Author Archives: Rick Colson

About Rick Colson

Rick is a private aviation consultant and entrepreneur. He is an active industry consultant, co-founder of FlightList PRO and owner of New Flight Charters. Rick fell in love with aviation in 1981 in the right seat of a V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza. In aviation professionally now 15 years, he is an active instrument-rated Private Pilot and owns a 2008 Cessna turbo 206H. Prior to moving into aviation he was Human Resources and Executive Development Directors with Fortune 100 companies for 10 years.

Aspen Airport Forgoes Second FBO… For Now

Aspen airportThe Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is backing away from its plans to add a second FBO (fixed base operator) to the field.  Pitkin County announced yesterday it is proceeding with part of the airport’s planned upgrades, and one “environmental assessment” (EA) process laying out plans for a wider reconfigured runway to accommodate jets with wider wingspans, and a new terminal building.  The county will forego a second EA and the plans to add a second FBO and taxiway for private planes on the airport’s west side.

Currently Aspen airport has one FBO, operated by the Atlantic Aviation chain.  During peak summer and winter holiday seasons Aspen is one of the busier single-runway, single-FBO airports in the country.  In addition Aspen valley and its surrounding topography requires most jets to land and take off using the same approach/departure corridor to the east of the airport, requiring more planning and time needed to coordinate inbound and outbound aircraft.

Aspen Airport overhead

Aspen’s airport, from the mountains to the southwest.

Pitkin County was previously planning to put two EAs forward at once containing all elements of the master plan. But after meeting with with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials over the last few months, it has decided to simplify the EA process to focus on upgrades to the airport’s east side, making it less confusing and more cost-effective, according to a Pitkin County press release.

“Safety has always been the top priority at this airport. We will be reconfiguring the runway to meet FAA design standards to accommodate aircraft with wider wingspans that will replace the commercial fleet serving Aspen in the coming years,” noted airport director John Kinney in the statement. “We also need a new terminal to address existing safety and functional issues and to better serve the traveling public.”

Aspen Private Jets

Private jets at Aspen airport. (photo courtesy of Aspen Times)

FAA funding that would contribute to both projects was delayed.  Peacock said that FAA funding for the project wouldn’t be available on the timeline the airport had initially anticipated, necessitating a new plan for moving forward.  The FAA funding availability had decreased because of demand from other airports around the nation, the statement noted.

The second FBO and west side taxiway still could be relaunched at a future date under a different EA process, but it’s dependent on funding, the statement added.

Cessna/Beechcraft Moving Forward With New Single-Engine Turboprop

Textron Aviation which owns Cessna and Beechcraft among others announced last week it is moving forward on a new single-engine turboprop which appears to be aimed squarely at the Pilatus PC-12 market.

The goal is to have a range of 1,500 NM and fly at 280 kts with the ability to operate out of rough fields according to the Textron spokesperson.  Before it’s acquisition by Textron, Beechcraft had plans in 2012 for a single-engine turboprop based on the composite Premier jet fuselage but ultimately did not have the funding at that time to pursue it.

Textron has resurrected those plans and is moving forward with a development team to bring it to market.  A spokesperson at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI last week said they were planning to have something to show next year at this time.

Textron Beechcraft single engine turboprop

Beechcraft mock-up image of the proposed single-engine turboprop in 2012 based on the Premier jet fuselage.         Image courtesy of AOPA News

“As a pilot and aircraft owner, and also as someone involved in the air charter market, this is exciting,” remarked Rick Colson, founder and president of New Flight Charters, a large nationwide leader with a wealth of experience in the charter market over the past 12 years.  “The diminishing demand and market of piston twins is largely a result of the introduction and growth of more capable and reliable single-engine turboprops, albeit more costly as well.  With a family of 5+ for example, the step up from single and twin engine pistons is steep but also are the gains in reliability, comfort and safety, not to mention performance.”

These gains combined with attractive costs comparative to other turboprops and light jets provide for a popular private charter aircraft choice as well.

Textron’s Cessna track record of speedy new product development and launches, along with the Beechcraft legacy King Air line up and support, clear the skies for a successful new aircraft and perhaps a new category leader.

The Pilatus PC-12 has climbed in popularity over the past 10 years and has taken considerable share of, and expanded, the turboprop market as one of the most popular turbine powered business aircraft.  Having arguably the most reliable aircraft engine in the world in the Pratt & Whitney PT-6 lends confidence and supports the category-leading performance, capability and operating cost of the PC-12.

