AIN Alerts
October 13, 2020
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Artist rendering of planned Bombardier Singapore Expansion

Jetex, Bombardier Partner on Singapore FBO

Global trip support provider Jetex is partnering with Bombardier Aviation on a new FBO at Singapore Seletar Aerospace Park. Jetex is currently providing ground handling services through shared facilities at Bombardier’s service center, but as part of the OEM’s expansion of the facility—which will turn it into a “high-capacity, one-stop-shop super center”—Jetex will operate its own co-located facility there, details of which were unavailable at press time. This gives UAE-based Jetex its 33rd international location and its fourth in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with a service provider of this caliber as part of the expansion of Bombardier’s Singapore Service Center, a key hub for business aviation in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Jean-Christophe Gallagher, the Canadian airframer’s v-p for service, support, and corporate strategy. “Jetex shares Bombardier’s commitment to delivering…exceptional service.”

The move brings the Singapore facility into the Jetex network, with access to its international flight planning and trip support services, including its global trip manager platform that will provide seamless aircraft services, security, and baggage control, as well as offer real-time billing.

“We are optimistic about the possibilities for growth in the Asia-Pacific region and very excited to be adding Singapore to our network,” said Jetex founder and CEO Adel Mardini, adding the city-state saw an 18 percent increase in private jet demand last year compared to 2018.


Luxaviation Takes First Step to Single European AOC

Luxaviation has placed its Portuguese operation under the direct safety oversight of EASA in a move that the aircraft management and charter group said is a first step toward obtaining EASA regulatory supervision for all of its European divisions. Establishing a single European air operator certificate (AOC) is expected to result in significant reductions in operating costs for operators, who will no longer need to duplicate compliance requirements in multiple EASA member states.

With operations worldwide, Luxaviation Group manages 235 fixed-wing aircraft and 35 helicopters under 15 separate AOCs (nine of which are in EASA member states). Under the European Union’s 2018/1139 regulation, introduced in 2018, operators have had the option to report to a single competent authority—any one of the 31 EASA member states—for safety oversight and certification.

According to Luxaviation, a typical aircraft operator stands to save around 15 percent through the reduced burden associated with separate administrative and training requirements. The company said that it can take six to 12 months to establish an AOC for a single aircraft.

Luxaviation’s Portuguese fleet started operating under its European AOC today. The group also currently holds AOCs in other EASA member states, including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, and San Marino. It also has an AOC in the UK, which will no longer be an EASA state after December 31.

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Human Organ Transport Aids NASCAR Driver’s Charter Biz

The timing might not have been perfect, but for racecar driver and 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr., owning and operating a charter company made more sense than being a charter passenger.

Last year, he decided to get into the charter business and in June MTJ Aviation received its Part 135 certificate. “It just felt like when we looked across the board at what others were doing in the industry as far as NASCAR and what we were doing comparatively, it was kind of a no-brainer to take the model that we were using and try to spread it around there, get some other drivers involved, things like that, not only from a cost perspective but a safety perspective,” he said.

With three owned or leased Hawker 400XPs, a staff of 20 including pilots and a director of maintenance, the company focused on flying NASCAR drivers. In addition to the NASCAR business, MTJ Aviation also sought business from corporate and leisure travelers. However, that business all but dried up when the Covid-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, prompting the company to pivot to a new line of business: flying human organs and the surgical teams that retrieve them.

Todd Moore, president of MTJ Group of Companies, estimates the company is now flying three to five organ trips a week.

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Aerion Selects PPG To Supply Windows for AS2

Aerion Supersonic’s AS2 supplier base continues to fill out, this time with the selection of PPG for the flight deck windshields and cabin window transparencies. This formalizes a collaboration that has been ongoing with PPG on the AS2 program since 2019. In addition, the selection of PPG, which has a 90-year background in the development and supply of transparencies, falls in line with Aerion’s approach to selecting well-established and experienced suppliers for its Mach 1.4 supersonic business jet.

