ABACE Convention News

ACJ Touts Big Cabin at ABACE

 - April 15, 2013, 3:45 AM

Airbus Corporate Jets (Chalet 290), the VIP aircraft sales division of Airbus, sees big opportunities for executive transport in the China market and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Here at ABACE 2013 it is highlighting the big-cabin solutions it offers with its family of VIP airliners.

“China is the fastest growing business jet market in the world, and because in the business jet market the most important thing is the cabin, the show will allow us to showcase the cabin on the Airbus Corporate Jet,” David Velupillai, Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) director of marketing, told attendees at the company’s press conference here yesterday. “We have the widest and tallest cabin of any business jet.”

To make its point, ACJ is showing a Shanghai-based ACJ318, which is owned and operated by Swiss air charter provider Comlux (Chalet 390), on the ABACE on static display.

The regional market has responded positively to ACJ’s pitch, Velupillai said. At the end of 2011, five ACJs were operating in China, Hong Kong and Macao, and by the end of 2012 that number had increased to about 20. Operators flying ACJs in the Asia Pacific region include BAA Jet Management, Beijing Airlines, China Eastern Executive Aviation, Deer Jet, Hong Kong Jet and Tag Aviation, as well as several private owners.

ACJ recently introduced its optional Phoenix cabin interior for the ACJ318 aimed at the China market, featuring a color palette of red and gold, and options including a karaoke bar and a round table in the main cabin. “The round table is particularly important in China,” Velupillai said. “It’s the focus of family life.” The ACJ’s width allows ample room for passage on the sides of the six-place round table, and it can be quickly converted to a square table for playing games, such as Mah Jong.

With the ACJ318 Enhanced program, announced at the National Business Aviation Association Convention in Orlando, Florida, last year, ACJ has drawn a number of developments from the larger family members into the ACJ318, some of which have become standard features, while others are available as new options. To improve passenger comfort, ACJ has added stylish “Benvolio” seats (as a third seating option), mood lighting, noise reduction in key areas and humidifiers. A shower option is now available, as is a cinema lounge with a U-shaped divan. The new interior design features reworked lining and LED lighting. The cabin can be outfitted with high-definition screens and Wi-Fi throughout, along with a GSM system that allows passengers to use their cell phones through their own networks. Compatibility with iPads and similar devices is alsoinstalled.

Airbus Corporate Jets expects to deliver the first ACJ318 Enhanced in the fourth quarter of this year. During this year the company will also begin delivering ACJs fitted with sharklet wingtip extensions (an option), including the first ACJ321 forComlux. The winglets reduce fuel consumption 4 percent and “look cool,” said Velupillai.

The other single-aisle ACJ family members (the ACJ319, ACJ320 and ACJ321) are delivered green, and the company has eight approved cabin completion centers, including Lufthansa Technik, Jet Aviation, Associated Air Center and Comlux. Taeco, based in Xiamen, was recently added to the list. ACJ invites attendees to visit its chalet to schedule a tour of its aircraft on static display. o