It was only a matter of time before a rival product joined the market.  And the Textron/Cessna/Beechcraft family is perfectly positioned.  Bring on the new addition, it’s exciting news on many fronts.

Source:  New Flight Charters

New Tech Stop For Coast-to-Coast Flights?

Gone are the 1940’s era hangar and tiny FBO at Wyoming’s Laramie Regional Airport, KLAR, in the Southeastern corner of the state.

Laramie Wy Cowboy Aviation FBO

Laramie, Wyoming’s new 4,000 FBO Cowboy Aviation

In its place is a brand new 4,000 sq. ft. facility for the Avfuel-branded Cowboy Aviation, the airports single FBO.  With 40,000 sq. ft. of hangar space, to accommodate up to a Citation X, the $2.3M project took 18 months to accomplish and includes an improved ramp, parking and landscaping.

The new facility sports a passenger lounge/lobby, pilot lounge with crew kitchen, two snooze rooms and a 15-seat conference room equipped with audio-visual equipment.

With an 8,500 ft. runway at 7,200 feet msl, Laramie is now an attractive option for cross-country tech stops.  At posting time, Jet-A was $4.25.

New Midsize Cross-Country Jet Coming To Charter 2015?

In typical clockwork fashion Cessna has achieved FAA type certification again, this time for the midsize Citation Latitude.  This past Friday the Latitude won certification and is clear for deliveries to begin third quarter 2015.

With its first flight during February of last year, the aircraft began a fast-track test program in recent Cessna trend which resulted in its type rating certificate on schedule.  NetJets is among the first customers for delivery with an existing order of 150 Latitudes.  Others with orders for 2015 early delivery is a closely held list.

At first glance it’s likely a new midsize jet will be available for transcontinental non-stops this coming winter and springs as deliveries continue.

The Latitude is a midsize jet seating up to 9 with two standard cabin configurations, one featuring a club of four with two additional froward facing seats, a cabin-forward bench for two and a rear belted lav.  The aircraft fits between the XLS and the Sovereign in the Citation lineup and the Latitude carries an outward resemblance of both.  It is described as a superior, flat-floor, stand-up cabin, 6-feet tall, 77 inches wide and 21 feet long.   the Latitude cabin is taller and wider than the Sovereign.   Airspeed at 446 kts max cruise is similar to the Sovereign and XLS.

Another Coast-to-Coast Mid?
The Latitude offers a range of up to 2,850 NM.  The Hawker 800XP, one of the most popular midsize charter jets known for coast-to-coast charter nonstops, has a published max range of 2,540 NM.  Practical charter use will dictate, but at first glance its likely a new midsize jet will be available for transcontinental non-stops this coming winter and springs as deliveries continue.

If/when the coast-to-coast nonstop charter capability becomes reality, the Latitude should be a hot commodity in the midsize charter market.

2015 Cessna Citation Latitude

2015 Cessna Citation Latitude

Citation Latitude Cabin

Citation Latitude Cabin

Citation Latitude Cabin - forward bench for two

Citation Latitude Cabin – forward bench for two

 

 

 

Gulfstream 550 changes operators in U.K.

Saxonair Charter UKOperator SaxonAir Charter LTD at Stansted, UK, has taken on management and charter of the 2012 Gulfstream 550, G-MRLX.  Previously with Gama Aviation LTD, it began operation under SaxonAir in late May, and is the only G550 based at Stansted.  With it’s 6,000 mile range it can fly nonstop to Los Angeles or Hong Kong.  The ultra long range jet features Wi-Fi on board, individual passenger entertainment screens and seats 16 passengers with three cabin seating areas.

Three Gulfstream 550’s are available for charter in the UK, this one at EGSS Stansted and two at EGLF Farnborough.

SaxonAir Charter now operates a total of 9 aircraft in the wide variety categories of turboprop, very light, light and midsize jets, long range jet and helicopter.  The SaxonAir Charter full fleet is available only in FlightList PRO.

SaxonAir Charter Gulfstream 550 based EGSS Stansted, UK

SaxonAir Charter Gulfstream 550 based EGSS Stansted, UK

New G-IVSP For Charter In South Florida

Prime Jet CharterPrime Jet, LLC has added a 2000 Gulfstream IV-SP to it’s charter certificate, based KPMP Pompano Beach, FL.

This brings to 8 the number of heavy and ultra long range Gulfstreams operated by Prime Jet for charter, based around the world including in the U.S. (California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida), Taiwan and Malaysia.

