Aviation News by the Numbers

Here’s a quick look at some of the numbers that appeared in the aviation news this week. If you look close, you’ll see a story of a stabilizing U.S. private aviation market.

40%                        The increase in output Boeing and Airbus boast

$1,699                   Price for a ticket for “Aviation Geek Charter” trip

681                         Number of business jets delivered in 2011, down only 6.3% from 2010

35,000                   Employees at Boeing’s jet factory in Everett, Wash.

What’s your aviation story by the numbers? Model number, number of flights, number of seats, etc.

$90 million           Cost of Ukrainian president’s gold-plated private jet

$1.3 billion           Debt burden of Kingfisher, 2nd largest airline in India

4,000                     Number of solar panels on Chattanooga’s LEED-certified corporate flight center

3,400                     GE engine deliveries for this year; compare to 2,918 for 2011

Good Things Come From Private Aircraft

In 2011, owners and operators of private aircraft participated in many charitable activities and organizations. Find some inspiration for 2012 from these accounts of philanthropy.

In Chandler, Ariz., John and Diana Walkup of Chandler Air Service hosted their 20th Annual Toys for Tots Hangar Party. At the Dec. 9 party, more than 1,500 toys were collected to distribute among local families in need.

Chris Boes relies on Wings of Mercy for free flights to see his doctor. For the past two years, Boes has traveled by air from his home in Muskegon, Mich., to the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Boes and his family are grateful for the volunteer pilots who fly them to the cancer facility every two to four months so that Boes can receive his life-saving treatments as he battles an aggressive brain tumor.

In April 2011, Corporate Jet Insider featured an article about the long-term philanthropic activities of two organizations, Wings of Hope and Aerobridge. Both of these groups provide transportation so that medical and emergency professionals can respond to global emergencies like the devastating hurricane in Haiti in 2010.

The number of Americans with private pilot licenses has been dwindling for the last several years, and in 2010, the number dropped to 1966 levels. In order to inspire interest in flying, volunteer pilots like Butch Bejna fly children aged 8 to 17 for free. Bejna has flown more than 1,700 children over the past 15 years; 10 of them have become pilots.

Highlights of December’s Aviation Headlines

There are always news stories and new technologies in the aviation industry. Corporate Jet Insider scoured the headlines to bring you this rundown of some of the more important and interesting stories of the week.

FAA releases new pilot rules to combat fatigue

For the National Transportation Safety Board, new pilot safety rules have been a long time coming. They hadn’t been updated since the 1960s and didn’t conform to new science about the effects of crossing time zones on pilot fatigue. In addition to improving the health of pilots, the new rules aim to increase the level of safety for passengers.

Take a private jet around the world

Looking for a last-minute gift for that person who has everything? Consider a National Geographic expedition. The 23-day tour by private jet, a Boeing 757-200, provides glimpses of eight world heritage sites.

Get a seat on a private aircraft

If you want to see if private air travel is for you, this is a risk-free way to check it out. Starting in January, SocialFlights.com will start full operations. The Smyrna, Tenn.-based company matches travelers to vacant seats on chartered flights. Fly in style on private aircraft and avoid the hassles of commercial air travel.

There’s an app for that.

Even for fear of flying. If you have an iPhone and anxiety in the air, you will appreciate the “Flying Without Fear” app by Mental Workout, Inc.

World’s largest aircraft

Aerospace designer Burt Rutan is teaming up with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to design the world’s largest aircraft for Allen’s company, Stratolaunch Systems. According to the Wall Street Journal, the project will cost $200 million. The first flight of the 1.2 million-pound aircraft is anticipated within five years.

Private Jet MD

For those people who seem to spend more time in the air than on the ground, health concerns can become problematic. An annual membership provides emergency medical assistance anywhere in the world through a network of prescreened medical facilities.

Ease Business Travel During Holidays With Private Jet

The year-end holidays are often a busy and hectic time. Whereas many people have the luxury of taking vacation or simply cutting back on work hours at the end of the year, most executives must continue to see to the demands of running their businesses while trying to carve out precious hours for family and friends.

Add to this mix the pressures of commuting by air during one of the busiest times of the year, and you’ve got a recipe for a holiday season that feels anything but peaceful or festive.

Security! Bah!

For travelers within easy driving distance of a major airport, private air travel eliminates the most common headaches at large airports during the holidays. They no longer have to suffer through long security lines and cancelled, delayed or overbooked flights.

For those who face a lengthy commute by car or shuttle to or from a major hub, private air travel supplies the alternative option of flying from a nearby regional airport which can recover several hours per trip. And, in most cases, private plane passengers need only be at the terminal 15 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure.

