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Friday, September 06, 2013

AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert

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Emirates reject Delta’s apology regarding Anderson’s 9/11 comments

February 20, 2015 · 543 Views

The bitter dispute between US- and Gulf-based airlines has reached a new level after Emirates flatly rejected an open apology made concerning what was seen as incredibly tactless and insensitive remarks made by Delta’s Chief Executive, Richard Anderson. The unfortunate incident relates back to comments made by a group of American airlines that a number of the larger Gulf carriers had benefited from state subsidies amounting to a figure in excess of US$40bn. As a consequence the American airlines either wanted to renegotiate or scrap the current Open Skies agreement.
Offended by such claims, the Gulf carriers retaliated by questioning whether or not US airlines had received government subsidies totaling US$5bn in the wake of 9/11. Unfortunately Delta’s Anderson, responding to this claim on CNN, said: “It’s a great irony to have the United Arab Emirates from the Arabian Peninsula talk about that, given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9/11, which came from terrorists from the Arabian Peninsula.” While the UAE and Qatar, two of the States’ allies who have offered either military or logistical support for international operations were particularly upset by these comments, Delta simply made it clear that Anderson had been responding to claims regarding post 9/11 subsidies. “He didn’t mean to suggest the Gulf carriers or their governments are linked to the 9/11 terrorists. We apologize if anyone was offended.”
Unfortunately the largest of the three main Gulf carriers did not see this as acceptable. “We believe that the statements made this week by Mr. Anderson were deliberately crafted and delivered for specific effect,” it confirmed in a statement. However US airlines continue to complain that they have lost significant numbers of bookings since 2008 as a result of Gulf competition and cited documents they indicate demonstrate aid which has allowed their competitors to offer cheap fares. In retaliation, Gulf officials say that most US carriers do not fly the same routes and are losing business only because they offer an inferior service.
This is not a dissimilar situation to the one between Gulf airlines and European carriers, including Lufthansa, and coincidentally has come at the same time as US airlines are trying to have US Exlm Bank closed down. They believe Gulf carriers are benefitting to a greater degree from the export credit agency. The tit-for-tat dialog continues with Western airlines showing concern for the safety of thousands of service industry jobs, a complaint to which Gulf carriers have responded by making it very clear they support at least as many jobs in the aerospace sector with their huge orders for aircraft.


Snecma and HAL to create joint venture and build a new production facility in India

February 20, 2015 · 641 Views

Snecma (Safran), a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines, and Hindustan Aeronautics  (HAL), a leading aerospace manufacturer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on January 28th, 2015 in Bangalore to explore establishing a joint venture in India for the production of aero-engine parts.  The proposed joint venture will initially focus on the manufacture of high-tech parts for the Dassault Rafale’s Snecma M88 engine, then subsequently contribute to other major aerospace projects of HAL & Snecma, in India and worldwide. Spanning over 30,000 m², the proposed joint venture’s new plant is expected to benefit from substantial investment by the two partners, providing it with state-of-the-art machinery and equipment. This agreement marks a major step forward in the long-standing collaboration between Snecma and HAL. The proposed joint venture will further broaden the scope of the excellent relations established over the past 60 years between Safran affiliates and the Indian aerospace industry. For example, Snecma manufactures the M53 engines powering the Mirage 2000H “Vajra” fighters operated by the Indian Air Force.


Design flaws led to 787 battery fire

December 2, 2014 · 195 Views

On the 7th January 2013 a fire was reported on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner while parked at Boston’s airport in the USA. The fire was put down to a problem with one of the plane’s lithium-ion batteries. A week later an All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner had to make an emergency landing after smoke was discovered inside the plane which was subsequently traced back to another lithium-ion battery. As a consequence of this incident, all 787 Dreamliners were grounded until April of that year until further acceptable testing and improvements were carried out to the battery system on board the plane. The battery itself was manufactured by GS Yuasa and comprised eight individual cells making up a combined weight of 63lbs.
Nearly two years later and the results of the investigation into the first incident have concluded that the lithium-ion battery installed in the plane should not have received certification by the FAA. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) were also critical of Boeing who they believed had erroneously ruled out the chances of thermal runaway in its assessment of the battery’s safety. Boeing’s battery tests to obtain original certification included crushing battery cells, driving nails through them and deliberately introducing short circuits to cause failure. Boeing found “nothing adverse happened” while these tests were carried out, and so deemed the battery’s box and internal protection to be of an acceptable standard. Boeing stated that it had followed the certification process set out by the FAA. It would seem that while the cause of the fire has been clearly identified, responsibility for its occurrence has not been accepted in full by anyone.


