The first of what could be as many as 80 Bombardier Challenger 300 super-midsize jets has entered service with block charter operator XOJet. The airplane features a distinctive interior developed by Bombardier for XOJet. It is on static display at Orlando Executive Airport.
Last year XOJet placed firm orders for 20 Challenger 300s and options for 60 more. Four of those options have been converted to firm orders to date. The San Carlos, Calif.-based company currently operates a fleet of 23 Cessna Citation X aircraft and has plans to build that fleet to 48 of those aircraft plus the Challengers by 2012.
XOJet sells block time to its “members” and also provides straight charter service, according to company vice president of marketing Tony Kavanaugh. Unlike traditional jet card programs, the average XOJet member purchases a comparatively larger block of hours.
“Our average transaction is for 168 guaranteed hours,” Kavanaugh said. Unlike fractional providers, “XOJet maintains the aircraft ownership and manage the asset. We keep the number of members low and sell the excess capacity on the charter market.”
With their Challenger 300s, XOJet sought to “make sure the airplanes are consistent,” said Kavanaugh.
The company came up with three different interior schemes, said XOJet executive vice president and COO David Miller. “We wanted something a little different with more of a forward-looking theme,” Miller said. “That is why we chose graphite.”
Two of the XOJet interior schemes liberally use graphite on galley and lavatory counter tops, side rails, headliner valances and divan trim. The graphite is combined with exotic woods such as eucalyptus. The materials are tied together with plated accents and borders. A third style is “more of a conventional look,” said Miller, as those planes are headed to the Middle East, “where there are different expectations.”
The XOJet Challengers are fitted with six club seats and a three-place, berthing divan. Seat coverings are light leather contrasted with very durable and long-lasting dark carpet. The effect makes the cabin appear more open and spacious. They also are equipped with the Lufthansa Nice cabin management and in-flight entertainment system.
Starting with Serial Number 149, Bombardier made major supplier changes on the Challenger 300 cabin, including seats, furniture and cabin integration. German interior and systems supplier FACC (Fischer) now acts as the cabin integrator and Ipeco manufactures all the cabin and cockpit seating.
Bombardier has made other changes to the Model 300 that are included in the XOJet aircraft. They include a new lightweight (200 pounds) cabin sound insulation system, which helps cut cabin noise to a perceived speech interference level of 56.5 decibels, and a re-engineered and quieter main cabin door. Miller said the quieter cabin goes a long way to making the Challenger 300 “act like a bigger jet.”
XOJet recently announced that it had secured $2.46 billion for fleet expansion.