Airbus reports no downturn in orders for its bizliners this year. “Our market is not affected,” said François Chazelle, vice president Airbus executive and private aviation, at a press conference here yesterday. “We could sell more aircraft, if it weren’t for the limited capacity at the completion centers, especially with our widebody aircraft. Since the beginning of this year, we’ve actually sold more widebodies than we did during all of last year,” he said.
So far this year Airbus Corporate Jets has sold nine widebody VIP airliners and 14 single-aisle airliners. Since NBAA’07, the EADS company has sold 11 widebodies and 20 single-aisle aircraft. Any of the Airbus airliners can be made into VIP aircraft. These range from the typically 14-passenger A318 Elite to the 100-plus-passenger A380 Prestige. There are more than 150 Airbus Corporate Jetliners operating on every continent, including one in Antarctica.
Chazelle said completion capacity remains a problem, however. Even if an airline customer cancels or delays a delivery, a VIP aircraft can’t necessarily be slipped into the slot. “If an airline delivery slot opens up in 2010, I can’t take it for one of my customers unless I can also find a completions slot for the airplane, and there aren’t any available,” Chazelle said.
Here in Orlando, Airbus is showing an ACJ with a “true VIP cabin” for the first time at an NBAA Convention. The Comlux-owned airplane is on static display at Orlando Executive Airport.