This G-IVSP and the entire Prime Jet fleet are available ONLY in FlightList PRO.

Prime Jet Gulfstream IV-SP for charter based So. Florida

Prime Jet Gulfstream IV-SP for charter based So. Florida

 

Operator Adds G550, GV and GIV-SP To Florida & Los Angeles

Jet Edge LogoCharter operator Jet Edge International has added three new Gulfstream to it’s fleet.  The newly delivered (2015) G550 and the GV are based in Florida, while the GIVSP is based in Los Angeles.

The additions bring Jet Edge’s charter fleet to a total of 34 super-midsize, heavy and ultra long range jets.

The Jet Edge ultra long range fleet has grown to 10 aircraft, including Global 6000s, G650s, G550s and GVs in the past 12 months,” says David Erich, Chief Operating Officer of Jet Edge. “The ultra long range category has been a significant focus of Jet Edge over the past year, and it is gratifying to see the hard work of our entire team paying off.”

Jet Edge’s entire fleet is available ONLY in FlightList PRO.

Broker Air Charter Service Opens Another Office

Air Charter ServiceAircraft charter brokerage Air Charter Service has announced the opening of its seventh European operation, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Andy Christie, the company’s Group Executive Jets Director, commented, “We recognized the necessity for an office in Switzerland a few years ago and felt that now was the right time to make the move, having established an already strong Swiss client base through our French and German operations.”

“We chose Geneva as it is an important hub for private aviation and a popular destination for many of our clients – we will benefit from having people on the ground here.  A lot of our current clients are based here too and we are now not only closer to them, but we are also able to reach more new potential customers that we couldn’t before.  Having a locally registered company and bank accounts will hopefully help us to win more clients that prefer a local service, as we have done with many of our other offices.”

Andy Christie, ACS Director of private jets

Andy Christie, ACS Group Executive Jets Director

“We have brought in experienced staff, who have been working out of our London, Paris and Frankfurt offices over the past six months, in the run up to opening the doors earlier this month.”

The Swiss office is ACS’s 19th global office, with two more planned in the coming nine months.

Charter Operator Adds Two Bombardier Global 6000 And Global Express

AlbinatiAlbinati Aeronautics continues to expand its charter fleet of large cabin business jets by adding two brand new Bombardier Global 6000s and a Bombardier Global Express.

According to Albinati, “The two new Global 6000 can take up to 12 passengers on intercontinental distances such as, for instance, Geneva to San Francisco, without refueling, in an exclusive, luxurious and comfortable environment, fully equipped for business, entertainment and relaxation.”

Albinati Aeronautics’ charter fleet is based at Geneva and Malta, and now counts four Global 6000s, a Global XRS, a Global Express, a Global 5000, a recently fully refurbished Challenger 604 and a Citation CJ4.

The full charter fleet is ONLY available in FlightList PRO.

Charter Broker Acquired by Operator Altius Aviation

Altius Aviation charter operatorEmreAir Charter Solutions (EA Jet Charters), an air charter broker based in Teterboro, NJ, has agreed to an acquisition by charter operator Altius Aviation.

Headquartered in Syracuse, NY and operating throughout the Northeast with locations at the Portland Jetport, ME, the Manchester Airport, NH and the Essex County Airport, NJ, Altius Aviation operates 7 aircraft for charter including turborops, light and midsize jets.

Henry Laughlin, President & CEO of Altius commented: “We are delighted to
welcome the team from EmreAir Charter Solutions to the Altius family.
Throughout the negotiations it became very apparent that the EmreAir assets
and personnel would create significant synergy throughout our activities.  The
net effect to Altius is accelerated growth and a better experience for both our
retail charter customers and the broker community”.

Speaking from Teterboro, NJ, Omar Diaz, Director of EmreAir stated:  “Merging
our experience and passion with Altius Aviation is a logical next step for the
EmreAir team.  Altius has proved to be a highly capable operator with significant
nationwide growth potential.  We look forward to the future as we achieve our
goals with both Altius and the Laughlin Group companies”.  The acquisition will
see the founders of EmreAir become equity stake holders in the larger company.

Altius Aviation LLC is part of the Laughlin Group family
owned aviation company.  Founded in 1949, group activities span FBO
operations, maintenance, special missions design and install, avionics STC
development, airline handling, de-icing, aircraft charter and aircraft sales.

Altius operates seven aircraft for charter based throughout the Northeast US; two Learjet 60, a Learjet 31, King Air B200 and three Pilatus PC-12.

