Hainan Zhong Hangtai General Aviation Airlines Company, the China-based operating entity of Los Angeles, California company Ameritec, placed a firm order for 50 Adam Aircraft A700 very light jets here yesterday. Based on Hainan Island off China’s southern coast, the company already operates Cessna Caravans in charter service in China and plans to sell and charter the A700 as general aviation there grows in the coming years.
Jason Fan, principal of Hainan Zhong Hangtai, had previously signed a letter of intent to buy the A700s, according to Jan D’Angelo, Adam Aircraft senior vice president of international and fleet sales, but yesterday wired the money to turn the intent into a firm order. Fan had ordered one A700 before sealing the deal for 50. The new order brings the A700 backlog to 377 aircraft. Adam is busy working on achieving FAA certification of the A700 by late 2007 or early 2008, according to Rick Adam, founder, chairman and CEO. EASA certification should take place about 90 days after FAA certification. “The next step is getting [Chinese] CAAC certification,” said D’Angelo.
Adam Aircraft has recently added a number of experienced manufacturing personnel and spent many dollars buying new tooling to try to cut production time for the A500 piston twin to 12 weeks from the current 12 months. Because 65 percent of the A700 parts are common to the A500, as A500 production ramps up the A700 will be ready for high-volume production–three airplanes per month–by the time certification is achieved.
Fleet operators like Monaco-based Nexus Jets, which has 96 A700s on order, expect first deliveries not too long after certification next year.
Nexus will use the jets for a jet-card charter service that promises to cut in half the current costs of flying chartered or fractional-share business jets in Europe, according to Svante Kumlin, Nexus chairman and founder.
“The European market is hot,” said D’Angelo. “We’ve been besieged with inquiries.”