Rolls-Royce forced to axe 2,600 jobs after second profit warning this year

November 5, 2014 · 162 Views

Back in February this year, Rolls-Royce, the FTSE-100 engine maker, lost over £3bn of its value after shocking the market with its first profits warning in a decade. To announce a second one this October has created considerable concern and Rolls-Royce has decided that over the next 18 months they need to reduce costs by up to £80m a year by axing 2,600 jobs, the majority of which will be in the aerospace sector in Britain and the United States. The focus is on Rolls-Royce’s key Trent engines as they move from the development to the production phase, which consequently requires fewer engineers.
Back in February John Rishton, Rolls-Royce group’s Chief Executive, had admitted that the future was “bumpier than I had expected”, while blaming the current problems on deteriorating economic conditions and a tit-for-tat trade war between the EU and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis which had affected its nuclear and energy business as well as its power-systems unit. This week Rishton has had to admit that “We are taking determined management action and accelerating our progress on cost. The measures announced today will not be the last; however they will contribute towards Rolls-Royce becoming a stronger and more profitable company.”
Another consequence of the situation is the unexpected departure of Finance Director, Mark Morris, leaving the company after 27 year without any explanation. He will be replaced by David Smith, who is being promoted from Finance Director of the Rolls-Royce Aerospace division. This second profit warning saw share value fall 11% to 832p, wiping a further £2bn off the company’s value. However, news of the redundancies was well received by investors and the share price rallied by 2%, currently standing at 832p. This is clear confirmation of comments made by Espirito Santo’s analyst, Ed Stacey, who indicated that investors would be expecting a clear message from the new Finance Director and tight control on all finances.


Air France-KLM selects GEnx engines for Boeing 787 fleet

March 25, 2014 · 111 Views

Air France-KLM selected the GEnx-1B engine to power its 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 12 leased 787 aircraft. The total engine order is valued at more than $1.7bn. Air France-KLM and GE Aviation have also signed an agreement that will allow Air France-KLM to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the GEnx-1B engine. Under this agreement, Air France-KLM will be licensed to perform maintenance and overhaul work on the GEnx-1B engine and GE will provide technical support and assistance on overhaul workscoping and component repair licenses, comprehensive material support and training.


ILFC closes $1.5bn senior secured term loan

March 7, 2014 · 78 Views

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has closed a new senior secured term loan of $1.5 billion. The loan will bear interest at LIBOR plus 275 basis points with a 0.75% LIBOR floor, is priced at 99.5% of par value, and will mature in 2021. The collateral used to support the transaction has an initial weighted average age of 9.1 years. It will be secured primarily by a first priority-perfected lien on the equity of certain of ILFC’s subsidiaries, which directly or indirectly own a pool of aircraft and related leases. ILFC plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including purchasing aircraft and supporting the company’s liquidity cushion.


