BBA Aviation Buys U.S. Rival Landmark for $2 Billion

The Wall Street Journal

Executive-jet-service provider BBA Aviation PLC has agreed to buy Landmark Aviation for $2.07 billion in a big bet on a recovery in the U.S. business-jet market.

BBA, the biggest operator of business-jet services facilities in the U.S. under its Signature brand, said Wednesday it will buy the No. 3 competitor in the U.S. from private-equity firm Carlyle Group. The U.S. is by far the world’s largest market for business and private flying.

BBA chief Simon Pryce said that after a period of low single-digit growth for the sector, “there is a slow and steady recovery building after a relatively flat couple of years.” Over the medium to long term, the company expects “accelerated growth.”

As the commercial airlines retrench and serve cities from central hubs, business-jet operators will benefit as they directly link markets not otherwise connected, Mr. Pryce said.

BBA said the acquisition will be funded through new debt facilities and a fully underwritten rights issue of 562,281,811 new ordinary shares at a price of 133 pence a share, raising £748 million ($1.15 billion). The acquisition will also be funded by $1 billion in debt, it said.

Mr. Pryce said the Landmark brand would be replaced over time with Signature’s, though he didn’t expect facilities to be closed. The two share facilities on 12 airports. Signature has 133 so-called fixed-base operations world-wide, of which 79 are in the U.S. Landmark is more U.S.-focused, with 64 of its 68 FBOs located there.

BBA forecasts about $35 million in savings from the combination to be achieved by the end of December 2017 through cutting staff, joint purchasing and the rebranding, BBA Chief Financial Officer Mike Powell said.

“This is a transformational transaction,” Mr. Pryce said.

Despite the combination of two of the world’s largest operators of such facilities, Mr. Pryce said the market remains highly fragmented and that he didn’t expect regulatory hurdles.

Carlyle acquired Landmark Aviation in 2012. This is the second time Carlyle has sold the business after a deal in 2007.

Mr. Pryce said the company would consider additional deals and was keeping an eye on Europe and the Asia-Pacific to potentially add further business-jet servicing stations. “There are smaller markets that we will be looking at for further expansion,” he said.

Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 gains momentum

General Aviation News

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate General Aviation Caucus, reports his Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (S.571) has surpassed 60 cosponsors in the Senate, making it “filibuster proof.”

Senator James Inhofe

Inhofe introduced the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 Feb. 26, which includes legislation that would expand the third class medical exemption for recreational pilots and broaden the protections provided in the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights signed into law in 2012.

As of Sept. 17, S.571 had 61 cosponsors, surpassing a filibuster-proof majority when Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) signed on to the legislation.

“I appreciate the significant bipartisan support for the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, and I am committed to seeing this legislation to the finish line during the 114th Congress,” said Inhofe. “The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 was authored by and for the general aviation community, and it is their persistency with their elected officials that has resulted in more than a majority of the Senate supporting this legislation. Together, we have been able to build off the success of the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, and this second edition will continue to improve and streamline the antiquated regulatory system faced by GA pilots and industry alike.”

The 61 cosponsors include: U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), David Cassidy (R-La.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R- Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ari.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Heidi Heitkamp (D-Mont.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.), John McCain (R-Ari.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Jeanne Shaheen (R-N.H.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2:

  • Reforms FAA’s overly burdensome medical certification process by expanding an existing FAA medical standard to include more qualified, trained pilots.
  • Extends the due process rights preserved in the first PBOR to individual FAA certificate holders, and enhances those rights by ensuring certificate holders have the right to appeal a FAA decision through a new, merit-based trial in Federal Court.
  • Increases transparency for all FAA certificate holders subject to an investigation or enforcement action by holding FAA accountable for communicating with certificate holders. FAA is required to articulate a specific description of the incident or incidents under investigation to parties involved in the investigation, and provide specific documentation relevant to its investigation.
  • Expedites updates to the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Improvement Program required in the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights and directs FAA to include the effective duration of temporary flight restrictions. This ensures the most relevant and important information reaches the pilot. The legislation also mandates that FAA certify the accuracy of posted NOTAMs.
  • Ensures the accessibility of flight data such as air traffic communication tapes and radar information produced by contract towers, flight service stations and controller training programs, giving certificate holders the ability to use this information to defend themselves during an enforcement action proceeding.
  • Extends liability protection to individuals designated by FAA, such as aviation medical examiners, pilot examiners or designated airworthiness representatives. This provision provides the protections enjoyed by federal employees to individuals performing a uniquely federal function, ensuring everyone has access to medical professionals and designees to sign off on check rides and the flightworthiness of experimental aircraft.
  • Acts as a Good Samaritan Law for volunteer aviation pilots, protecting pilots from liability as long as they are following appropriate procedures. This is an important consideration for non-profit organizations dependent on volunteers that provide non-cost transportation for the public benefit.

Triad aviation firm to expand in Lenoir County, add 100+ jobs

North State Aviation, a Winston-Salem based aviation company that employs more than 400 people at Smith Reynolds Airport, will expand at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Lenoir County, with plans to create 109 jobs over two years.

The new North State Aviation salaries will vary by position, but the average will be $39,688 per year. That’s higher than the average annual wage in Lenoir County of $32,164.

