Industry News

Making Sure Your Business Aircraft Can Allow You To Conduct Business

I have been looking around recently at the business that must be conducted on aircraft and how we as a business world are staying connected.  Part of the business of owning a private aircraft is the ability to conduct business while on that aircraft.   I have also been looking at some of the solutions for staying connected on flights and was particularly interested in how we stay connected via the Internet.  There are many enterprise software systems and applications that allow us to conduct business virtually and can eliminate some of the travel that has been necessary in the past.  There are times however when travel is a must and on a corporate jet flight business can be conducted during travel.  Staying Internet connected during the flight allows the business traveler to get to the business of business.

Aircell is such a company that is providing a solution for the business traveler to stay connected while on a corporate or business jet.  Aircell tells us how they can keep us connected:

With the arrival of Aircell High Speed Internet, business aircraft passengers on U.S. flights can now use their laptops or PDAs to enjoy a true high-speed Internet experience – from full-on web surfing, to real time e-mail with attachments, streaming video, transferring large files, and accessing corporate VPNs.  Simply stated, Aircell High Speed Internet represents the absolute best combination of speed, size and cost available today for any business aircraft.

Imagine you are having to take a quick flight across the country without having he opportunity to prepare for that sales meeting or get prepared for that presentation that could spell disaster or make you a huge success in your company.  You did not have the proper time to prepare but could prepare on the trip to the location of the presentation.  With the ability to have High Speed Internet in flight, that time spent could be invaluable.  Not only were you able to drop everything and have the flexibility of having your own private jet take you to your destination but now you have the ability to prepare in flight.  Technology is gaining ground in this area as well with the invent of Apple’s iPad, making it even easier to conduct business on the fly.

This is an idea that is not lost on those in the industry as XOJet is installing the Aircell solution on its entire fleet by the end of July as was announced June 10, 2010:

Business aviation leader XOJET, Inc. announces that its fleet of Bombardier Challenger 300 and Cessna Citation X jets will feature high speed Internet. In partnership with Aircell, the world’s leading provider of airborne communications, XOJET is currently installing Aircell High Speed Internet on all aircraft in the fleet. With more than 70% of the fleet installed by the end of June and the entire fleet scheduled for completion in July, XOJET will become the first business aviation operator to offer wireless service on every flight in the Continental United States.

I am looking forward to seeing how technology changes how we stay connected in the sky.  If you are purchasing a private aircraft or a business jet, make sure you can conduct business while enjoying the new purchase.

[photo via aircell]

Private Jet Security and Terrorism

Earlier this year the Transportation Security Administration was discussing the idea of creating tighter security with the use of private or business aircraft.  The threat of terrorism seems to be more of a commercial issue than it is a private jet or corporate jet issue.  With the crack down in security on the commercial level many people were concerned that terrorism may be looking to the use of private aircraft or the business jet industry.  So far this has not been an area of concern and the TSA has not implemented any changes.

With more than 300 small airports to make sweeping changes to in the area of security it would be a fairly costly maneuver.  At this juncture the TSA has not implemented the changes and has not discuss any further ideas towards that idea.  The current security falls into the hands of the individual operators of the aircraft, the crew and the passengers. The likelihood of a terrorist action using private aircraft remains a possibility but as yet this has not been an area where the TSA has made any changes.  At this time the aviation community is doing a good job of reducing the risk of terrorism and private jets or business aircraft.

The most recent event of terrorism involved a small plane in Austin, Texas.  The Washington Post covered that event and reported:

Pilots of private planes fly about 200,000 small and medium-size aircraft in the United States, using 19,000 airports, most of them small. The planes’ owners say the aircraft have little in common with airliners.

“I don’t see a gaping security hole here,” said Tom Walsh, an aviation security consultant. “In terms of aviation security, there are much bigger fish to fry than worrying [about] small aircraft.”

It is not discussed about the issue of private aircraft or the size of a large business jet, but in that case it seems that they have tighter restrictions on the passengers and the use than a commercial airliner.  We will keep you up to date on any changes in the private aircraft security.

Can The Crew of Your Aircraft Save Your Life?

I was reading recently from Forbes.com an article written in Wheels Up by Susan Friedenberg called “Is The Person In The Back of Your Private Aircraft Trained To Save Your Life?”. I am not sure there is ever a time when you would want to respond to that question in the negative.  It was interesting to note that not all aircraft attendants are “certified”.  Friedenberg states:

Non trained or unprofessionally trained  people acting as a corporate flight attendant and being listed as a passenger on the aircraft manifest or listed as a “cabin server” is beyond dangerous. It is unacceptable and a liability for an industry that is responsible for keeping people, including corporate executives, safe.

As not only a corporate executive myself but also a husband, father, son and friend I can assure you I would like to be as safe as possible on any flight I take be it on a private jet, business jet, commercial airliner or a bus ride across town.  The article is worth reading, and if you are a private jet or corporate jet owner, it might be a good time to go over your current operation and audit your crew as to their qualifications.  The writer provides her own thought here:

I think it is time for corporate aviation passengers to start asking who the people are in the back of their aircraft whether it is a Part 91 or a Part 135 operation, and if they are corporate aircraft specific trained.

