Bell Helicopter is laying off 315 more employees and suspending all new external hiring, it announced on Tuesday, citing declining production of the V-22 military tiltrotor and a softer commercial helicopter market. Bell CEO John Garrison said the move is necessary in the face of "significantly lower V-22 production, the reduced demand across the global commercial rotorcraft industry and our customers' continued demand for cost concessions."
The V-22 is Bell's largest program, and deliveries this year are expected to decline to 21 from 37 last year. Most of the new layoffs will be confined to the Fort Worth, Texas area-where Bell continues to employ 4,750-and come from the ranks of both management and non-management. Bell has announced several rounds of layoffs over the last year.
Owners and operators of 125- and 400-series Hawkers can now sign up for Textron Aviation's ProAdvantage product support programs. The expanded coverage applies to the Hawker 750, 800, 850 and 900, as well as the Hawker 400XP/XPr. Available support includes life-cycle maintenance and parts support for airframes, avionics, engines and APUs. The ProParts element covers line, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and "parts such as wheels and tires, avionics, brakes, motors, actuators, gauges and light bulbs," according to the company, "while ProTech locks in labor costs during the contract period."
The key factor that allowed Textron Aviation to add the Hawkers to ProAdvantage, said company senior vice president of customer service Brad Thress, "is that we got long-term pricing commitments from suppliers. It's hard to build a five-year program if you don't have [these] agreements. We have to know the reliability of every single component on the airplane." ProAdvantage customers who don't use all of their paid-for benefits can receive 70 percent of their unused funds at the end of the five-year program period. "We anticipate this will keep a lot of Hawker and King Air customers happy in the coming years," he said. King Airs were added to the program last year.
Eagle Creek Aviation Services reached an agreement this week to acquire Montgomery Aviation's three FBO/MROs, all based in Indiana at Indianapolis Executive and Frankfort/Clinton County Airports and at the Grissom Aeroplex. Terms of the transaction were not released, and the sale is pending approvals from the respective airport boards.
"Montgomery Aviation has a long history of providing customer service over the last 25 years at Indy Exec Airport, as well as its other Indiana locations," said Eagle Creek CEO Matt Hagans. "Our intent is to continue to build upon what has been established."
According to Eagle Creek, customers should expect to see few changes during the transition and will continue to receive top-notch customer service. It will supplement existing maintenance, charter and aircraft sales operations at Indianapolis Executive, Frankfort and Grissom with Eagle Creek's team. In addition, Eagle Creek will continue to operate its existing facilities at Eagle Creek Airpark in Indianapolis and Naples Jet Center in Naples, Fla.
Glacier Jet Center, the lone FBO at Montana's Glacier Park International Airport, has become the latest location to join the UVair FBO Network. Sponsored by fuel provider Epic and UVair, Universal Weather and Aviation's fueling services division, each of the group's now 26 high-end independent FBOs was selected to participate based on the strength of its facilities, service and safety standards.
Located in Kalispell, the newest FBO, which now accepts the UVair Fueling Card, is convenient to the state's abundant outdoor activities. "We are happy that the UVair Network continues to attract high-quality FBOs in top gateway and resort locations like Glacier Jet Center, an FBO in northwest Montana with easy access to Glacier National Park and amazing freshwater fishing and skiing," said Steve McCullough, Epic's senior v-p for business development and strategy. According to the FBO, customers can land, park and be on the slopes or hiking Glacier National Park in less than 35 minutes.