MEBAA Convention News

Rizon To Manage Airbus Corporate Jetliner

 - December 6, 2010, 1:37 AM

Rizon Jet will manage and operate a new Airbus Corporate Jetliner for an undisclosed Aranian Gulf customer. The A319 ACJ is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of next year and the completion, to be done at AMAC Aerospace's Basel, Switzerland headquarters, will be finished in the third quarter of 2012. The owner has selected Andrew Winch Design of London to design the ACJ's interior.

This ACJ will be based in Qatar, but won't be available for charter, according to Patrick Enz, chief executive of the Doha-based charter operator. Here at the MEBA show, Rizon Jet is located at Stand C310.

Airbus customers Al Jaber Aviation (AJA) and Comlux each brought Airbus corporate jets for display at this year's MEBA show static park. Abu Dhabi-based AJA is exhibiting here at Stand C300, and this is the first display of the company's A318 Elite at an airshow. Comlux is displaying an ACJ and one of its A318 Elites, and Germany's DC Aviation is here with an ACJ.

AJA's A318 Elite began flying charter trips four months ago from the company's base in Abu Dhabi. Delivery of the bizliner made AJA the first Middle East customer to offer an Airbus corporate jet for VVIP charter flights. AJA's total Airbus orders include four A318 Elites (including the one already in operation) and two A319 ACJs. The company is the largest Airbus customer for charter aircraft in the Middle East.

Switzerland-based Comlux (Chalet A18) has an A318 Elite and ACJ based in Bahrain and is also one of Airbus's largest corporate jet customers. In the charter marketplace, operators offering Airbus corporate jets for charter now number 12, and they are operating more than 15 Airbus aircraft.

AJA's A318 Elite seats up to 19 passengers in a three-zone cabin, with a private office that can be converted into a bedroom. Cabin volume is 5,300 cu ft. For travelers, a major advantage of the A318 Elite is its baggage capacity, which measures 430 cu ft and is capable of carrying 110 standard-size bags. The A318 Elite can fly up to 4,200 nm and has a maximum cruise speed of 460 knots, allowing the jet to reach any European destination from Abu Dhabi.

Each cabin zone offers entertainment system features, including the Rockwell Collins Airshow 4000 information display, power outlets, surround sound and DVD players. The satcom system comes with seven cordless handsets, and onboard wireless Internet allows passengers to use smartphone data features in flight. In the galley, equipment includes a skillet, toaster, convection oven, microwave and full bar. Two lavatories are available for passengers, in the mid-cabin and aft VIP cabin zones, plus there is a separate forward lavatory for crewmembers. The mid-cabin lavatory is an optional feature for the A318 Elite.

"It's been four months that we've been operating the Elite," said Mark Pierotti, chief operating officer for AJA. "It's been a great aircraft. It's the right aircraft for the Middle East, because of its cargo, because of its range, because of its cabin." AJA offers a special level of service called Your Private Airspace, which Pierotti described as "bespoke travel. We design the journey around the customer's needs." This includes all aspects of the trip, down to such details as hiring a "sky-nanny," providing children's movies on the entertainment system for a mother traveling with children and catering calibrated to the customer's dietary needs.

AJA selected the Airbus A318 Elite and also the Embraer models that it operates after holding a contest among four different manufacturers' products. AJA operates two Legacy 600s and one Lineage 1000 and will take delivery of a second Lineage 1000 next week, supplementing the company's growing Airbus fleet.