When it is time to save a life, it might just be yours they are saving.  This might not be a place to go with the easy way out.

U.S. Open Causing Some Private Jet Traffic Concerns at Monterey

I love playing golf and watching golf is almost as fun.  This weekend is the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.  The airport that is going to be servicing the U.S. Open for many of the private jets used by companies, sponsors and players is the Monterey Peninsula Airport.  The FAA has issued a statement concerning the traffic concerns that will be a result of the event.

James Babcock, the air traffic manager at Monterey Airport states:

“Starting the afternoon of June 13, 2010 and continuing through the morning of June 21, 2010, we anticipate that the amount of traffic arriving and departing Monterey will likely double.”

They are also like to see the airport fill up with a number of aircraft and they are finding ways to park the number of private jets and corporate jets that they will have at Monterey.  They are asking that other airports be used during the event. Arrival and departure slots will not be required, but the NBAA recommends that operators contact their FBO’s in advance if operating in or out of MRY during this event.

It would be interesting top see all the different aircraft that is being used by corporations or private individuals that are coming in and out of the airport for the U.S Open.  I for one would love to be there to see the event in California.

What is the fastest corporate jet? Comparing Citation X and Gulfstream

I have seen this asked many times in forums and in other circles.  Many jet owners need not worry too much about the speed unless of course you are in a hurry.  Overall, the speed of an aircraft might be one of the criteria for picking what works for your needs, but you have to weigh all factors when purchasing your corporate or business jet.  I was reading recently over at the FlightGlobal blog about the new Gulfstream 650 and its recent announcement at the EBACE 2010 event of its latest test of reaching mach .925.  The announcement is a great benchmark and something that is a feather in the cap of the folks over at Gulfstream.  The info at Flightglobal stated:

On May 2, Gulfstream achieved mach .925, when certified will make the new business jet the world’s fastest civil aircraft. Gulfstream conducted its high speed testing at 42,500 feet and achieved buffet-free banking up to 45 degrees at high speed cruise. The program has accumulated 138hr over 48 flights since its November first flight. The third flight test aircraft is expected to make its first flight in the next week. The company expects to receive its Type Inspection Authorization from the FAA in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The interesting part of the post however, and the post itself was interesting, was not necessarily in the above statement, but more with the comments that occurred on the post itself by the people that read the announcement.  They were debating whether the Citation X and the Gulfstream were comparable.  This goes along with the idea of having a list of the needs you have when making a decision to buy a corporate jet.  Take a moment and read through the comments and see if you agree or disagree with the ideas there.  If you had to choose an aircraft what would be your criteria?

Teterboro Shows Silver Lining To Business Aviation

I was reading recently in NorthJersey.com about the Teterboro Trade Show held by the National Business Aviation Association and the optimism that was garnered from that gathering last week.  A good deal of the optimism that was garnered had to do with the fact that the turnout was a record breaking affair.  The event had more than 1,600 people which was larger than the previous event held in 2008 in White Plains, New York which had a total of 1300 attendees according to Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the NBAA.  Bolen went on to state as provided in the article:

The trade show’s record turnout suggests how eager charter operators, manufacturers and private aviation service providers are for a real recovery, said Ed Bolen, president and chief executive officer of the business aviation trade group. “We have been hit very, very hard, but things are looking better if you squint,” he said.

Apparently not everyone was in the same optimistic mood when it came to the news of the record breaking show.  The report goes on to quote vice president of Global Aircraft Interiors, Inc., who stated:

“I haven’t seen a rebound yet,” said Robert Roth, vice president of Global Aircraft Interiors Inc. of Ronkonkoma, N.Y. He said some aircraft owners are renovating rather than buying new but price competition is fierce, with six or seven companies often competing for the same job, he said.

It is all coming together for the rebound both in sales of new aircraft and used aircraft and apparently the strongest of the aircraft renovation companies are getting busy with their own proposals.  2010 is perhaps shaping up to be the year of the comeback in the business aviation industry.

Talon Air Inc. Adds New Hawker 4000 To Its Fleet

Talon Air is adding to its fleet of private jets by purchasing a new Hawker 4000 super midsized jet from Hawker Beechcraft Corporation.  The release of June 8, 2010 indicates:

Talon Air Inc., a global leader in private jet charter and aircraft management, announced today that it has purchased a new Hawker 4000 super-mid size business jet from Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. The addition of this brand new Hawker 4000 private jet aircraft is part of the company’s continued expansion to serve its charter clients. With six Hawker 4000s based at Talon Air’s new 100,000-square-foot private aircraft facility located at New York’s Republic Airport (FRG), Talon remains the fleet leader and has the largest fleet of Hawker 4000 business jets in the world. The new aircraft will help Talon meet the overwhelming customer demand for this aircraft and offer a depth of products that are the most requested in the industry.

