EBACE Convention News

Spectrum aims its bizjets at airline passengers

 - May 22, 2007, 8:45 AM

Spectrum Aeronautical, the California-based start-up manufacturer, said it is taking orders for its all-composite business jets “faster than we can build them.”

The company admits it has yet to build a production aircraft, but Spectrum president Austin Blue, son of founder Linden Blue, insisted, “We’re on track for certification and production.” The eight-seat S-33 Independence light jet is due for service entry in 2009 and the nine-seat mid-size S-40 Freedom a year later.

A major part of Spectrum’s sales strategy is to take advantage of what it sees as a coming “revolution” in the way the business aircraft market evolves–with major airlines providing executive jet transport services to first-class and business passengers.

According to Spectrum Aviation Europe chief executive Stefano Sturlese, “airlines will start using this kind of aircraft to extend their first class offer and to provide point-to-point charter services.” He said the next five to 10 years “will see the change coming. We want to be ready for that. Most of our senior managers in Europe are from the airline industry.”

The two aircraft will be constructed using carbon fiber and epoxy composites and be powered by Williams International turbofans. Spectrum is using a new material called fibeX which “takes advantage of automation to provide a high precision, high quality carbon fiber/epoxy laminate.”

Spectrum said the result will be aircraft with lighter weight and higher overall performance, tests having shown that the S-33, cruising at 435 knots, “will burn between 40 percent and 50 percent less fuel than its competitors.” The S-33 is priced at $3.6 million in 2006 dollars, the S-40 at $6.2 million.

The company recently moved its U.S headquarters to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California, and has also added a new 85,000-sq-ft facility to its development center at Provo, Utah, to house development, test and certification activities, bringing total square footage to 130,000. Employment has tripled in two years, says Blue, to around 150.