One of the largest aircraft on display here at EBACE is a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 operated by Athens-based Amjet Executive (Booth 819), which has its charter business located here in Geneva. The aircraft is fresh out of the workshop having undergone a major overhaul that has turned an airliner workhorse into a VVIP transport that is fit for a head of state.
The Amjet aircraft is the only MD-83 available for VVIP charter with ETOPS approval, and joins a fleet that includes Falcon 50, 900, 2000 and 7X aircraft, plus a 46-seat Airbus A319. Built in 1992, aircraft SX-IFA was acquired by Amjet from GainJet in 2010. Since January last year the aircraft has undergone a 25,000-man-hour cockpit-to-fuselage refurbishment process in France, and has recently taken to the skies again.
Balancing the requirements of productive and private space, Amjet selected a three-sector configuration for the cabin, which is heavily soundproofed. It is outfitted for the carriage of VVIPs, aides and their staff. In the front of the cabin is a 13-seat VIP lounge arranged to facilitate private discussions. The center section is a private VVIP area, with master bedroom and en suite bathroom, and a private five-seat lounge/office. In the aft section is seating for staff, configured with eight business-class seats and 16 club-class seats. There are four lavatories, in total, telephones, eight TV screens and a 3-D air show system. The hold capacity is nominally 100 bags.
Basing the conversion on a pre-owned airliner has obvious economic benefits compared with dedicated business jets. With a price-tag around one third that of a 35-seat Boeing BBJ, Amjet’s MD-83 is available for charter in its luxurious 42-seat configuration, while for a comparable price a client could hire an aircraft of less than half the size and with no bedroom.
The MD-83 is fitted with 12 fuel tanks, extending its range from the standard 2,500 nm to 4,000 nm, putting much of Asia and Africa, plus northeast America, within range of Europe. The aircraft’s narrowbody configuration also means it is less restricted at airports than a widebody type.