AIN Alerts
March 2, 2021
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Jet Aviation, TEB

Bizav Leaders Urge Lawmakers To Prep for Post-pandemic

While 2020 was an “epically challenging year” for the industry as a result of Covid-19, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen stressed to lawmakers this morning that the aviation community must press forward on issues such as infrastructure for emerging technologies, workforce, and sustainability to be on a stronger footing once the pandemic eases. Bolen joined GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce and other panelists before the House aviation subcommittee during a hearing on the ramifications and recovery from Covid-19.

“[The] severe and unprecedented reduction in flight activity had devastating consequences from FBOs to maintenance shops, charter operators, and GA airports,” Bolen said. U.S. general aviation has seen steep declines in traffic, he added.

Bunce painted a similar picture, citing responses to a survey of its membership finding 70 percent had to take workforce actions, 50 percent had to limit or temporarily halt operations, and 86 percent reported losses. He also emphasized that supply issues continue to linger.

Bunce praised a 50/50 payroll cost-share program for manufacturers and MROs included in the latest aviation relief bill, saying this is critical to keeping highly skilled workers in the industry. Bolen agreed that workforce issues must remain at the forefront and highlighted a need for the industry to take steps to ensure it is diverse and inclusive. They urged lawmakers to support the industry’s efforts toward sustainability on multiple fronts. 

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Jet MS Adds Completions/refurbs with RAS Group Buy

Jet MS, a base and line maintenance provider for business and regional aircraft, has acquired RAS Group, a UK-based holding company of RAS Completions and RAS Interiors, which as the names imply offer aircraft interior repairs, manufacturing, and exterior paint refinishing for business, VIP, and commercial aircraft. Besides adding interiors and completions expertise to JetMS’s services, the deal gives it a presence at London Biggin Hill Airport, one of Europe's busiest business aviation airports.

RAS’s aircraft interiors and exteriors work includes paintwork protection, aircraft interior design, aircraft seating, helicopter painting, military aircraft painting and coatings, aircraft galleys, and cabin stowage. As a result of the acquisition, Jet MS will also offer base and line maintenance and spare parts trading at Biggin Hill.

“The acquisition of RAS Group gives Jet MS a valuable and complementary range of services to offer its international clients,” said Jet MS CEO Vytis Žalimas. “We are thrilled about the next chapter of growth for our enlarged and strengthened group of businesses.”

Jet MS will also add RAS Group founders Russell Pitt and Chris Ransley to its Biggin Hill Team, Žalimas said. The MRO provider is a unit of Avia Solutions Group.


GrandView Aviation Opens Boston Charter Base

Coming off the announcement of scheduled helicopter shuttle charter service between New York City and Washington, D.C., Part 135 operator GrandView Aviation has opened its seventh Embraer Phenom 300 charter base in Bedford, Massachusetts, which will serve Boston-area clients. It’s the second of three charter bases GrandView plans to open this year—the first was in January in the Denver area.

“With our locations in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, Boston is the perfect addition to extend our coverage area in the Northeast,” said GrandView COO Jessie Naor. The Baltimore, Maryland-based company added three Phenom 300 light jets to its owned fleet at the end of last year in response to increased demand from clients seeking alternatives to commercial air travel. These additional Phenom 300s expanded its owned fleet to 10 of the twinjets, along with Sikorsky S-76D and Bell 407GXi helicopters.

At Bedford, GrandView is operating from Laurence G. Hanscom Field. Its other bases are in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Chicago; and Phoenix.


AEG Fuels Rolls Out Rewards Program

Miami-based aviation fuel supplier AEG Fuels has launched a customer loyalty program. Dubbed AEG Rewards, the program allows customers to earn points for every gallon of fuel purchased and dollar spent on flight support services, with points accruing automatically with every AEG Fuels transaction.

Customers can also earn double points by visiting AEG Connect FBOs, as well as during special events and promotions. Rewards redemption options include gift cards, charity contributions, and credit on account.

“AEG Rewards was designed with both our customers’ and our valued service providers’ input, providing a hassle-free process requiring no inputs at the point of sale. Customers can simply log into their AEG Rewards portal to view and administer their rewards at their discretion,” said AEG Fuels executive v-p of general aviation Greg Cox.

This customer loyalty program is only part of new developments the company has planned, according to AEG. These will include an improved AEG Fuels app, a green initiative to help achieve carbon neutrality, and expanding the number of AEG Connect-branded FBOs.


New Million Air location open in El Paso (ELP)

Expected to set the bar for the region, Million Air opened a new state-of-the-art FBO at El Paso International Airport.

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Murray Takes CEO Role at Skyservice

Long-time business aviation senior executive Benjamin Murray was named president and CEO of Skyservice as the Canada-based business aviation services firm looks toward international growth. Murray joined Skyservice late last year initially as president and COO for a transition period before taking on the role of CEO. In this new capacity, he succeeds Emlyn David, who will remain as an advisor to Skyservice and the board on the company's expansion plans and business strategy.

Murray brings 20 years of business aviation leadership and operational experience to his new role, including as president and CEO of Executive Jet Management and president of aircraft management and charter for Landmark Aviation. He also founded and was the managing member of North Star Solutions.

"Over the past four months, Ben and I have collaborated closely on this transition, which positions the company for a bright future,” said David. "I am thrilled to continue working with Ben and the board to expand Skyservice's footprint, including in the U.S, and to work with [investment firm] InstarAGF on other new initiatives."

Meanwhile, Jetscape Business Aviation at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport today announced the appointment of David as a strategic advisor.


