AIN Alerts
June 6, 2019
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Vista Global Completes JetSmarter Purchase

Vista Global Holdings (VGH) has completed its acquisition of U.S. based per-seat charter brokerage and app developer JetSmarter, the Dubai-based holding company confirmed yesterday. Jet Smarter joins VistaJet, XOJet, and Vista Lease in the VHG portfolio.

The purchase, announced in early April, provides VGH entry to the nascent per-seat charter market and a highly regarded mobile booking platform and tech development team. It also provides refuge for JetSmarter, recently beset by negative media attention, lawsuits, and reported government investigations. JetSmarter reportedly was in discussions to settle a class-action lawsuit arising from unilateral changes to its membership rules at the time the purchase was announced.

With the deal consummated, “the [JetSmarter] technology will be embedded throughout the Vista Group,” a process expected to take 20 weeks, VHG founder and chairman Thomas Flohr told AIN. That will enhance online offerings, including catering, flight tracking, and concierge services at all VGH companies, he said.

JetSmarter’s signature offering, per-seat charter, is viewed skeptically by many in the charter industry, but Flohr likened the offering’s prospects to Uber’s now popular Pool ridesharing feature, which was also derided when introduced. “I don’t’ think there’s a reverse gear on the shared economy,” said Flohr.


U.S. Implements Travel Ban on Private Flights To Cuba

The U.S. government has implemented new restrictions on traveling to Cuba, including a general ban on private and corporate flights from the U.S. to the island nation effective yesterday. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the Department of State are coordinating on policies to restrict non-family travel “to hold the Cuban regime accountable for its repression of the Cuban people and its support of the Maduro regime in Venezuela,” the agencies said.

BIS is amending its temporary sojourn licensing provisions to effectively prohibit non-commercial aircraft to go to Cuba directly or indirectly but “are subject to a general policy of denial.” Universal Weather & Aviation added that the agency indicates licenses will be issued only in extraordinary circumstances.

In coordination with OFAC, BIS has also implemented a general policy of denial for exports and re-exports to Cuba for items subject to the Export Administration Regulations—including private and corporate aircraft, the agency further said.

OpsGroup issued a notification about the changes, saying effectively for Part 91 “you cannot operate an N-registered aircraft privately to Cuba for any reason. This includes corporate.” After inquiring with BIS, OpsGroup does believe Part 135 charter is still accepted travel but is advising operators to first check with both BIS and OFAC.

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At HPN Forum, NBAA Chief Urges Industry Outreach

While much of the world is today commemorating the D-Day landings of 1944, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen reminded attendees this morning at the association’s Regional Forum at New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN) that the organization was founded in New York just three years after that momentous event. As he described some of the challenges the business aviation industry has faced since, he focused on the latest.

“The reality is we have a clear challenge in front of us, and that is cultivating, attracting, and retaining that new generation of workforce,” said Bolen. “How do we, as a community, leverage our individual and collective strengths to reach out to young people with the message that if you are looking for a place where your time, your attention, your passion, and your commitment to excellence is going to be valued, come to business aviation?”

He explained that the industry has much to offer today’s youth, which has grown increasingly technology-savvy. “We are in a high-tech industry,” he noted. “It is no small feat to get an airplane to fly halfway around the world, quickly, efficiently, and safely.”

Bolen urged the audience to be proactive in reaching out to prospective industry members. “One of the best ways to do that is to invite them to come in and see who we are and what we do.”


Bizjet Flights in Europe Showing Signs of Slowdown

A second successive 3 percent year-over-year decline in business aviation departures in Europe is pointing to an increasing slowdown on the continent, WingX reported yesterday. Releasing its latest Business Aviation Monitor, WingX said the summer season started “well off last year’s pace,” with 77,189 business aviation departures last month. Through the first five months, activity is down by 1.7 percent overall, with 5,500 fewer flights.

Private flying declined the most in May with owner-flown business jet flights down 7 percent year-over-year. Charter flights remained flat, thanks to the strength of business piston flights and the ultra-long-range jet segment. Small and midsize jet activity slowed the most of all aircraft categories, falling 5.3 percent. Large-cabin jets flights, however, held their own, inching up by 0.7 percent.