In recent months, the company has announced a spate of supplier agreements for the AS2 as it moves towards the beginning of manufacturing in 2023. These have included Liebherr-Aerospace (integrated air management system), BAE Systems (flight controls), Collins Aerospace (actuation systems), and Spirit AeroSystems (forward fuselage).

These supplier relationships have followed the firming up earlier this year of what Aerion believes will be the final design configuration. “Aerion Supersonic selected PPG to develop opportunities for product optimization and to help define the entire cockpit on the AS2 business jet due to our technical expertise in transparencies,” said Steve Knight, PPG's global business director of civil transparencies for aerospace.

Aerion is aiming for AS2 first flight in the 2025 timeframe, with service entry later in the decade.

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Jet Linx Opens 19th Private Terminal

Jet card and aircraft management provider Jet Linx has opened a newly constructed private terminal at Flying Cloud Airport near Minneapolis, Minnesota, marking its 19th private terminal in the U.S. “We are excited to announce the highly anticipated grand opening of our new Minneapolis private terminal as part of our nationwide growth strategy,” said Jet Linx president and CEO Jamie Walker. “With the growing demand for personalized private aviation services, it is a pleasure to introduce our unique business model to the region.”

The opening of the new terminal follows its July acquisition of Meridian’s aircraft charter and management division at Teterboro Airport, as well as the opening in recent years of four new private base terminals, a new and expanded private terminal in Nashville, Tennessee, and a second base terminal in St. Louis, Missouri. A socially distanced grand opening celebration of the Minneapolis terminal was held on October 8 attended by nearly 100 guests and featured a static display that included a Cessna Citation Longitude and X+; Gulfstream G500 and 280; and Bombardier Learjet 45.

“Current and future members and aircraft owners now have access to our dedicated, local team and to the amenities available exclusively in our private terminal, as well as to our guaranteed private jet services,” said Jet Linx Minneapolis base president Lee McGillivray.


London Heli Shuttle Driving Traffic at Biggin Hill

London Biggin Hill Airport is seeing more traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic with the help of the London Heli Shuttle. Biggin Hill is currently registering more than 1,000 aircraft movements per month and reported its busiest-ever August, with an 18 percent increase in year-over-year aircraft movements; in September, there was a 5.6 percent increase in traffic compared with 2019 levels, according to Biggin Hill’s head of marketing, Andy Patsalides. He called the shuttle “integral to our success.” 

The shuttle provides six-minute direct service to central London Battersea Heliport from close-in Biggin Hill, offering passengers contactless transport, including last-mile “bubble” travel. Once transatlantic travel resumes, the London shuttle can provide seamless last-mile travel thanks to a 2018 “air bridge” partnership established with AAG, which provides Sikorsky S-76 helicopter service between Teterboro Airport and the East 34th Street heliport in Manhattan.

The London shuttle is an on-demand service operated by Castle Air at a fixed price of £2,300 (not including VAT).The shuttle has a dedicated, airport-based fleet of six twin-engine helicopters, six-passenger Leonardo AW109s, and 12-passenger AW139s that fly single- and dual-pilot under IFR and VFR. Complimentary door-to-door chauffeured car service provided by Lloyds of Bromley to the client’s final destination in London is included in the price.

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Bill Boisture Joins Spike Aerospace Team

Spike Aerospace has added Bill Boisture to its executive team as it continues to build its leadership base and lay the groundwork for the development of the 18-passenger Spike Supersonic Jet. With Boisture, Spike is bringing a seasoned business aviation executive into the fold who has substantial leadership experience, including as president and COO of Gulfstream Aerospace, president of NetJets, chairman and CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, and, currently, operating partner at AeroEquity. This background, Spike Aerospace said, will help it execute its strategy, build partnerships, and seek financing.

"I had been skeptical of the business model for supersonic flight as the corporate market seemed too small for a supersonic business jet,” Boisture said. “But the Spike Supersonic Jet can meet the needs of private, corporate, and commercial airline operations. Being able to serve multiple markets expands the opportunity dramatically and makes a strong business case for Spike Aerospace.”

