ACJ family has 10 charter companies flying 15 aircraft
Airbus has discovered a lucrative niche for its Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) family, and charter operators are happy with the OEM's executive/VIP contribution to the market. In a press conference yesterday, Airbus announced that 10 charter providers representing seven countries are now operating a total fleet of 15 aircraft from the ACJ family; a mix of A318 Elites, ACJs (A319s) and A320 Prestiges. Francois Chazelle, v-p of worldwide sales, described the ACJ family as "ideal" for charter needs, providing a better margin for the value even though the operating costs might be "slightly higher" than for a large-cabin business jet. Operators with ACJ jets in charter service–either self-owned or managed–include Acropolis Aviation, UK; Aerodynamics, Inc. (ADI), U.S.; Al Jaber Aviation, UAE; Comlux, Switzerland; Deer Jet, China; DC Aviation, U.S.; GlobalJet Concept, Switzerland; Omni Aviação, Portugal; Skytraders, Australia; and Twinjet Aircraft, UK. Brad Bruce, v-p of flight operations at ADI and part of a panel of operators assembled at the press conference, said the Waterford, Mich.-based company is putting about 1,200 to 1,500 flight hours a year on its ACJ and has a second aircraft on order. He added that after a total of more than 6,000 flight hours, the aircraft boasts a 99.8-percent reliability record. Severine Cosma from Comlux said the Swiss operator has five aircraft in service–three A318 Elites and two ACJs–and an A320 Prestige on order. The company plans to have the A320 outfitted at its completion center in Indianapolis. DC Aviation was already flying an ACJ and added three more this year. Chazelle was blunt as to the number of charter operators who are ordering more airplanes from the ACJ family: "The only thing that competes with an ACJ is another ACJ."