Two young men work to preserve artifacts at N.C. Aviation Museum – See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/living/features/two-young-men-work-preserve-artifacts-nc-aviation-museum#sthash.2He3Th9f.dpuf

By Chip Womick
cwomick@courier-tribune.com

A pair of fellows who were not born until some 50 years after World War II ended have set their sights on preserving memorabilia from that war — and other military and aviation artifacts — at the N.C. Aviation Museum.

The museum began as the Foundation for Aircraft Preservation, created by Asheboro businessmen Jim Peddycord and Craig Branson in 1996. Peddycord and his son, Rick, died in a mid-air collision in 1997 while practicing for the foundation’s second air show. Branson died in 2006.

The museum occupies two hangars at the Asheboro Regional Airport. It features a number of planes, extensive displays of artifacts and memorabilia from World War II through the Vietnam War, and a museum shop.

Next month, plans will be unveiled to build a new terminal building at the airport to replace one that dates to the 1970s. The new facility, approximately 12,000 square feet, will have a restaurant, meeting space, and an area devoted to a Hall of Fame.

North Carolina legislators tapped the aviation museum as the future home of a state aviation Hall of Fame in 2001. Letters on the exterior of one of the hangars note that it houses the North Carolina Aviation Museum & Hall of Fame, but there is only a museum. A Hall of Fame has never been developed. The vision is to fund the terminal project with local, state and federal funds, as well as private donations.

The plans do not include museum upgrades. The city of Asheboro owns the hangars, and the museum has a 30-year lease on them.

Dalton Bequette, who is 23, and Patrick Lawrence, 19, say their immediate goal is to install air conditioning in the hangars to preserve decades-old items — uniforms, firearms, period newspapers, and more. A less-expensive, but effective alternative, they say, would be to purchase sealed cases to better protect the fragile artifacts from dirt and temperature changes.

“This is our heritage,” said Bequette in a recent interview. “This is North Carolina’s aviation history and that’s what needs to be preserved.”

Young history buffs

Bequette listened to his grandfather and other veterans tell “war stories” as a child. His grandfather instilled in him a love of aviation — and of his country.

“I’ll never forget it to this day,” Bequette said, “he could not listen to the national anthem without crying.”

Bequette and his wife, Katie, got married a year and a half ago in one of the museum hangars. The setting coupled his passions and her fascination with the 1940s.

Lawrence is a history buff, like his father, Reid. His grandfather served in Korea, three of his grandfather’s brothers in World War II. His father started taking him to the aviation museum when he was just 4 or 5.

“I grew up with the B-25 being restored,” Lawrence said. “This museum is one of the reasons I started collecting.”

Branson purchased a B-25 for restoration in 1998; restoration was completed in 2004 and the plane made limited flights for a time.

Lawrence was in the fifth grade when he started his own collection of military memorabilia. He was dismayed when the B-25 left the Asheboro museum for a museum in Ohio in the late 2000s. He dreamed that one day, when he grew up, he would lend his efforts to the museum.

He thought that day would be many years down the road.

That was before he met Bequette.

Chance encounter

The pair met when a winter storm was bearing down on Randolph County in February. They both wound up on the same aisle in an Asheboro store, rushing to buy supplies so they could work on models if they got snowed in.

They talked for 45 minutes in the store and remain fast friends today.

Bequette, a museum volunteer since May, said the idea of air conditioning hit him like a heat wave when he stepped into one of the sweltering hangars last June during a break from activities at the annual fly-in, a museum fund-raiser. Bequette was in uniform, along with his buddies who are part of a World War II reenacting and living history group.

It would feel good if the museum was cool, he thought.

He realized that museum visitors probably would appreciate a cooler space, too.

Later, he started thinking about the toll fluctuating temperatures had on the museum’s artifacts — from freezing (or below) in the winter to 100 degrees (or higher) in the summer.

Uniforms and some related gear are in cases with plexiglass fronts, but the cases are not air-tight. There are gaps around the edges of the plexiglass.

Bequette and Lawrence have kicked off an online fundraising effort at gofundme (http://www.gofundme.com/tu2cacgk). The goal is $80,000. As of Friday, donations totaled just $131, but Bequette and Patrick are not discouraged.

They are brainstorming other ways to raise money — among them, a concert and contest to create “nose art” (the term for personalized airplane decorations) — as well as exploring the notion of bringing more warbirds back to the museum.

* * *

The museum is off N.C. 49 about west of Asheboro. From Asheboro, turn left onto Tot Hill Farm Road and then right onto Pilots View Road. Hours are 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. For more information, call (336) 625-0170 or visit www.ncaviationmuseumhalloffame.com.

– See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/living/features/two-young-men-work-preserve-artifacts-nc-aviation-museum#sthash.2He3Th9f.dpuf

Textron bolsters East Coast service facilities including KGSO

General Aviation News

Textron Aviation reports that its company-owned service facilities in Greensboro, N.C., Wilmington, Del., Newburgh, N.Y. and Atlanta, Ga., have received new certifications from the FAA, expanding their capabilities to provide service and support to Beechcraft King Air, Cessna Citation and Hawker customers.

Under the expanded certifications, the Newburgh and Greensboro facilities are authorized to service Beechcraft King Air 90-, 200- and 300-series aircraft and Hawker 125-series jets, while the Wilmington and Atlanta facilities are now authorized to service Cessna Citation X-, Sovereign-, and Excel-series aircraft, as well as the Citation Mustang.

Of the 21 Textron Aviation-owned service centers, 11 have received expanded certifications over the last year. Company officials said they expect all of these facilities will have expanded capabilities by year end.