the terms of which were not disclosed, is subject to government approvals and is expected to close in early February 2005. CAMP, which was founded in 1967, is the leader in maintenance-tracking software for corporate aircraft. According to a press release, owners and operators of more than 3800 aircraft worldwide use CAMP’s software. CAMP is the recommended factory-authorized maintenance-tracking service provider for all Bombardier and Dassault business aircraft. In addition, CAMP provides services for more than 130 makes and models of business aircraft. Through its AMSTAT subsidiary, CAMP also provides market information to aircraft brokers.

“Yeah, We Knew That” Department

A couple of errors crept into our 2004 business aviation news wrap-up, which was published Dec. 29. The most egregious of them involved mis-identifying the type of Gulfstream involved in a Nov. 22 crash in Houston. We dubbed it a G-II; it was really a G-III. Similarly, the Nov. 28 crash of a Challenger 604 occurred on takeoff from Montrose, Colo., not Telluride. Finally, the co-pilot of the crashed Challenger was not fatally injured, as we reported. AVweb sincerely regrets the errors, which resulted from using earlier reports of these two crashes and not later, more accurate information.

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