Manufacturers set course for european certification

 - October 4, 2007, 11:23 AM

Bombardier’s Learjet 40 and 45XR were set to receive UK Civil Aviation Authority approval to operate into London City Airport (LCY) before the end of last month. Europe sales director Trevor Lambath told the EBAA Forum that a Learjet 45 completed validation flights at the downtown gateway during the second week of last month.

Individual operators still have to apply to the CAA to have their operating manuals amended, having first proved that their crews are qualified to use LCY’s 5.5-degree steep approach and 4,327-foot runway.

Meanwhile, the Canadian airframer’s new Challenger 300 entered service last month with an undisclosed operator. The Global 5000 achieved certification by Europe’s EASA, ahead of its anticipated approval by the FAA during the fourth quarter of this year.

Cessna is to seek EASA approval for single-pilot operations of its new Citation CJ3. The company expects to complete the certification process by the first quarter of 2006 to coincide with initial deliveries. Trevor Esling, the company’s divisional sales director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that he hopes to have a European demonstration aircraft available by the end of this year.

The U.S. manufacturer displayed a new Citation XLS on the Biggin Hill static display, and the aircraft was set to stay in Europe through the middle of this month for a sales tour. The first XLS to be delivered in Europe is due to go to an Austrian client this month.

Meanwhile, Cessna is pushing to complete EASA certification of the Citation Sovereign during the first quarter of next year, with the first European deliveries set to go to operators in Germany and Austria. Esling explained that, whereas the European certification of the Citation X through the JAAs had taken three-and-a-half years, the certification process for the Sovereign will not be more complicated than that for the FAA. He said that dealing with the European authorities had been a “steep learning curve” for Cessna but that both parties had since adapted to each others’ modus operandi.

The JAA certified the Citation Excel and Cessna is now applying to have that certification transferred to an EASA certification on the basis of “grandfather rights.” This should make it harder for national aviation authorities to enforce costly additional equipment requirements because the EASA is backed by European Union law, whereas JAA certification is essentially just a recommendation that can be adjusted as it is adopted by national authorities.

Esling reported that about 90 of the 250 Citation Mustang entry-level jets currently on order are destined for European owners– mainly air charter operators in Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain. Cessna expects to make the first delivery of the EASA-certified Mustang (priced at $2.4 million) in 2007.

Both the new Gulfstream 450 and 350 are set to complete EASA certification before year-end. Gulfstream European sales manager Paul Robinson told EBAA Forum delegates that Gulfstream partner Israel Aircraft Industries has started cutting metal for the G150, which is due to be rolled out during the first quarter of next year and enter service in the third quarter of 2006.