Jetcraft Adds Synerjet as Authorized Rep in S. America

Global business jet sales and acquisitions firm Jetcraft has formed a strategic relationship with Synerjet, a Latin American business aviation specialist, to further strengthen its footprint in the region. Under the agreement, the aircraft sales division of Synerjet will operate as a Jetcraft-authorized representative in South America, enabling Jetcraft to increase its offering to clients looking to buy, sell, or trade in aircraft with local support.

Synerjet joins Jetcraft alongside its existing relationship with Aerolineas Ejecutivas, which has served as an authorized Jetcraft representative in Mexico and Central America for the past three years.

“In South America, buyers need agile and customized solutions, tailored to their needs,” said Jetcraft Americas sales director Todd Spangler. “By collaborating with Synerjet, our customers benefit from access to in-depth, regional expertise to help them with their aircraft sales and acquisitions.”

Fabio Rebello, chief commercial officer at Synerjet, said his company has been providing technical support for all business aviation segments in South America for nearly 20 years. “Now, as a Jetcraft-authorized representative, our clients will be able to take advantage of dealing with a local company and benefiting from one of the world’s largest portfolios of private jets, with access to worldwide connections across the industry,” he said.


Cracked Bell 505 Collectives Draw Second Emergency AD

Transport Canada (TC) issued its second emergency airworthiness directive (AD) in one week regarding cracked collective control sticks on Bell 505 turbine helicopters. While the first AD called for mandatory, one-time inspections followed by fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) if a crack is found, this one mandates FPI every 25 hours and further directs that helicopters being ferried for inspections only be flown from the copilot’s (left) seat.

Bell declined to disclose to AIN how many cracked collective sticks have been discovered so far, but did confirm that the part is made by supplier Mecaer. AIN requested comment from Mecaer but has yet to receive a reply.

Transport Canada's original AD was prompted by the discovery of a collective stick fractured above the cabin floor at the junction with the collective jackshaft. The initial flaw was reported by the Stockton, California police department on a 2019 Bell 505 in its fleet. In that instance, the problem was discovered before engine start during the pilot preflight check of flight controls for travel. The second AD notes that an independent inspection of that stick and at least one other by Bell confirmed the cracking. At that point, Bell determined a one-time inspection was inadequate. TC considers this new, more stringent AD an “interim action.”

There are more than 300 Bell 505s in service.


Obit: AOPA’s Mike Collins, 59, Passionate GA Advocate

Michael P. “Mike” Collins, who spent nearly three decades with AOPA in various senior editorial and management roles, died on February 25 in Frederick, Maryland, from Covid-19. He was 59.

“Mike’s always positive and helpful attitude opened many doors for him and gained him great respect here at AOPA and around the industry,” said AOPA president and CEO Mark Baker. “All of aviation has suffered a loss with his untimely passing.”

Born on Dec. 21, 1961, in Cleveland, Ohio, Collins graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1984 with a degree in photojournalism. He initially became a newspaper photographer and editor, but then helped launch The Southern Aviator magazine.

In 1994, he joined AOPA as managing editor of AOPA Pilot magazine. AOPA said he “quickly became an integral player on the media team,” leading the magazine production process for AOPA Pilot and Flight Training, as well as steering the growth of AOPA ePilot. Most recently he was technical editor and director of business operations.

Collins remained passionate about photography, serving as the main organizer of the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar’s photography awards program and more recently on the International Society of Aviation Photographers board. He is survived by his wife, Janette, who works in the AOPA Pilot Information Center, and three children.

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Last Chance: Basics of Flying Privately Webinar

AIN sister publication Business Jet Traveler is holding a free webinar tomorrow (March 3) about how to get started with flying privately. Hosted by AIN editor-in-chief Matt Thurber and veteran business aviation journalist Charles Alcock, the webinar will feature EBAA COO Robert Baltus and NATA senior v-p Ryan Waguespack in an unbiased and invaluable conversation through the basics—from charter, jet cards, and flight clubs to fractional aircraft shares and full ownership. Register now

People in Aviation
London Biggin Hill named Colin Hitchins head of the airport’s corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Hitchins formerly was community engagement manager at London Biggin Hill.
Bombardier appointed Stuart Bailey as general manager of its recently acquired Berlin Service Centre in Germany. Bailey previously spent two decades with Lufthansa, holding roles in Germany, Malta, and the U.S. in various line and base management capacities.
Inflite The Jet Centre at London Stansted Airport added Steve Bull to its management team as senior sales and business development manager. Bull previously was customer support director for TAG Maintenance and also has held senior roles with Signature Aviation companies H+S Aviation and Dallas Airmotive.
San Jose's aviation department named Gene Frazier deputy director of facilities for Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport in California. Frazier has more than 10 years of facilities management experience, including at Tallahassee International Airport in Florida and at New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport.
West Star Aviation appointed Scott Conreux a financial operations analyst at its East Alton, Illinois facility. Conreux brings more than 10 years of financial and analytical experience in various industries to his new role.
Emily Brieve, a commissioner of Kent County in Michigan, joined the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority board of directors for a three-year term. In addition, Dan Koorndyk and Floyd Wilson, Jr. were re-elected as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively. Birgit Klohs was newly elected as board secretary. Koorndyk has served on the board since 2017, Wilson since 2009, and Klohs since 2013.
Engine Assurance Program named Stephen Hubble director of technical engine solutions. A 27-year industry veteran, Hubble previously was international sales director for StandardAero and also served with Raytheon, Bombardier Aerospace, and Garrett Aviation.
Vince Kellestine returned to Mid-Canada Mod Center to lead the company’s service department. Kellestine, who has 30 years of experience supporting aircraft across the commercial and business aviation spectrum, previously managed the company’s service department from 1997 to 2011 and subsequently held positions at Air Georgian and Onex Partners Group.
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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