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SELLS FLIGHT OPTIONS
Raytheon last Thursday reported the sale
of Flight Options along with its quarterly earnings. Miami-based H.I.G.
Capital, a private equity firm, currently holding several aviation
interests, is the buyer. The purchase price wasn't available last week
but analysts expect the deal should close by the end of the year. H.I.G.
managing director, Doug Berman, put the company's motives in perspective
telling the Miami Herald, "The private aviation industry is growing at
two to three times the rate of the overall economy." H.I.G. would
acquire through the purchase some 130 luxury aircraft and operations
based out of Cleveland. Flight Options provides fractional ownership
programs and a pre-paid card plan and is adding whole aircraft
management services. But its "strong underlying fundamentals" -- going
from 13 types flown to four, plus investments in customer service
programs, plus a push toward programs that would allow on-demand charter
service -- made the purchase especially attractive to H.I.G.
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ANNOUNCES LONG-LEGGED LEAR NXT
Bombardier Aerospace announced
on Tuesday that it will build a new mid-sized business jet that's as
fast as its stablemates, the 45 series and 60 series, but goes a lot
farther on a tank of gas. Dubbed the NXT, Bombardier is predicting the
eight-passenger aircraft with stand-up cabin will have a true
transcontinental range of 3,000 nm, almost 1,000 nm more than the
eight-seat 45XR and 500 nm more than the top-of-the-line 60XR. Just how
the new aircraft will offer that kind of range hasn't been released in
the initial announcements but Bombardier does describe
the aircraft as a clean-sheet design that it says will fit between
midsized and super midsized business jets. "The design is
customer-driven, based on what they have told us they need and want in a
new midsize category business jet," Pierre-Gabriel Cote, president of
Bombardier Business Aircraft said in a news release. More...
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mentioning this AVwebFlash
Honda, which plans to begin mass production of the
HondaJet in 2010 has announced it plans to start taking European orders
for its HondaJet in 2008, according to Nikkei. Current production
targets for the jet have jumped to 100 units per year and Honda has
applied for EASA certification. Over 100 orders for the jet have been
place in the U.S. since Honda began accepting orders in October of 2006.
The company expects its engine-over-wing design and GE/Honda engine to
allow for a better than 30 percent fuel efficiency increase over
competing aircraft. Honda expects its jet program to become profitable
sometime in its fourth year of production (circa 2014).
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JET ON THE RUSSIAN BIZJET BOOM
Prestige Jet, began operating
out of Abu Dhabi International airport in May 2007 and now expects that
a full quarter of its business will by 2008 come from the Russian
market. Corporate jet use in Russia is being fed by new wealth in the
region and unreliable transportation alternatives. Russian economic
growth is reflected in a GDP that has increased at roughly seven percent
per year since 2000 and marked by a 29 percent annual increase in income
over the same period, according to Prestige Jet. Pivotal to Prestige
Jet's success is Russian policy that makes it "prohibitively expensive
to register foreign-made planes with Russian airlines because of
exorbitant import duties," according to Faris Deeb, managing director of
Prestige Jet. "As a result more and more companies and individuals are
turning to charter companies such as ours." More...
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BUSINESS JET SEATS
Alfred Rapetti, former chairman of
Avantair has launched a new venture that seeks to mate airline
affordability with business jet seating and convenience. Tapping a
nationwide network of existing charter firms, Rapetti's Business Jet
Seats, Inc. saw its "soft launch" in July, acting in association with
Earthjet and allowing passengers to book by the seat, instead of by the
aircraft. Business Jet Seats owns and operates exactly zero aircraft. A
major factor in the business model is profiling the travel patterns of
target passengers and finding seat availability to match that demand.
For that, Rapetti has special software that acts as a market simulation
tool, allowing his business to understand demand in a geographic sense.
While the price of a flight through Business Jet Seats may be more on
par with last minute business class airfares, the "product" could save a
special slice of the market from the headache of modern airline travel
and roughly 50 percent of the cost (when compared to chartering an
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BBJ, NEW DELHI'S AIR FORCE 1
The Indian Air Force is slated
to begin testing in 2008 for its first $60 million Boeing Business Jet
after it is equipped with a system designed to protect the aircraft from
attack by ground or air based threats. The aircraft's intended duties
will include transport of India's "VVIPs" -- its prime minister and top
cabinet officials -- and otherwise serve as India's version of Air Force
1. The aircraft is expected to fulfill its role as part of a
modernization plan that would allow dignitaries increased overseas range
of 6,000 nautical miles, plus increased comfort, and an entourage of up
to 49 people. It is only the first of three such aircraft on order with
the IAF and is expected to enter service in April of 2008 after its
defense systems have been successfully tested. More...
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SHORES UP DASSAULT CONNECTION
CAE SimuFlite has won a
five-year contract with Dassault Falcon Jet as a "preferred provider"
for maintenance training for Dassault Falcon Jet employees. The contract
sets up CAE as the provider for maintenance training associated with
Dassault's Little Rock production facility, Dassault Aircraft Centers,
and Dassault Falcon Jet Customer Support, with on-site classroom
training in Little Rock, Delaware, Dallas, and Morristown, New Jersey.
CAE is currently the only maintenance training provider for Dassault's
fly-by-wire Falcon 7X. More...
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BUSINESS AVIATION OUTLOOK, RECAP
Aviation Outlook forecast released last month anticipated a record
1,000-plus new business jet deliveries for 2007 and better than 1,300
business jet deliveries next year. The company expects the total number
of new jet deliveries through 2017 to be near 14,000. New orders for
jets in the first half of this year have risen 100 percent over the same
period in 2006 with a relative explosion of demand in Europe. NetJets
alone has added 589 European customers since 2005. International orders
are expected to account for roughly half of new aircraft deliveries
through 2012. The demand abroad is driven by charters, the strength of
the Euro, and wealth expansion in Eastern Europe and Russia. According
to Honeywell, those factors have coupled well with one primary force in
the markets -- replacement of aging aircraft.
Looking ahead, the
future of very light jets is positive if a bit hazy. For Honeywell, the
"very light personal" moniker encompasses the likes of the Eclipse 500,
Adam 700, Diamond Jet, Cirrus' The-Jet, and more. Examples of a "very
light jet," in Honeywell's view, include the Cessna Mustang, HondaJet
and Embraer Phenom 100 and other jets costing more than $2.5 million.
Honeywell has conducted survey research and sees a total demand
potential of 6,000-7,000 very light personal jets over a ten year
period, plus 3,300 of the pricier very light jets. The company's view of
the air taxi business remains guarded, seeing that segment as one yet to
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