The full Alitus charter fleet is ONLY available in FlightList PRO.

Operator MyJet Acquired by Blink Air Taxi Service

Blink Air Taxi logoWith a marked expansion, Blink Air Taxi Service has acquired Italian operator MyJet and its 3 Citation Mustang jets, along with its maintenance facility in northern Italy.  Blink also acquired Blackbushe Airport west of London, which has been its home the past four years.  Blink’s increased fleet of 9 Mustangs now is 30% of the European air taxi fleet.

Blink Air Taxi Service Citation Mustang Fleet

Blink Air Taxi Service Citation Mustang Fleet

According to Blink, the acquisition of MyJet demonstrates that Blink is leading the European air taxi industry in consolidating operations across the key business aviation hubs of London, Paris, Nice, Geneva and now northern Italy, including Milan. It increases Blink’s capacity and will allow even more efficient operations of the market leading air taxi service.

Initially, the MyJet aircraft will continue to operate under the existing livery before gradually being brought under the Blink brand.

Gulfstream V New In Northeast For Charter

Solairus Aviation jet charterCharter operator Solairus Aviation is adding a Gulfstream V, registered N516HG and based Nashua, NH to it’s Part 135 charter certificate.  The ultra-long-range jet will be immediately available for charter.

With 14 seats and sleeping arrangements for 6, the G-V features cabin entertainment and information amenities with a 16″ credenza screen, 6×8 individual screens, Bose headsets, Wi-fi internet on board, satellite phone and fax and Xbox 360.

The G-V addition makes a total of 39 aircraft in Solairus Aviation‘s charter fleet nationwide, which includes a wide variety of aircraft including five Global Express XRS’, a new Gulfstream 650, two Gulfstream 550’s, a Falcon 900EX Easy, other Falcons and Gulfstreams along with the full fleet of sizes and capabilities.

FlightList PRO is the only service showing all 39 Solairus Aviation charter aircraft.

Gulfstream V N516GH Charter Cabin, Solairus Aviation

Gulfstream V N516GH Charter Cabin, Solairus Aviation

Gulfstream V N516GH Charter Cabin, Solairus Aviation

Gulfstream V N516GH Charter with Solairus Aviation

Gulfstream V N516GH Charter with Solairus Aviation

Falcon 7X New To Key Air Fleet Based Northeast US

Falcon 7X N221HJ, Key Air Jet Charter

Falcon 7X N221HJ Jet Charter, Operated by Key Air

Charter operator Key Air has added a long range Falcon 7X, registration N221HJ, to its Northeastern US-based charter fleet.  The aircraft becomes available May 22 and is home-based OXC Oxford, CT.  N221HJ was formerly registered CS-DTS and operated for charter by Masterjet, based Paris, France.

FlightList PRO shows this Falcon 7x is one of only 7 available for charter in the U.S. and the only one in the Northeast.  According to Key Air the new 14 passenger aircraft comes complete with a satellite phone and fax, airshow display and is Wi-Fi enabled.  The fully-equipped galley includes a microwave oven, convection oven and espresso maker to easily accommodate lighter snacks or full-course meals. Its state-of-the-art entertainment system features DVD, CD and MP3 players, headphones, dual widescreen and two individual cabin monitors.

Key Air Jet Charter Operator

Key Air Jet Charter Operator

“The addition of this pristine, high precision aircraft will benefit our operations and provide a great option for the discerning charter client”, said Alan DePeters, Key Air President and CEO. “We are extremely happy with the growth we have experienced to our managed aircraft fleet. Within the first five months of the year, Key Air has added four ultra-long-range aircraft to our charter certificate offering clients a broader range of charter aircraft to choose from. We look forward to continuing this momentum by providing unique, personalized services to the aircraft owner and to our clients who charter the aircraft.”

The Falcon 7X joins a list of ultra-long-range aircraft on Key Air’s charter certificate including the Global 5000, Gulfstream GV, G450 and GIVSPs. The charter fleet also includes the Falcon 2000LX, 900EX, Challenger 604, Hawker 800XP and Learjet 45 aircraft.

Not shown elsewhere, the entire Key Air fleet is available in FlightList PRO.

Falcon 7X N221HJ Operated By Key Air

Falcon 7X N221HJ Operated By Key Air

Falcon 7X N221HJ Operated By Key Air

Private Jet Charter Market Article On Forbes.com

Forbes.com logo“Is the private jet charter market ready to be disrupted?” Forbes.com just published an in-depth article analyzing the current jet charter market, players, technologies and future.