Airbus Commercial reports another year of financial improvement

February 26, 2014 · 78 Views

In 2013, Airbus achieved a new industry record of 1,619 gross commercial orders (FY 2012: 914 gross orders) with net orders of 1,503 aircraft (FY 2012: 833 net orders), excluding ATR. Gross orders comprised 1,253 A320 Family aircraft, 77 A330s, 239 A350 XWBs and 50 A380s. Fourth-quarter orders included Emirates Airline’s agreement for 50 A380s and Etihad Airways’ order for 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neos and one A330-200F. Airbus Military (now part of Airbus Defence and Space) received 17 net orders (FY 2012: 32 net orders). Airbus’ net order intake increased sharply to €202.3bn (FY 2012: €88.9bn). At the end of 2013, Airbus’ consolidated order book was valued at €647.4bn (year-end 2012: €525.5bn). The Airbus Commercial backlog was worth €627.1bn (year-end 2012: €505.3bn), comprising 5,559 Airbus aircraft (year-end 2012: 4,682 units) and representing over eight years of production. Airbus Military’s order book was worth €20.8bn (year-end 2012: €21.1bn). Airbus series aircraft deliveries increased to 626 aircraft (FY 2012: 588 aircraft, including three A330s without revenue recognition). Airbus Military delivered 31 aircraft (FY 2012: 29 aircraft). Airbus’ consolidated revenues increased seven percent to €42,012m (FY 2012: €39,273m), reflecting higher commercial and military aircraft deliveries. The Division’s consolidated EBIT rose to €1,710m (FY 2012: €1,252m). Airbus Commercial’s revenues rose to €39,889m (FY 2012: €37,624m). The Airbus Commercial reported EBIT was €1,595m (FY 2012: €1,147m) with the EBIT before one-off at €2,216m (FY 2012: €1,669m). Airbus Commercial’s EBIT before one-off benefitted from the improved operational performance, including favourable volume, some better pricing and an improvement in A380 losses. It also included higher A350 XWB programme support costs. Revenues at Airbus Military rose to €2,893m (FY 2012: €2,131m), driven by the A400M ramp-up and higher volumes from both light and medium transport planes and tankers. The EBIT at Airbus Military was €166m (FY 2012: €93m).


Boeing Commercial Airplanes reports full year revenue of $53bn

January 29, 2014 · 74 Views

Boeing Commercial Airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increased to $14.7bn and full-year revenue increased to a record $53bn on higher delivery volume. Fourth-quarter operating margin improved to 10.3% and full-year operating margin grew to 10.9% on the higher volume, favorable delivery mix and continued strong operating performance. During the quarter, the company launched the 777X with 259 orders and commitments. During the year, the 787 program completed first flight of the 787-9, successfully launched the 787-10 and began operating at a 10 per month production rate in final assembly. The 737 program delivered at a record production rate of 38 per month and has won nearly 1,800 firm orders for the 737 MAX since launch. In 2013, a record 648 commercial aircraft were delivered. In January 2014, the company reached an eight-year contract extension through 2024 with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751 (IAM). Commercial Airplanes booked 465 net orders during the quarter and 1,355 during the year. Backlog remains strong with 5,080 airplanes valued at a record $374 billion.


A350 XWB in Bolivia for high altitude testing

January 9, 2014 · 65 Views

The A350 XWB development aircraft, MSN3, is in Bolivia where it will perform a series of tests at the high altitude airfields of Cochabamba and La Paz. Cochabamba is around 8,300 feet above sea level, and La Paz is one of the world’s highest airports at 13,300 feet. Operations at such high altitude airfields are particularly demanding on aircraft engines, Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and systems. The aim of these trials is to demonstrate and validate the full functionality of engines, systems, materials as well as to assess the overall aircraft behaviour under these extreme conditions. A number of take-offs with all engines operating and with simulated engine failures are being performed at each of the airfields to collect data on engine operating characteristics and validate the aircraft take-off performance. The autopilot behaviour will also be evaluated during automatic landings and go-arounds. Since the A350 XWB’s first flight with MSN1 on June 14th 2013, over 800 flight test hours have been performed in close to 200 test flights by both MSN1 and MSN3. In total the A350 XWB flight test campaign will accumulate around 2,500 flight hours with the fleet of five aircraft. The rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities, prior to entry into service in Q4 2014.


Firefly welcomes first ATR 72-600

July 5, 2013 · 64 Views

Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary carrier has taken ownership of its first brand-new ATR 72-600. The aircraft is the first of 20 latest generation firm ATRs, plus 16 options, ordered by Malaysia Airlines in December 2012. Firefly currently operates 12 ATR 72-500s, and with the arrival of the new ATR 72-600s will almost triple its exclusively ATR 72 aircraft fleet, taking the total to over 30 aircraft.


GE’s Passport engine begins first full engine test

June 26, 2013 · 40 Views

Certification testing is underway on the first Passport development engine at GE Aviation’s Peebles Testing Operation in Ohio. The engine began ground testing on June 24th and ran for more than three hours, reaching more than 18,000 lbs. of standard day sea-level takeoff thrust. Eight Passport engines and one core will be involved in the engine certification program. Flight testing on GE’s flying testbed is scheduled for 2014. Engine certification is expected in 2015. The Passport engine certification program follows three years of validation testing. GE Aviation has conducted validation tests on the fan blisk design, including two fan blade-out rig tests, ingestion tests and a fan aero rig test to demonstrate fan efficiency. Testing is complete on the third eCore demonstrator, and GE has accumulated more than 300 hours of testing on eCore demonstrators to date.