Boisture is the latest of several key aerospace executives to join the Spike team. Others include Tom Captain, former vice-chairman of Deloitte Aerospace and Defense Group; John Thomas, former CEO of Virgin Australia Airline; Ray Benvenuti, private equity investor; and Brian Foley, owner of Brian Foley Associates and former director of marketing at Dassault Falcon Jet.

The Mach 1.6 Spike business jet will be developed with a low-boom design and comply with Stage 5 standards.


Meridian Helos Keeps Busy with Bell 206 Refurb Projects

Meridian Helicopters has delivered a refurbished Bell 206L3 helicopter to English Air Service (EAS), its 18th 206L3/206L4 refurbishment in recent years. The Lafayette, Louisiana-based helicopter services company expects to deliver its 19th of the type later this month.

The 1990 206L3 delivered to EAS was equipped for basic utility operations with an emphasis on avionics and cabin interior and exterior improvements. Included in the work was the installation of a complete Garmin avionics package with Bluetooth technology, air conditioning, and three-tone leather seating. The helicopter also received a new paint scheme, wire strike protection, cargo hook provisions, and an inlet barrier filter system.

California-based EAS specializes in utility operations for agriculture, light detection and ranging (LIDAR)/mapping, and power line maintenance. “When looking for an aircraft to purchase, English Air Service…looks for quality craftsmanship and a company that takes pride in their work,” said EAS’s Mark English. “Meridian exceeded that. Looking for this specific aircraft took some time. We found some for less money, but there was no comparison in the work that was put into this 1990 Bell 206L3.”

Meridian is currently wrapping up the refurbishing of a 1996 Bell 206L4 that is scheduled for completion later this month.

People in Aviation
NBAA honored nine individuals in the business aviation industry with its annual Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award, in recognition for outstanding professionalism and leadership in support of aviation safety. The 2020 Kern Award winners are: Erika Armstrong, Chris Bing, Sean Breen, Sheryl Clarke, Jeff Duncan, Terry Ickes, Mitch Launius, Brett Palmiero, and Nicholas Treglia.
Iris Automation named Jon Damush CEO, responsible for the direction and strategy of the detect-and-avoid technology specialist. Damush has more than 30 years of aviation technology experience, most recently leading new business ventures at Boeing NeXT and also serving as chief growth officer at Boeing’s Insitu subsidiary.
The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) board of directors selected Joe Carfagna, of Leading-Edge Aviation Solutions, as chairman, replacing outgoing chair Paul Kirby of QS Partners. Kirby becomes chairman emeritus of IADA. David Monacell, of CFS Jets, is taking the role of vice-chairman; Zipporah Marmor, of ACASS, is secretary; and Phil Winters, of Western Aircraft, is treasurer. The board is rounded out by three at-large members: Doc Dwyer of Guardian Jets; Chris Ellis of Avpro; and Peter Antonenko of Jetcraft. Michael Amalfitano, who heads Embraer Executive Jets, remains the OEM member representative, and Keith Hayes, from PNC Aviation Finance, represents the products and services members, along with Andrew Young of Amstat.
San Luis Obispo County named Courtney Johnson interim airports director overseeing San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport and Oceano Airport. The appointment is anticipated to become permanent following the county board of supervisors’ October 20 meeting. Johnson has served as the deputy director of airports for the county since January 2019.
West Star Aviation promoted Todd Rasch to quality/accountable manager at its facility in East Alton, Illinois. Rasch, who spent eight years as chief inspector at West Star, has more than 35 years of aviation experience, beginning in the U.S. Air Force as a jet engine mechanic and also including roles with Midcoast and Avmats.
The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) named Matthew Fox director of event design and Christina Childs director of education and special events, as well as MedEvac Foundation International director of events. Fox had served as a senior project manager at Meeting Management Services since 2011 and has led meetings and logistics for a number of domestic and large-scale events for corporations and associations. Childs ran this year’s MTLI Virtual Grad School and previously has handled event planning for engineering, telecommunications, and renewable energy industry associations.
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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