Airbus is here at ABACE highlighting the cabin features of its ACJ319, which the OEM feels is particularly well suited to Asian needs. Approximately 25 ACJs (the ACJ319 being only one of the models Airbus is offering as a business jet) are based in the Asia Pacific region.
“We have the highest and tallest cabin, [which] visitors can see for themselves,” Airbus marketing director David Velupillai told AIN. This means passengers and crew can move translates into easily throughout the cabin and it allows unencumbered ingress and egress, he said. In addition, the width of the fuselage allows the installation of a relatively large circular table, popular in Asian cultures, while permitting room for a side aisle.
Airbus (Chalet 5) is offering other layout features with Asian customers in mind. “We have delivered an aircraft with a karaoke bar,” Velupillai said. He also thinks the capability of carrying a large group of people is attractive to Chinese customers. This is not contradicting the need for privacy, as the Comlux ACJ319, for instance, has two private rooms–which can be used either as offices or bedrooms–in the aft part of the cabin.
“Our customers want to take their usual elegant surroundings into the air, as well as the people that go with that–a nanny, a business advisor, a chef and so forth. With an aircraft the size of an ACJ, they can take their lifestyle with them,” Velupillai said.
He emphasized that Chinese customers are very keen on buying modern products, hence the attractiveness, he believes, of a fly-by-wire aircraft. Buying an Airbus also means that the owner will have access to a dense, global network of maintenance specialists–virtually everywhere it flies to. “About half of Airbus operators have fewer than five aircraft, so we are used to taking care of small fleets,” Velupillai added.
He mentioned that ACJ319s are flying with Thailand’s and Malaysia’s governments, and two others are operated by Australia-based Skytraders. Unlike other business jet makers, Airbus seems happy with the Indian market, where it has several customers, including Reliance Industries. In China, operators include Deer Jet, China Eastern Executive, Beijing Airlines, China Sonangol and Hong Kong-based BAA Jet Management.
An ACJ319 typically carries up to 19 passengers and has a 6,000-nm range. The list price of an ACJ319, including a typical VIP cabin, is $87 million. One example of an Airbus-approved cabin outfitter in the Asia Pacific is Xiamen, China-based Taeco.