Industry News

SENTIENT TO SPLIT, SELL DIVISIONS TO MACQUARIE UNIT
Sentient Jet Holdings, the Weymouth, MA-based private aviation services company, plans to split into two stand-alone companies and sell one of them to Macquarie Global Opportunities, a subsidiary of the Australia-based Macquarie Group.

The financial terms of the transaction, expected to close by the end of August, were not disclosed. Sentient’s jet membership, retail charter brokerage, and fuel management arms — in addition to the Sentient brand name — will be acquired by Macquarie, according to Sentient.
The company’s aircraft management, wholesale charter operations, technical services, and fixed base operations units be will reorganized and rebranded, but will remain under Sentient’s current ownership, a group of investors headed by current company chairman and CEO Gregory Campbell. In a written statement, Campbell attributed the decision to split the company to recent growth, led by its merger last year with Berwyn, PA-based JetDirect Aviation. That merger increased the company’s fleet of corporate jets from 25 to 145.

HUDSON GROUP WILL JOIN FORCES WITH DUFRY AG
Hudson Group, based in East Rutherford, NJ signs an agreement to merge with Dufry, the global travel retailer based in Basel, Switzerland. Since December 2007, Hudson has been majority owned by the Boston-based private equity firm Advent International. Hudson and Dufry are both portfolio companies controlled by Advent.
Hudson Group is a leading travel retailer in North America, operating over 540 newsstands, bookstores, cafes, and specialty retail shops in 70 airports and transportation terminals throughout the United States and Canada since 1987.

Dufry AG is a global travel retailer operating over 460 duty free and duty paid shops in airports, cruise lines, seaports, railway stations, and downtown tourist areas. Dufry South America Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dufry AG and is listed on the Brazilian and Luxemburg stock exchanges.

BRIEFINGS ...

aci-na — Airports Council Int’l – North America selects Boston Logan Int’l Airport, Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport, and Minneapolis/St. Paul Int’l Airport as winners of its 2008 Environmental Achievement Awards.

aopa — Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assn. calls on FAA to show even greater support for general aviation in its key short-term strategic planning document, the FAA Flight Plan. Each year the FAA Flight Plan looks at the coming five years and what the agency’s management initiatives and priorities should be.

asheville (NC) regional airport authority — board selects three companies to provide professional consulting services to ARAA for all design, architecture, planning and engineering projects: AVCON, Inc., RS&H Architects-Engineers-Planners, Inc., and The LPA Group will serve as general consultants through June 30, 2013.

baa pittsburgh — developer of the AIRMALL® at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport, welcomes Ultra Diamonds, an established national retailer of off-priced fine jewelry.
banyan air service — at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport offers an array of services to help pilots with island flying, distributing an information packet with required forms and documentation, and making available customer support representatives with firsthand knowledge of the Bahamas. Pilots also have access to CaribbeanFlyingAdventures.com in Banyan’s flight planning room. Customs is available at FXE from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

boeing — completes work on the first BBJ 3, a new, larger business jet based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range). The BBJ 3 has 1,120 square feet of floor space, and provides 35 percent more interior space and 89 percent more luggage space than the BBJ 2. The BBJ 3’s range is between 5,435 nmi and 4,725 nmi.

boswell’s harley-davidson — teams up with retailer Hudson Group to open a unique specialty store in Nashville Int’l Airport (BNA), featuring the world’s best known motorcycle brand, now celebrating its 105th anniversary. Retailer will offer gifts, souvenirs, apparel, and collectible items emblazoned with familiar Harley motifs.

builford technical community college — via a Duke Energy grant of $243,958, will establish a training program for avionics technicians and be based out of the school’s facility near Piedmont Triad Int’l Airport.

cisco brewers of nantucket — comes to the AIRMALL® at Boston Logan Int’l Airport at Terminal B and will serve beer from the regional brewery, plus wines from Nantucket Vineyard and spirits from Triple Eight Distillery, all crafted locally on Nantucket Island.

delta air lines, inc. — plans to close the Comair concourse at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int’l Airport and redirect all departures to other terminals, a shift that follows a 25 percent reduction in its Cincinnati flights during the past year. The redirection, to be complete in January, will mean passengers of Comair no longer will have to take a bus from the main terminal to Concourse C, which operates 48 gates. Delta is working with the airport to add at least 11 passenger loading bridges, at a cost of $12 million, and other improvements at Concourses A and B to handle the change.

eclipse aviation — manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ) and based in Albuquerque, announces a reduction in its workforce by some 38 percent in an effort to achieve financial stability as soon as possible. Eclipse is laying off approximately 650 employees affecting all departments and facilities including Albuquerque; Gainesville, FL; and Albany, NY. Eclipse’s total employment remains at about 1,100. In 2009, Eclipse intends to increase production back to previous levels and higher.

