Discussion of air taxi operators and ideas.
If you ask a major news source, like the BBC, you'll get the picture that the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and subsequent ban of airline flights over Europe has been devastating to all of European aviation. Though the effects to the airlines are certainly tragic and threatening, it is not accurate to say that the volcanic ash cloud prevented all flying. With the decrease in European airline traffic, GA has been thriving.
Yesterday, 8 Aug 2009 over the Husdon river between Manhattan island and Hoboken, NJ a Eurocopter and Piper Cherokee collided and the resulting crash killed all nine passengers aboard both aircraft. It appears from eyewitness statements that the Eurocopter climbed into the path of the Cherokee from below.
Numbers bystanders took pictures of the incident. The pictures show that that the collision caused the helicopter's rotor blades to separate and removed the right wing of the Cherokee.
We pointed out that despite DayJet folding, the forecast for VLJ's and business aviation manufacturers was still promising. While that report was issued prior to the most recent rounds of panic on Wall street, I'd still like to think that the air taxi service model has promise. If your curious about how important financing is to the aviation industry, or just how it affected DayJet, stop by and read this article from FlightGlobal. Murdo Morrison does a nice job summing up the perils of the current situation along with a few tidbits about what the future challenges might be. It's well worth a read...
Mark Fava over at Air Taxi Law points out a forecast for the business jet market that includes some interesting predictions. Among the highlights of the press release are predictions for increased production in 2008 and 2009 followed by a dip in production until 2012. I wonder if this report takes into account the current wall street woe's?
Aero-News reported yesterday that DayJet has ceased passenger operations. While we are exceedingly bummed out about this recent development, it makes us wonder who's next. Eclipse hasn't exactly been experiencing smooth sailing lately, and with the rising price of jet fuel air travel itself isn't exactly experiencing record growth. Hopefully this development doesn't kill what appears to be an alternative to airline travel...
You probably noticed the announcement that Eclipse Aviation would be pursuing their single engine jet concept late last week. While it's probably no real surprise since folks like Cirrus and Piper are already moving into the market, what peaked my interest was the reaction that the controller and airline pilots union's were having. Both are voicing concerns about congestion, presumably caused by "swarms" of VLJ's clogging the airway system. They cite slower cruise and climb numbers as there source, but neither interviewee had seen any issues to date.
With the airlines scrambling to find new dancing partners, those with interest in air travel are looking for a better solution than the hub and spoke system. Air taxi's seem to be filling the business travel gap, however, there are other approaches. One of those is the fractional ownership idea pioneered by NetJets.