The Hawker 4000 is more fully described as:

This private jet is the most advanced and luxurious super-midsize business jet in the world. With its unique composite fuselage the aircraft boasts a six-foot high stand-up cabin from front to back offering the largest cabin in its class. The Hawker 4000 serves as the indispensable business tool, getting charter clients where they need to be with convenience, luxury and peace of mind. Hawker Beechcraft has designed a quiet, comfortable environment ideally suited for working or relaxing.

Of note is the ability for the hawker 4000 to be available to otherwise unreachable airports in places where private jets may frequent but cannot accommodate larger aircraft:

With a 99% dispatch reliability, this private jet stands above the rest of the super mid size business jets such as the Gulfstream 200 and Challenger 300. Its performance has allowed Talon Air to operate from airports that typically can not accommodate aircraft of this size. The Hawker 4000 has opened airports with short runways to Talon’s clients such as Ocean Reef, Florida (4500 feet), Hilton Head, South Carolina (4300 feet) and East Hampton, New York (4255 feet).

The President and CEO of Talon Air, Inc. is very optimistic about this aircraft stating, “In almost every airplane, something has been sacrificed,” said Adam Katz President and CEO. “There’s no compromise in this airplane. It’s very fast, comfortable and efficient.”  Many companies are beginning to add to their fleets in this time of economic recovery in the market.  Now is the best time to buy based on the market.

2009 Not A Good Year For Cessna

I have been immersing myself into some of the economic statements being made by a number of the business and executive jet manufacturers for their forecasts of 2010 and what they have experienced over the last three years since the slide of the market for corporate jets.  Cessna seems to have been hit very hard and in 2009 they had a tough sales cycle.  Their CEO Jack Pelton reflected on the last few years and  Flight Global reported some of his statements to include:

“Last year was terribly rough for us,” says Cessna president Jack Pelton. “We delivered 275 aircraft compared with 340 the previous year, but our original projection for 2009 [before the downturn struck] was 525 aircraft.” Pelton blames the spending curb on the economic downturn and the destructive negative political and social rhetoric surrounding the use of business aircraft that surfaced in 2009.

“People simply stopped buying aircraft. We were forced to cut production rates across all our models to bring supply in line with demand, and cut 50% of the workforce,” he says.

The plummeting values of used aircraft – particularly in the light and mid-size sectors – also drove down sales. “The prices of pre-owned aircraft were terrible for us. People were asking ‘why buy new when I can get a two-year-old aircraft so much cheaper?”

He says that used inventories are shrinking and that prices are starting to stabilise. “Cessna will ride out 2010,” and will deliver around 225 Citations, Pelton says. “We hope to see recovery in 2011.”

Many of the Cessna peers are also looking ahead to 2011 as a turnaround year.  I think the forecast is not that the market will be worse in 2010 and 2011, but remain stable as 2012 sees a turn around in the market to see increased sales.  As we see the economy turn around so too will sales of corporate jets.  This is a sales cycle that will see better times

EBACE 2010 Shows More Upswing In Business Aviation

It has been a little more than a month now since the EBACE 2010 show occurred last month in Geneva, Switzerland.  It was the 10th anniversary of the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, and it was a sold out affair that spanned three days.  There were more than 11,000 attendees that showed up to see what was new in the world of business aviation.  According to some reports, the exhibitors at the event as well as the attendees themselves were very enthusiastic about where the industry is headed.

Among the attendees at the event were Brian Humphries and Ed Bolen both heads of the European Business Aviation Association and the National Business Aviation Association respectively.  They had this to say about the event:

“This was by any standard a very successful anniversary for EBACE and a tremendously successful Convention,” said Humphries. “On the heels of such a difficult period for the aviation  industry, this year’s EBACE had a particular excitement surrounding it, and I am encouraged at the possible signs of our industry turning around.”

Bolen agreed, saying “This 10th EBACE was certainly a strong one in all respects. The level of Exhibitor and Attendee participation in this show was a welcome boost to our industry, and demonstrates that business aviation remains highly valued around the world.”

Many of the presenters at the event were also optimistic about the industry although in a cautious sense.  The event had 436 exhibitors and 65 aircraft all being shown at the Geneva International Airport.  This is the 10th anniversary of the two groups playing host to the event.  Next year the event is scheduled to take place in Geneva on May 17-19 2011.

Business Aviation – The Other Side of The Coin

I had an opportunity to watch a  You Tube video of President Ed Bolen’s discussion of the case for business aviation.  This video was done last year on the Fox Business channel.  Many corporations came under fire last year when government bailouts helped those companies continue to do business.  The citizen auditors were out in full force calling for cutbacks and calling for “luxuries” such as corporate jets to be put aside and cut from the budgets of companies.  As is always the case there is another side to the coin that many do not see and I think that this video gives us an idea of what that other side of the coin may look like.

I am going through a business jet report on the forecast of business jet sales and and state of the business put forth by the Teal Group and will be discussing some of the details of that report but this is perhaps a good place to start with reference to how the current state of business aviation has reached we hope the bottom.  The No Plane No Gain program is a great source for business aviation industry information and is a good place to bookmark for those in the business of business aviation.