Rolls-Royce wins order from CIT to power 23 aircraft

May 22, 2013 · 53 Views

Rolls-Royce has won an order from US leasing company CIT Aerospace for Trent XWB engines, to power ten Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and Trent 700 engines to power 13 Airbus A330 aircraft. The Trent XWB engines will power ten CIT A350 aircraft that were announced in January 2013 which were in addition to five A350 XWB aircraft already on order. The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the Airbus A350, is the fastest selling Trent engine ever, with more than 1,200 already sold. The engine variant that will power the A350-800 and -900 was awarded European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification in February. The engine will power the first flight of the Airbus A350 XWB this year and the aircraft’s first in-service flight in 2014.


CIRCOR Aerospace promotes Daniel Godin North America VP of Operations

September 4, 2013 · 29 Views

CIRCOR Aerospace Products promoted Daniel Godin to Vice President of Operations, North America. Since 2008, Godin held the post of General Manager for the New York and Ohio facilities where he was responsible for business and financial profitability, operations, supply chain and team management, as well as driving strategic growth initiatives.


Air Seychelles registers solid performance for second quarter and first half of 2013

September 4, 2013 · 18 Views

Air Seychelles reported a strong second quarter and half-year financial performance, reflecting continued solid growth and success in its turnaround strategy. In Q2, the national carrier of the Republic of Seychelles posted total revenues of US$26.03m (up from $10.87m in 2012), a significant increase of 139%. Total revenues for the first half of 2013 reached US$42.05m (2012: $18.76m), up by 124%. Q2 passenger revenues came in at US$17.5m (up from $7.1m in 2012), a significant increase of 146%. Passenger revenues for the first half of 2013 reached US$27.97m (2012: $14.0m), up by 99%.


Delta Air Lines selects GE’s CF6-80E and CFM56-5B engines to power 40 new Airbus aircraft

September 4, 2013 · 9 Views

Delta Air Lines has selected GE’s newly enhanced CF6-80E1 engines to power its recently ordered 10 Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Along with the engine selection, Delta Air Lines and GE have also signed a long-term OnPoint solution services agreement for the CF6-80E1 engines. The engine and OnPoint solution agreement are valued at up to $1.4bn over the life of the agreement.

Furthermore Delta has selected CFM International’s CFM56-5B engines to power 30 firm A321ceo (current engine option) aircraft. The agreement is valued at more than $850m at list price, including spare engines and a suite of material support agreements for the new fleet. The materials agreements provide for the comprehensive repair and replacement of life-limited and non-life limited parts for the CFM56-5B engines. The agreements also provide Delta with technical data for component repairs and engine overhaul to assist their operations.


UTC names Paul Adams new Pratt & Whitney President

September 4, 2013 · 49 Views

United Technologies released that Paul R. Adams, currently chief operating officer of Pratt & Whitney, will succeed David P. Hess as president of Pratt & Whitney on Jan. 1, 2014, when Hess retires. Adams will report to UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems President & Chief Executive Officer Alain M. Bellemare.


Pratt & Whitney signs exclusive maintenance agreement with Transaero Airlines

September 4, 2013 · 15 Views

Pratt & Whitney has signed an exclusive eight-year maintenance services agreement with Transaero Airlines to provide engine overhaul services on the airline’s fleet of PW4000-112″ engines. The agreement is expected to be worth approximately $55m over its life. Under the terms of the agreement, Pratt & Whitney will provide engine overhaul services for 11 Transaero PW4000-112″ engines, which will help the airline reduce engine overhaul costs and turnaround time thanks to the Pratt & Whitney network’s extensive capabilities and value-focused, customer-tailored solutions. Engine overhauls will be performed at Eagle Services Asia, Pratt & Whitney’s Singapore-based engine overhaul facility, which is the company’s center of excellence for PW4000 engine overhaul.