A 9 percent jump in large-cabin jet flights in Spain helped buffer the 5 percent slide of such flights in the UK. Small and midsize jet activity, meanwhile, dropped by 10 percent in the UK and France. Germany joined France and the UK as seeing the largest slides in business aviation activity.

The slide in flights reflected “the somewhat downbeat sentiment at EBACE,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Symptomatically, while Nice and Cannes had their usual busy months in May, comparable year-over-year activity at these airports was down at least 10 percent.”

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AviationManuals Releases Free Bizav LOA Guide

AviationManuals, which provides aircraft manual development services and safety management system (SMS) software for business aviation, has released a free guide to help operators understand requirements for FAA Letter of Authorization (LOA) applications. The guide includes an easy-to-read chart that outlines which LOAs are required or recommended based on flight parameters and geographic areas of flight.

Further, it provides approximate LOA application turnaround times at the FAA, as well as key elements to remember when submitting an application. The FAA issues LOAs to allow an operator to engage in a specific flight activity that requires authorization. While the agency requires only a few LOAs for domestic operations, several other countries require a broader list of authorizations to conduct certain operations in their airspace.

“Knowing which LOAs are required and successfully applying for them can be daunting for pilots and operators. Miscalculating approval times, or not having the right LOAs, can have negative operational consequences and can be costly,” said AviationManuals CEO Mark Baier. “We wanted to create a free resource that outlines requirements and the application process so operators can more easily ensure they have the LOAs they need.”


FAA Gives Nod to Bell 505 for High-altitude Ops

Bell has received FAA type certification authorization to increase the performance information service ceiling of its Model 505 light single to a density altitude of 22,500 feet. Bell recently demonstrated the high-altitude capabilities of the 505 Jet Ranger X during flight testing in Nepal, performing various takeoffs and landings at density altitudes between 18,000 and 18,500 feet, as well as conducting evaluations of landings with the loss of hydraulic boost.

“High-altitude demonstrations are another testament to the aircraft’s ability to perform in the most demanding environments, across a variety of segments,” said Bell 505 program director LaShan Bonaparte.

The in-service fleet of Bell 505s has been delivered to customers across six continents and recently surpassed the 13,000-hour mark. Bell delivered the first 505 in March 2017 and, according to data from GAMA, delivered 161 of the helicopters through first-quarter 2019. The five-seat 505 is equipped with the Garmin G1000H integrated avionics suite and powered by the Safran Arrius 2R turboshaft Fadec engine.


Ex-Airshare Chief To Lead KCAC’s Pilatus Sales Office

KCAC Aviation, an Olathe, Kansas-based FBO and authorized dealer for Piper and Pilatus, has established a Pilatus sales office at DuPage Airport (DPA) in West Chicago. Leading the new office as regional sales director is Keith Moyer, the former president, CEO, and co-founder of fractional and managed operator Executive AirShare. He will oversee sales of the Swiss airframer’s PC-12 turboprop single and PC-24 twinjet in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. 

“Having regional representation based in this four-state area will help KCAC better serve its customers, especially with the introduction of the Pilatus PC-24,” KCAC general manager Mark Riley said. “Keith is well versed in both the turboprop and jet markets and…his passion for building relationships, coupled with his relentless pursuit to go above and beyond for his customers, represents the same philosophy that has propelled KCAC forward for 53 years.”

Moyer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has more than 25 years of industry experience and has logged more than 4,400 flight hours with multiple type ratings. In all, KCAC’s Pilatus sales territory encompasses nine states, including Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.


Bombardier’s Nuage Chaise is a Credenza, Bench, and Chaise Lounge in One

When Bombardier debuted its new Global 5500 and 6500 jets in 2018, one of the most interesting interior features it showed was the Nuage Chaise, which converts from a flat seating surface to a lounge chair. The chaise also incorporates interior storage below, as you’d find in a credenza. The company claims this is a first in a business aviation application.

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AINalerts News Tips/Feedback: News tips may be sent anonymously, but feedback must include name and contact info (we will withhold name on request). We reserve the right to edit correspondence for length, clarity and grammar. Send feedback or news tips to AINalerts editor Chad Trautvetter.
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