ect, inc. — of Bridgeport, PA will manufacture and distribute the EcoMat™ Containment System intended to prevent contaminants released in engine cleaning, airframe washing, and power washing from entering the groundwater and storm sewer systems; (610) 239-5120.

edmonton int’l airport — opens a 1,000-stall, $47 million parkade expansion, part of EIA’s five-year, $1.1-billion airport terminal expansion, on time and on budget.

europe’s clean sky initiative — targets a 50-percent reduction in CO2 emissions, an 80-percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, and a 50-percent reduction in perceived noise levels (from baseline year 2000 levels) to be met by the year 2020. The plan involves research intended to demonstrate smart wing technologies based on natural and hybrid laminar flow research, active load control, and materials development to conclude in flight demonstrations. Powerplant integration will be considered with specific attention paid to the impact of airframe flow fields on propeller efficiency, according to www.engineerlive.com.

faa — Federal Aviation Adminis-tration delays a slot auction planned at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport amid fierce opposition from airlines and the New York-area airports. The airlines had asked the FAA’s Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition to halt the auction of two slots at Newark.

flexplay entertainment — the exclusive marketer of Flexplay® Time-Limited DVD technology and based in Atlanta, enters a retail distribution agreement with Hudson Group to be the exclusive retailer of Flexplay No-Return DVD Rental in airports and transportation terminals throughout the U.S. and Canada. Flexplay DVDs will be available in some 200 Hudson News newsstands and Hudson Booksellers bookstores in airports and terminals throughout North America.

front range airport — outside Denver dedicates two 9,000-ft. hangars for corporate aircraft. Hangars USA is the developer, constructing 16 hangars for a total of 323,000 square feet and a total investment of $12.5 million. The 16 hangars contribute over $109,000 annually to the airport in land rent and house over 170 aircraft.

hammonds companies — of Houston offers its first-ever “Go ODV 2008 Give Away,” targeted at the ground support industry with the Hammonds Omni Directional Vehicle as the prize. Visit www.HammondsCos.com.

hawker beechcraft corp. — based in Wichita, announcs a new Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) aircraft maintenance and service facility in Mesa at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Planned $14 million investment will enable HBS to offer customer support in the Southwestern region of the U.S.; facility is expected to generate up to 110 new jobs over five years. HBS is leasing 5.1 acres with an option to expand to 10.7 acres. It acquired a newly constructed 26,000-sq. ft. hangar, and plans to build another 20,000-sq. ft. hangar.

iata — Int’l Air Transport Assn. based in Geneva reports total global passenger traffic growth remained flat in July 2008 compared to 2007. International traffic grew by a modest 1 percent and domestic dropped 1.4 percent. For the first seven months of the year the average worldwide stands at 2.3 percent growth and at 5 percent for international traffic.

jet aviation — and Tropic Air of São Paulo, Brazil enter a partnership agreement to provide aircraft management and charter services in Brazil and Latin America. Agreement allows Jet Aviation to supplement its existing aircraft management and charter support services within the Latin American market, while offering Tropic Air administrative and sales support, as well as customer services training.

lax — Los Angeles Int’l Airport sees hundreds of airline service workers return to their jobs over Labor Day weekend after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa brokers a three-week cooling off period when negotiations will continue. Some 2,500 skycaps, janitors, wheelchair attendants, and other service workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 1871.

nashville int’l airport — is the first airport location of redbox, the fully automated DVD rental system featuring new release rentals for $1 per night. The agreement with Wright Travel Agency, Inc. includes the installation of two automated DVD rental kiosks.
• Nashville Int’l also welcomes eight new food, beverage and retail vendors to its terminal: La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant; Neely’s Bar-B-Que; Tennessee Tavern; Boswell’s Music City Harley-Davidson; CNN Newsstand; Godiva Chocolatier; Hudson News; Nashville Star Soon to Come; and Starbucks.

newark liberty int’l airport — unveils a system of kiosks that feature outlets where electronic devices can be recharged for free. A total of 50 of the eight-foot-high kiosks, called “power poles,” are being installed in the airport’s three terminals. The poles already are in use at New York’s JFK Airport and La Guardia Airport.

northstar aerospace, inc. — based in Chicago completes a capability expansion to add a second turboprop engine test cell at its Turbine Engine Service Group (TESG) in Stroud, OK, expanding TESG’s capability to overhaul larger Pratt & Whitney PT6A engines.

oshkosh airport products group — a division of Oshkosh Corp. based in Oshkosh, WI, receives orders from General Mitchell Int’l Airport in Milwaukee for nine Oshkosh® HT-Series™ snow tractors, three Oshkosh H-Series™ snow blowers, and two Oshkosh Striker® aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles; the order is valued at $5.6 million.