Lifestyles of the relaxed and productive

Private business aviation is not about lavish private planes that cater to rock stars, professional athletes and other celebrities. Traveling by corporate jet is infinitely more practical, with simple luxuries like working without interruption from a fully equipped, portable office.

Securing a private jet also provides control and flexibility around the flight’s departure times. Do you need to book a last-minute flight during the holidays? Instead of being forced to choose among limited seats on commercial flights (and paying a steep last-minute fare), you can book a private flight that works around your schedule. Did your late-day meeting run longer than expected? No problem — your private aircraft doesn’t leave until you arrive at the terminal.

Best of all, by eliminating the wasted hours and stress that comes with traditional airline travel, private planes can deliver you safely on the ground with more energy to devote to the people you care about most. And isn’t that something we can all put on our wish list this holiday season?

Make the Most of Insider Connections

It’s not just your imagination: Sales of pre-owned aircraft have climbed and inventory has shrunk.

JetNet reports that pre-owned business aircraft sale transactions between January and July increased 11.2 percent compared with the same seven-month period in 2010, and turboprop sales increased 3.7 percent. Pre-owned inventories continued to decline gradually in July, to 13.7 percent for business jets and 10.1 percent for business turboprops versus the same month last year, representing 1.2 percent and 0.8 percent drops in inventories, respectively.

This trend means that if you’re in the market for a pre-owned jet, you’ll spend more time looking for the aircraft you want — and finding fewer options. That is, unless you work with a jet broker.

Less pain, more plane

Using a jet broker takes the pain out of buying an aircraft. You don’t have to waste valuable time searching through private jet sales listings, inspecting and haggling over the jet: You simply let an expert do it for you.

Companies such as L&L International will take down your requirements, work with you to refine them to meet your budget and business needs, and procure the perfect lease or finance plan for the acquisition of the aircraft. Your involvement consists of making the final selection and signing the bill of sale.

You may not know exactly which type of private jet is most suitable for your needs, but a jet broker can help you understand your options.

Dedicated service for sellers and buyers

If you already have a personal or corporate jet, you may find that you need to upgrade to a jet that carries more passengers, is capable of longer flights or is more luxurious than your current aircraft. If you have a jet for sale and also want to buy a new model, a jet broker is a valuable asset.

You are likely too busy to put in the dedicated hours required to secure both the best price for your own jet and for the jet you want to purchase. It’s your jet broker’s job to work tirelessly on your behalf to secure the best deal. Brokers have good relationships developed throughout the world of buying and selling jets. Thus, they are in the best position to research not only the best aircraft on the market, but also the best off-market deals.

In today’s market, a jet broker’s insider knowledge saves you time and effort — and presents opportunities you don’t want to fly by.

Cabin Comforts Deliver Great ROI

Whether the cabin of your current aircraft is looking shabby or you are purchasing a pre-owned aircraft, a practical move that adds value to your investment is an interior upgrade.

Now is an excellent time to upgrade your aircraft interior, with refurbishment shops and technology vendors aggressively competing for business. Such providers offer a range of services, work with a variety of materials, and have specialized expertise in working with aircraft interiors.

A worthwhile investment

Jet brokers agree that although makeovers may not generate a 100 percent return on investment, operators may conceivably expect a 60  to 80 percent return. Operators will have the pleasure of a new or improved interior and enjoy a better price when it’s time to sell.

Before you shop for estimates, it’s important to know the extent of the work you want done. Does the aircraft require only a touch-up or a full-cabin makeover? More or fewer seats? An office nook or in-flight entertainment upgrade?

A consultant can help you compare your wants and needs and clarify the extent of the work your aircraft requires.

Choose your provider wisely

The Internet makes it relatively easy to research a prospective consultant, but don’t rely only on the information you find on the company’s website. Be sure to call references. The consultant should ideally have at least 10 years’ experience to ensure they have been exposed to many different problems and situations linked to this sector of the industry.

An even better option is hiring an aviation completion management firm with staff members that have different levels of experience. Such a firm provides specialists such as a paint expert overseeing the painting of the aircraft or an experienced woodworker to build, finish and install cabinets.

Whether your upgrades include simple cosmetic improvements, an upgrade to technology or a full overhaul, choose your consultant as if you were hiring a full-time employee. Ask the same questions you would a potential staff member, and you won’t be disappointed.

Corporate Jets of the NBA

After talking about the NBA lockout and private jets I did some follow up research and found some interesting news related to the NBA and corporate jets.  I have actually met and talked with Mark Cuban in Las Vegas in 2007 and he had flown into Vegas on one of his own private jets to speak at an event and conference where I was speaking.  I didn’t get a chance to see his aircraft then but it was of note that he has not one but three private jets. Cuban of course is the owner of the world champion Dallas Mavericks.

