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US-administration proposes to raise taxes on business aviation

A coalition of eight aviation and labor organizations in the US - including NBAA, GAMA, NATA, and the NetJets pilot union - are jointly opposing higher fuel taxes under the Biden Administration’s proposed fiscal year 2025 budget and regulatory changes that "single out business aviation." The FY25 budget plan includes a five-fold fuel tax increase on business aviation as well as changed depreciation schedule for a purchased business aircraft from five to seven years.

“According to a 2018 Harris Poll, 85% of companies relying on an airplane to meet their transportation challenges are small and mid-size enterprises,” the groups wrote. “The passengers aboard a business airplane are typically technicians, mid-level managers and customers, not C-suite executives.” Negative tax proposals would also adversely impact an industry that supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes nearly $250 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. The coalition further warned of their impact to the industry’s continued role as “an innovation incubator”. “Rather than ill-considered tax proposals and regulatory changes, we urge Congress to partner with the business aviation community, which is leading the way in developing new and innovative safety and environmental technologies, connecting communities, creating jobs, and benefiting American businesses of all sizes,” the letter concluded.


New charter operator OPUL Jets launches operations

OPUL Jets is a new UK provider of private air charter services, commencing operations with an initial fleet comprising a Bombardier Global Express XRS and two Bombardier Learjet 40 and Learjet 45 business jets. Two G-registered light jets will be hangared at London Biggin Hill Airport, as well as the Isle of Man’s Ronaldsway Airport, to be joined by additional G-registered aircraft later this year. The Global Express, on the Maltese registry, will be a ‘floating fleet’ aircraft, also available for charter out of Al Maktoum Airport in Dubai. Additional acquisitions will be confirmed over the forthcoming months, with further expansion into the Middle East and Asia also planned.

OPUL Jets was founded last year with offices and operations in London, the Isle of Man, India and Dubai. Harry Ackerman OPUL Jets’ CEO, is overseeing sales, aircraft management and charter. He has experience in the aviation sector, global trade and investment and has served private family offices in the UAE, supporting their international growth strategy in the logistics and aviation sector.


Airbus reveals CityAirbus NextGen prototype eVTOL

Airbus has presented its full electric CityAirbus NextGen prototype to the public, ahead of its maiden flight later this year. The two-tonne class CityAirbus, with a wing span of approximately 12 metres, is being developed to fly with a 80 km range and to reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h, powered by eight rotors with their electric motors. The unveiling coincided with the opening of the new CityAirbus test centre in Donauwörth, which will be dedicated to testing systems for electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOLs). The centre, which is part of Airbus’ ongoing and long-term investment in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), began its operations with the CityAirbus NextGen’s power-on in December 2023 and it will be now used for the remaining tests required before the prototype’s maiden flight later in the year.

At the same time, Airbus is expanding its global network to create an ecosystem that will foster a successful and viable AAM market. Airbus recently signed a partnership agreement with LCI to focus on the development of partnership scenarios and business models in three core AAM areas: strategy, commercialisation and financing.


People: Lynda Coffman: New CEO of Woman in Aviation International

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

The Women in Aviation International (WAI) board of directors announced that Lynda Coffman took over the position of CEO on January 22, 2024. WAI is world's largest organization to advance woman in aviation. She will lead the future business development and strategic direction of the 17,000-member strong nonprofit organization while partnering with the board of directors and overseeing staff and daily operations.

Most recently, Lynda served as vice president of United Airlines and president of United Ground Express, a wholly owned airport operating subsidiary of United Airlines. She will draw on her over 30 years of successful leadership positions at United in various roles that highlight her passion for financial management, operational oversight, strategic planning, and talent retention. Lynda has served on multiple private company and nonprofit boards and has received several awards for her influential contributions. A strong communicator dedicated to inspiring youth in aviation and aerospace, Lynda has also held numerous leadership and sponsorship roles supporting initiatives to champion diversity. She has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Santa Clara University and a Master of Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Lynda resides in Barrington, Illinois, with her husband, and they have a daughter.

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