Royal Jet, Abu Dhabi’s luxury air charter operator, postponed its major fleet-replacement orders until the second half of the year after a board meeting last month. However, the company hopes an eventual delivery schedule will not be affected by this delay.
Chief commercial officer Fahad Wali told AIN that the replacement of six existing BBJs with seven new large jets, as well as light and midsize replacements, would likely take place in December. He said he expects the fleet to grow to 11 aircraft from its current 10 by the end of the process. Royal Jet CEO Shane O’Hare told AIN in late February that he expected the orders to be completed by July.
Wali made it clear that the Boeing BBJ Max and Airbus ACJneo are facing stiff competition from a bizliner version of the Bombardier CSeries, currently in certification flight-test. “Bombardier made us a really attractive offer, to be partners in the region,” he said. “The CSeries is a really attractive aircraft. The only thing is, do we want to be the first people to be trying it?”
According to Wali, “The board decision is to extend the whole project to the end of the year. We will have our fleet renewal by 2020.”