On June 6, AvCraft Aviation of Tyler, Texas, received the first STC cabin interior approval for the Fairchild Dornier 328JET, and the aircraft–known as the Envoy 3 in its business aircraft guise–is now in service with an Akron, Ohio advertising and public relations firm, and doing business as Ultimate Air Charters.
To maximize the earning potential of the twinjet AvCraft created three interchangeable interiors for the client’s Envoy 3: a 29-passenger shuttle, an 18-passenger shuttle and a corporate VIP design for 12 passengers. The corporate galley remains in place in the 18- and 12-passenger configurations, but is reduced in size to fit the 29-passenger module. In its typical regional airliner configuration, the 328JET is designed to carry between 32 and 34 passengers.
The Envoy 3 is being managed out of Akron by AvCraft’s AvCraft Jet Charters subsidiary and, according to AvCraft president Mike Winters, the airplane has proved efficient in all three modular configurations, and in particular as a charter shuttle to carry sports teams. The 206 cu ft of baggage space, he said, is an especially attractive aspect of the aircraft, in both shuttle and corporate configuration. The range varies, depending on which interior module is installed: 1,862 nm in the 12-passenger corporate version; 1,710 nm with 18 passengers in shuttle configuration; and 1,368 nm when set up for 29 passengers.
Winters said the company is now at work on corporate versions of two other 328JETs, one for a Mexican client and another for Fairchild Dornier.
Future contracts, however, will depend on the future of Fairchild Dornier itself, as it has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy since this spring. Efforts to sell Fairchild Dornier have so far proved fruitless. Winters is nevertheless hopeful, noting that there are ongoing negotiations to do more Envoy 3s. And there are more 328JETs in airline configuration that might one day appear on the business-jet market as candidates for an Envoy 3 makeover. “In any case,” he concluded, “we’re ready.”