Atlanta's Dynamic

Atlanta's Dynamic Interviews, press conference reports, and industry briefs from this year's NBAA Convention BY John F. Infanger, editorial director, and Jordanna Smida, assistant editor November / December 1999 ATLANTA — The...

"This will only help business aviation get closer to developing a seamless international operating environment," she states, noting that a lack of access to international airports and congestion in the skies are in the forefront. Part of the effort to increase access to international airports will have to be resolved at the political level, she admits.

Garvey also addressed the issue of fractional ownership. Noting a 32 percent increase in traditional flight departments, she states, "The FAA's only concern with fractionals is safety and what type of framework will best foster it." She notes that there are no easy answers to this issue. An ARAC working group is expected to complete its study of the issue by December, with recommendations anticipated in January, she says.

At its NBAA press conference, AvDataInc made several positive announcements regarding the business aviation industry. Among them, statistical results on fractional ownership and flight departments.

According to AvDataInc, at the start of 1999 there were 11,862 flight departments in the world. As of Oct. 1, in the U.S. there were 12,999 business jet and turboprop aircraft, and 330 or 2.6 percent of those belonged to the fractional ownership program.

Addressing recent industry concerns over the threat of fractional ownership programs to flight departments, John Zimmerman, president of AvDataInc., states, "Flight departments will be closed whether they're in fractionals or not. More closings are caused by not having a belief in business aviation."

AvDatatInc has identified 20 high profile flight departments that have been closed in favor of fractional ownership participation. Zimmerman comments that even if there was twice the number of known flight department closings, though considered doubtful, the statistical loss would not register.

AvDataInc reviewed its records of more than 100,000 companies who had a business aviation identity during the previous quarter century. The research showed 80 percent of the fractional owners are new to business aviation and the other 20 percent use fractional participation to supplement their own in-house business flight capabilities.

Zimmerman notes that everyone who opts for fractional ownership does not necessarily stay in the program. The company states that 130 fractional companies have departed the market in the last decade.

AvDataInc has followed some of the aircraft sold after traditional operations had been closed. The findings show that though some traditional flight departments closed because of a company's sale of its aircraft, most sales resulted in one or more new flight departments opening with the company(ies) that bought the aircraft.

In the most recent report from AvDataInc, 21.5 percent of the largest companies with business aviation involvement have invested in fractional aircraft. Of the 74 companies who have fractional ownership, 33 companies — mostly new to business aviation — do not have and have not had traditional in-house flight departments and rely on fractional aircraft to meet their business flight requirements. AvDataInc reports a growth in deliveries to fractional fleets of 67 aircraft, with deliveries to traditional flight departments accounting for 311 new jet and turboprop aircraft.

Boeing Business Jets, the Air Routing Group, and Delta Air Lines are going for the gold via a new business relationship unveiled at NBAA. In a collaborative agreement, the companies introduced the BBJ Gold Card worldwide support program, a value-added service for Boeing Business Jet owners.

Air Routing will produce the BBJ Gold Card, which will offer a variety of benefits to BBJ customers including discounted fuel prices, global card acceptance, and 24-hour access to international operational support for flight planning, weather briefs, overflight/landing permits, security, transportation, and communications.

The card will also provide a payment mechanism for airline parts and maintenance. A network of nearly 2,000 FBOs, fuel suppliers, ground service and maintenance providers, and airlines will honor the card.

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