Erickson Air-Crane closes acquisition of Air Amazonia

September 4, 2013 · 11 Views

Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of Air Amazonia Serviços Aeronauticos Ltda. (“Air Amazonia”) and certain related assets from HRT Participações em Petróleo S.A. (“HRT”). The final terms of the acquisition, which provides Erickson with a five-year aerial services agreement (including annual renewals) with minimum revenue of $29m per year and significant operating infrastructure in Brazil, including six new aircraft, two ground facilities, 59 new employees, and repair station certification, were unchanged from those described in the July 22, 2013 announcement of the definitive agreement. In addition, Erickson will have a right of first refusal to purchase any or all of HRT’s remaining eight aircraft over the next twelve months as well as the right of first refusal on all helicopter services in Brazil from HRT.


Delta reports operating performance for August 2013

September 4, 2013 · 8 Views

Delta Air Lines reported operating performance for August 2013. System traffic increased 2.7% compared to the same period in 2012, while capacity increased 3.3%. System load factor for the month was slightly down by 0.5 points to 87.3%.


JetBlue, Aviation Technical Services sign agreement to install Wi-Fi Connectivity on 130 Airbus aircraft

September 4, 2013 · 13 Views

JetBlue Airways has signed a contract with Aviation Technical Services (ATS) for the Washington state-based company to install super-fast next-generation Ka-band satellite Wi-Fi technology on JetBlue’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft. The agreement covers up to 130 A320 aircraft at ATS’s maintenance facility in Everett, Wash. Additional Ka-band installations will be accomplished at JetBlue’s LiveTV subsidiary in Orlando. The technology was designed by LiveTV, which will be conducting training and technical support to ATS to ensure a quality installation. All Airbus A320 installations are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.


Boeing delivers first 767 Freighter to FedEx Express

September 4, 2013 · 23 Views

Boeing and FedEx Express, an operating company of FedEx Corp. (FDX), celebrated the delivery of the Memphis, Tenn.-based express shipping company’s first 767-300 Freighter. The delivery supports the FedEx strategy to modernize its fleet with more efficient freighters.


Tailwind Capital remarkets seven aircraft on behalf of Goldman Sachs

September 5, 2013 · 49614 Views

Tailwind Capital has successfully sold seven aircraft to an undisclosed buyer as part of its exclusive remarketing mandate for Goldman Sachs (New York). The transaction included five Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets and two Boeing 737-400s, which are currently operated by US operators Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Alaska Airlines, respectively. These aircraft were originally acquired by Goldman Sachs as part of a larger portfolio purchase.


FL Technics launches CF34-3 maintenance services

September 5, 2013 · 38 Views

FL Technics, a global provider of integrated aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services, is further extending the list of its engine management services and has recently introduced a brand new CF34-3 engine support package. The company has already agreed upon cooperation with a CIS-based carrier according to which it will provide comprehensive MRO support for the carrier‘s CF34-3 engines powering its Bombardier CRJ200 fleet. The first set of engines has already reached FL Technics for the scheduled maintenance and repair works. Amongst other services, FL Technics specialists will conduct fan blade repair and replacement, foreign object damage (FOD) compressor repair, NDT testing, HPT modules replacement, as well as other maintenance works. The CF34-3 engine support services are to be provided both on-wing and during Shop Visits.


Turbomeca enhances proximity support in China, with new Technical Support Center

September 5, 2013 · 8 Views

Turbomeca opened the new Turbomeca Technical Center in Tianjin. This new Center is dedicated to Arrius, Arriel and Makila engines operated in the area. In this Center, the qualified Turbomeca team will provide support of technical intervention to all operators in China. It will also perform maintenance for Arrius 2, Arriel 2 and Makila 1&2 engines, operated by Governmental and police operators, which represented the third of Turbomeca engines fleet in China.


WestJet reports August load factor of 87.9%

September 5, 2013 · 6 Views

WestJet announced August 2013 traffic results with a load factor of 87.9%. Traffic increased 11.5% year-over-year, and capacity grew 12.8% over the same period.