port authority of ny & nj —files a motion with the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit requesting to join a suit that seeks to invalidate a plan by the federal government to auction flight slots at the New York metropolitan region’s airports. The Air Transport Association filed the original suit in the same court. FAA/DOT subsequently held off holding its first slot auctions.

richard branson — the billionaire owner of airline Virgin Atlantic VA.UL, reports he would be interested in bidding for London’s Gatwick airport, Britain’s second-biggest, with yet-to-be-identified partners. One report says the bid for Gatwick could cost more than 2 billion pounds ($3.6 billion).

sammy’s beach bar & grill — the namesake of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Maui resident Sammy Hagar, opens at Kahului (HI) Airport, in partnership with HMSHost.

siemens energy & automation, inc. — based in Atlanta introduces the SIBAG 300C Flat Carousel, a new high capacity conveyor system designed for handling of baggage at either passenger claim areas or in baggage sorting areas. System incorporates active drive power balancing, significantly reduced weight of the moving components, and integrated maintenance tools; www.siemens.com/airports.

skybus airlines — founder John S. Weikle reportedly is considering the west-central Ohio city of Springfield as a possible future home to the next Skybus. “I would not be surprised to see (Springfield) eventually become the airport of choice for Dayton and Columbus travelers,” he said in one of the e-mails he sends regularly to former Skybus employees in the months since the Columbus-based discount carrier abruptly shut down in April.

southwest airlines — will eliminate nearly 200 flights early next year as it struggles with high fuel costs and a weakening economy. Southwest will cut 196 flights while adding six new ones in its schedule that takes effect Jan. 11. That is nearly 6 percent of the airline’s daily schedule of close to 3,400 flights.

the food & shops — at LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal partners with New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to celebrate the history of aviation during National Aviation Week (Aug. 18 – 22), including a historical exhibit with replicas of fighter planes that have launched from the Intrepid and other memorabilia.

the jet collection — a firm involved in the sale and acquisition of long range, international cabin class aircraft, relocates its Chicago-based corporate headquarters. The company also has offices in San Rafael, CA; Toronto; Montreal, and Mexico City.

tkda — an engineering, architecture, and planning firm based in St. Paul, MN, announces the acquisition of ECMC Services, Inc. of Tampa, an aviation fueling system design firm. The acquisition expands TKDA’s services for aviation and other fuel-dependent clients.

universal weather & aviation, inc. — enters into a letter of intent to become the majority owner of Brazilian flight support services provider Cavok Servicos Auxiliares de Transportes Aereos Ltda. (CAVOK), subject to any required governmental approvals. CAVOK provides Brazilian operators flight support services.

wayne county (MI) airport authority — offers the public its first glimpse inside the new North Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) as it hosts a series of preview events in advance of the terminal’s scheduled opening on September 17.

xojet — of San Carlos, CA, which offers simplified pricing for business aviation, now offers fixed-price rates starting at $25,000 for one-way transcontinental flights between preferred airports serving major U.S. cities. The “all-in” rate includes ground transportation, catering, and in-flight worldwide calling. No repositioning fees, hourly rates, or fuel surcharges. XOJET utilizes a fleet of Citation X jets.

AAAE Task Force Reports

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), which this summer established an Energy/ Air Service Task Force composed of professionals from airports to make recommendations for policy makers on a national energy policy, a national air service policy, and policies the government can pursue in the short-term to address emerging service reductions, releases its official report with recommendations for legislators.
Among the recommendations: responsibly expand exploration and development of U.S. energy resources; create a national bio-diesel fuel standard and promote utilization of bio-diesel blends; comprehensively address both highway and aviation congestion and infrastructure requirements; and transition as quickly as possible to the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System (NEXTGEN). AAAE seeks expansion of the Essential Air Service program, a raise in the cap on passenger facility charges, and increased funding for the Small Community Air Service Development program. Regarding the SCASD, the association encourages Congress to allow the program to assist airports in providing ground handling services to airlines, a move intended to reduce costs to the carriers.
For more, visit www.aaae.org.

Alternative Transportation: Shuttleliner

Joseph Aron, president of Ocala, FL-based Shuttleliner, says he has long been concerned about the future of air service for small communities.

“I have been involved in the regional airline industry for over 20 years and have always been concerned with the future air service issues faced by cities that have limited air service or none at all,” explains Aron.
“Ocala is just one of over 100 small cities that has no scheduled air service or is threatened with the loss of such service in the near future.”

To address the need locally, Aron set up Shuttleliner to connect his community with Orlando International Airport. The transport service operates from a former Amtrak facility at Ocala’s Union Station and offers 18 daily trips to/from MCO, utilizing eight-passenger vans. Cost of a one-way trip is $29.

Aron seeks to create a ‘terminal’ environment for passengers at a central location, rather than just designated places for pickup. He sees services such as Shuttleliner as offering an alternative to those communities facing similar airline service issues as Ocala.

For information, call (352) 237-9900.

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