Many charter companies – operators and brokers – are named in the article which is a look at leveraging technologies to make a more efficient consumer market, and the actual practicalities and complexities of booking and managing individual charters.  Author Doug Bollan also relates his experiences trying to search and book a charter through different methods.

This is a very interesting read for anyone involved in the jet charter market today as well as private charter consumers.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/douggollan/2015/05/13/is-the-private-jet-market-ready-to-be-disrupted/

Komar Aviation Group Becomes Macair

Macair Jet Charter CaliforniaAnnounced yesterday, charter operator Komar Aviation Group in southern California is transitioning the company name to its existing corporate name, Macair, Inc.

“The change is due to the significant expansion of our business activities,” said Dori Abouzeid, CEO and President.  “The past year has been an incredible one for our team as we continue to deliver outstanding success for our partners through the increase of international charters and clients, the addition of more aircraft on our fleet, including a G-V, and Macair Flight Support, the exclusive FBO at Erbil International Airport [Iraq].”

Unchanged will be the company tax ID, address, phone numbers, staff and business terms.  Email addresses will convert to @macairinc.com.

Macair currently operates three aircraft for charter on certificate # K4DA454J, based in southern California at SNA Santa Ana and LGB Long Beach.

16 Seat Gulfstream New To Charter In So. California

Sun Air Jets Charter OperatorCharter operator Sun Air Jets announces the addition of their 16 passenger G-IV to charter based CMA Camarillo, CA.  The Gulfstream IV registration N701DB has a new 2014 interior refurbishment and complimentary Wi-Fi on board.  Under Sun Air Jets, N701DB touts worldwide FAA charter authority and all four top auditor ratings.

The Sun Air Jets entire fleet and operator information is available in FlightList PRO.

Sun Air Jets Gulfstream IV Charter

Sun Air Jets Gulfstream IV Charter

Sun Air Jets G-IV N701DB Cabin Interior

Sun Air Jets G-IV N701DB Cabin Interior

Deal Creates World’s Second-Largest Operator

In a deal to create the world’s second-largest corporate aircraft operator, Luxaviation, a business jet charter and management group based in Luxembourg, today is acquiring Zurich-based ExecuJet Aviation.

Luxaviation business jet charter managementUnder the terms of the deal, Luxaviation will acquire the entire share capital of ExecuJet, which has operations in Asia, Australasia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and in Europe.  Its fleet of about 180 managed aircraft will bring the number of aircraft operated by the combined entity to more than 250.  This is second only the the fleet of 700 operated worldwide by US-based NetJets.

ExecuJet, operating since 1991, offers aircraft charter, management, and maintenance, and is based at 19 airports around the world.

Luxaviation has grown by acquiring four European operators since 2009, including London Executive Aviation (LEA) in 2014.  Last week it agreed to a deal with China Minsheng Investments, a Chinese investment fund that is the biggest shareholder in business aircraft operator Minsheng International Jet.

Luxaviation’s strategy with its acquisitions has been to preserve their operational independence while benefiting from economies of scale in purchasing high-cost items such as fuel, insurance and training.

With the two latest deals, Luxaviation is making strides towards its stated goal of 500 aircraft under management by 2019.

– courtesy Financial Times, full article here.

Luxaviation and ExecuJet charter fleet details are available in FlightList PRO.

Luxaviation charter jet

Luxaviation Challenger 300 based Luxembourg

Gulfstream IV-SP Added At Scottsdale With Aero Jet Services

Scottsdale Arizona Charter Aero Jet ServicesAero Jet Services has added the Gulfstream IV-SP N267LG to its charter fleet based KSDL Scottsdale, AZ.  The 12- passenger aircraft features a recently refurbished unique cabin layout, and passenger amenities including DVD/CD/Playstation 3, Airshow 400, and WiFi with Talk and Text.

In operation for 17 years, Aero Jet Services’ charter fleet now numbers 9 light, midsize and heavy jets, all based in Arizona at KSDL Scottsdale Municipal Airport.  Aero Jet Services operator and fleet details are available in FlightList PRO.

A January 2015 Jetset Magazine article on Aero Jet Services.

Gulfstream IV-SP Charter Operated By Aero Jet Servcies

Gulfstream IV-SP Charter Operated By Aero Jet Services

Gulfstream IVSP charter Arizona

Gulfstream IV-SP Charter Operated By Aero Jet Services