Dynamic Precision Group acquires eight manufacturing facilities from Unison Engine Components

September 5, 2013 · 12 Views

Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group reported that its portfolio company Dynamic Precision Group has signed an agreement to acquire eight aerospace component fabrication and machining facilities located on three sites in the U.S., Canada and the UK, which design, manufacture and integrate components and systems for aircraft engines and airframes from Unison Engine Components, a subsidiary of GE Aviation. The transaction is expected to close by year end and terms were not disclosed. The acquired facilities provide precision manufacturing capabilities for commercial, military and gas turbine engine components to a blue-chip customer base worldwide. The sites, which employ 825 people, are located in Manchester, CT; Burnley, Lancashire, UK; and Orillia, Ontario, Canada.


Alaska Air Group reports August operational results

September 5, 2013 · 7 Views

Alaska reported an 8.1% increase in traffic on a 9.2% increase in capacity compared to August 2012. This resulted in a 0.9 point decrease in load factor to 88.0%.

Horizon reported a 0.8% increase in August traffic on a 2.5% decrease in capacity compared to August 2012. This resulted in a 2.8 point increase in load factor to an August record of 85.5%.


Air Astana successfully registers an A320-232 with the DCA of Aruba

September 5, 2013 · 27 Views

Air Astana, the airline based in Astana, Kazakhstan, has successfully registered an Airbus A320-232 with the DCA of Aruba; registration marks P4-KBC. Within the following months Air Astana will register a total of four more aircraft with the DCA of Aruba, ultimately increasing Air Astana’s fleet for the year 2013. The delivery of the aircraft will take place from the Airbus Delivery Center located in Toulouse, France to be repositioned in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan. It will start operating as part of the Airbus fleet of JSC Air Astana Operator.


US Airways reports record August load factor

September 5, 2013 · 8 Views

US Airways announced its August and year-to-date 2013 traffic results with traffic increase of 6.3% versus August 2012, while capacity was up 5.6%. Load factor was a record 87.9% for the month of August, up 0.6 points versus August 2012.


CPI Aero receives order for structural assemblies for CH-53K heavy lift helicopter

September 5, 2013 · 19 Views

CPI Aerostructures has been selected by Spirit AeroSystems to manufacture structural assemblies for four CH-53K heavy lift helicopter System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA). Spirit will produce the four additional SDTA cockpit and cabin components of the CH-53K for its prime contractor Sikorsky Aircraft. CPI Aero will manufacture step platform assemblies and cabin rack assemblies. Delivery will occur in 2014 and 2015. In May 2013, the US Navy funded four CH-53K demonstration aircraft that will be used for operational evaluation purposes. CPI Aero’s contract with Spirit includes firm requirements for approximately $1m for the demonstration aircraft. The Navy program of record calls for the production of 196 aircraft, with initial operating capability targeted for 2019.


Air Canada completes transfer of Embraer 175 regional jets to Sky Regional

September 5, 2013 · 8 Views

Air Canada has successfully completed the transfer of all 15 of its Embraer 175 aircraft, the smallest jet aircraft in Air Canada’s fleet, to Sky Regional to operate the aircraft on behalf of Air Canada under the capacity purchase agreement between the parties. Sky Regional now operates 20 aircraft on behalf of Air Canada, under this agreement. Sky Regional has been an Air Canada Express partner since May 2011, operating service between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Montreal Trudeau Airport with a fleet of Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop aircraft.


Flexjet growth attracts new owners to invest $5.2bn for largest aircraft order in its history

September 5, 2013 · 7 Views

After 18 successful years as Bombardier’s fractional jet ownership division, Flexjet announced a definitive agreement for its purchase by a group led by Directional Aviation Capital through a newly-formed entity, Flexjet, LLC. With support from its new investors, Flexjet is placing the largest private aviation order in its history valued at approximately $5.2bn for up to 245 Bombardier business jets. The transaction for the sale of Flexjet is expected to close by the end of the year. The firm order includes 85 business jets, featuring next generation Challenger 350, Challenger 605 and Learjet 75 jets, and the highly anticipated Learjet 85 aircraft. The agreement also includes options for an additional 160 business jets. Fractional shares are now available, with some aircraft deliveries beginning in 2014. This development emerges during a momentous period of growth for Flexjet, which is reporting a 96% increase of new fractional and jet card sales in January to June 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. In the first six months of this year, sales of new fractional shares increased a notable 112%, while new jet card sales grew a solid 68%.