HondaJet Launches In Europe »

One of the biggest stars on the Formula 1 racing circuit drives a Honda, and he'll soon be flying one. Jenson Button was introduced at EBACE 2008 as the first European customer for the HondaJet. A large crowd formed at the Honda booth at the PalExpo convention center in Geneva to catch a glimpse of the popular F-1 driver, who bought two aircraft and is planning to build a new charter service. Honda also used the occasion to announce the establishment of three HondaJet sales and service centers, which, as their U.S. counterparts do, bear a strong resemblance to car dealerships. The service centers will be in Farnborough (a partnership with TAG), Frankfurt (Rheinland Air Service) and Madrid (Aviastec). More

Safety Issues Loom For BizAv »

Business aviation is by far the safest segment of general aviation but that doesn't mean it can't be better. And there's also a shift in personnel and operations on the horizon that might challenge that claim, though not necessarily. At a seminar at EBACE 2008 in Geneva on Wednesday, Don Spruston, Director General of the International Business Aviation Council, told delegates that gross navigation errors, particularly over the ocean, and runway incursions continue to be major issues for business aviation. "More than 50 percent of business aviation accidents are runway accidents," Spruston told a rather small crowd at the safety forum. He also said in a podcast interview that the industry is grappling with a pilot shortage that might have safety implications. More

Eclipse European Certification Question »

A major European aviation publication is speculating that Eclipse Aviation might have to build a separate line of its E500 very light jet to satisfy concerns of the European Aviation Safety Agency. Flight Global reported Wednesday in its EBACE publication that EASA has significant concerns. As AVwebBiz reported Wednesday, CEO Vern Raburn is saying he won't predict when the aircraft will be able to fly in most of Europe. "We are optimistic that we'll get European Aviation Safety Agency certification," he said. "I'm just not prepared to say when." More

Hawker Beechcraft Racks Up Orders »

A day after unveiling the mockup of its next-generation composite business jet, the Premier II, Hawker Beechcraft announced it has taken 40 firm orders and has 30 more in the wings. The aircraft is an update of the Premier 1A, which was the first (and still the only) all-composite business jet in certified service. It has more power, longer range and a bigger payload than the current model. "The customer response has been fantastic," said Brad Hatt, Hawker Beechcraft's president of commercial aircraft. First flight of the new model is expected next April and deliveries should happen in 2011. The company was also celebrating the sale of 10 of its top-of-the-line Hawker Beechcraft 4000 models, and options for five more, in a deal sealed on the ramp at EBACE 2008. More

BBJs As A Humanitarian Tool »

Boeing makes no bones about the luxury and style it offers on its large business jets but thanks to an innovative project developed in Sweden, they can be converted to lifesaving workhorses in a matter of hours. The company has certified a modular system of stretchers and self-contained intensive-care beds that can be used in the mass evacuation of casualties from disasters. "We can convert a standard airliner or business aircraft in less than six hours," said SAS Technical Services engineer Sven Reiner. A 737-800 can carry six of the intensive-care beds and the staff needed to monitor them, along with up to two dozen less seriously injured individuals. More

Embraer Names Its New Bizjets, Sets Prices »

Embraer unveiled a mockup of its new midsize business jet and announced it was naming that aircraft the Legacy 500, and its mid-light stablemate the Legacy 450, at EBACE 2008 on Tuesday. Until now, the paper jets were called the MLJ and MSJ. The 500 seats up to 10 and has a range of up to 3,000 nm. The 450 seats up to eight and goes about 2,300 nm on a tank. Introductory pricing was announced, with the 450 starting at $15.25 million and the 500 at $18.4 million. Both will be fly-by-wire and both will be powered by Honeywell HTF7500E engines. More

XOJet Gets $2.46 Billion In Funding »

Despite a credit crunch that some companies have blamed for their inability to find necessary capital, XOJet CEO Paul Touw says money is available for the right idea in the right package. The San Carlos, Calif.-based company launched just two years ago and has negotiated financing agreements with five organizations worth a total of $2.46 billion to fund a major expansion to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Touw told AVweb that despite the enormous wealth and growth of the area, there's a shortage of private jets. "It's an open playing field," he said. Like pioneers in most fields, XOJet has to bring what it needs to the UAE and that's why it needs so much money. "We have to build our own service center," Touw said. More

VistaJet Orders $1.2 Billion In Bombardier Jets, Buys Skyjet »

They liked it so much they bought the company. In the second-largest order ever placed with Bombardier, Swiss-based VistaJet is buying 35 high-end aircraft and also taking over Bombardier Skyjet International (formerly Flexjet), its charter operation with bases in Farnborough, Hong Kong and Dubai. VistaJet will buy 11 Challenger 605s, 13 Learjet 60 XRs and 11 Learjet 85s, and took options for 25 more aircraft. The deal triples VistaJet's fleet and makes it the second-largest non-U.S. bizjet company. "The bulk order and the purchase of Bombardier Skyjet International are in line with our plans to be the leader in this industry and accelerate our global expansion," said VistaJet Chairman Thomas Flohr. More

Russian Air Taxi Dexter Buys 20 Mustangs »

After two years of success with four Pilatus PC-12s, start-up Russian air taxi company Dexter predicts that it will be about 2011 before it needs to expand its horizons. So, CEO Eugene Andrachnikov timed his purchase of 20 Cessna Citation Mustangs to fit that growth prediction. "It will take the market about three or four years to mature," he told AVweb in a podcast interview at EBACE 2008 in Geneva. Andrachnikov claims Dexter is the only "real" air taxi company functioning in the world and that, in part, is due to the economic model. Dexter charges a flat rate of 130 rubles (about $5.50 USD) per kilometer for its PC-12s, regardless of occupancy (maximum of eight passengers) and it does not vary. "Russians don't like surprises," he quipped to a laughing media contingent at a Cessna news conference. More

Cirrus Surprise: Garmin EFIS Option »

Although EBACE isn't the usual venue for major light aircraft announcements, Cirrus rolled one out here in Geneva nonetheless in the form of a new model called the Cirrus Perspective, which sports some airframe upgrades but—the real stunner—a new, upgraded version of Garmin's popular G1000 EFIS system. We went to Duluth last week for an advance look at the Perspective. (Click through to watch the video.) More