Cuban’s Gulfstream G-550 was a $40Million purchase he actually made online.  The interesting fact there is that he purchased the Gulfstream online making it the largest online transaction ever made by anyone.  Cuban also is the owner of a Boeing 757 that is the team’s method of travel.  The 757 includes a weight room and over sized seats for the tall team members, as well as meeting and coaching areas that includes the ability to view video of games and other resources. Cuban obviously understands what it is like to have a private corporate jet.  He stated in an interview of his aircraft that it allows him the freedom and privacy he needs and has gone as far as to say he cannot live without his corporate jets.  Cuban also owns a Boeing 767 that he has for charter.

The other NBA player and part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats is the very well known Michael Jordan.  Jordan’s Gulfstream IV is listed as having an N-Number of N236MJ meaning his number of his jersey as 23 and the 6 representing the number of championships he won as a player in the NBA.  The other notable information in the picture that was put out by Yardbarker is that Michael Jordan has put his logo on the tail and the color of the plane is the Carolina Blue of UNC where Jordan attended college and played.  I also understand that when the plane is seen from underneath you can also see the number 23 and the Carolina Blue colors.  Jordan may not be able to compete with the big markets in the NBA but he is tops in our book with his Gulfstream IV.

Embraer Gets Certification For New Legacy 650

Catching up on more of the news that came out of the NBAA show last week we hear news that Embraer has news that the new Legacy 650 has now had its certification and is able to begin handling passengers.  The Legacy 650 is a large class jet with a a longer range than the current 600 model which is the previous type jet.  The new jet has a capacity to fly up to 3900 nautical miles carrying 4 passengers and can accomplish this feat as a result of improvements to the landing gear fuel tanks and the wing system.  The jet was launched last year during the down turn according to their representatives and the Legacy 650 is helping them during this downturn.

The Legacy 650 is helping Embraer as a result of the it being a new jet and not having any on the used market which has increased their sales in this area.  We are seeing many companies not launching new jets as it is not the best timing during this economic downturn.  Embraer representatives are arguing just the opposite.  It will be interesting to see how well the Legacy 650 does on the open market in this down economy.

Bombardier Looks Long Range

Bombardier is joining the announcements coming out of the National Business Aviation Association in Atlanta this week.  Bombardier is introducing two new jets that are geared for long range.  The Global 7000 and the Global 8000.  The Global 7000 is the larger of the jets and has a 7300 nautical mile range.  The Global 7000 is a four zoned cabin jet.  The Global 8000 is the smaller of the two as a three zone cabin jet and has a range of 7900 nautical miles.  “By extending this great family, we are once again offering a business jet travel experience that is unmatched and ahead of its time,” said Steve Ridolfi, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft.

The Global 7000 and the Global 8000 jets are not going to be a part of the fleets until 2016 and 2017 respectively.  They both are coming with the same price tag at $65 Million as their 2010 price. it might be a different picture in the future however and I have not heard any numbers on current sales.  It is nice to see some new lines coming out and as always it is fun to see the announcements each jet company has out there.  We will continue to keep track of the announcements and let you know of them.

Apple Executive Chooses Gulfstream As Corporate Jet

There is always a number of people buzzing in the technology community when Apple comes out with a new product or there is a new press conference about its latest news.  The Apple community is very loyal and they have a very sought after following in the mobile market.  I am an Apple user in their laptops and computers, but I have not yet adopted the iPhone.  It has to do with the service I use, but I still look forward to seeing what is the latest in the world of Apple.  On Friday, Steve Jobs the leader of Apple held a press conference on the latest iPhone4 and I was one of the ones that paid attention to what was being said.  The conference ended and they opened it up for questions and right out of the box, the first question asked Jobs how he was feeling and about his health. He responded by saying he felt better last week while he was on vacation in Hawaii and not working.  This made me think about the way he travels.

Steve Jobs has been known for his salary of $1 per year, but he also has a number of things that are required under his compensation agreement.  Part of that is his corporate travel.  Steve Jobs chooses to travel on a corporate jet owned by the Apple company and I assume his latest trip to Hawaii was no different.  What business jet does Steve Jobs use?  He travels around in a well publicized Gulfstream V.  The Gulfstream which is pictured here is top of its class and a great way for the Apple executive to get around on his many travels.

Jobs no doubt has many reasons to travel on the Gulfstream and security is probably a main component of that idea.  With the secrecy of what goes on in Apple and the number of corporations looking to beg, borrow or steal from the innovations and for journalists looking to get the scoop on what is going on at Apple, I can bet that security is a big decision why Gulfstream is sailing through the skies with this top executive.  You too can own a Gulfstream V for your corporation.

[Photo via John R. Beckman at Airliners.net]