When the Embraer announced the launch of its Embraer Executive Jets division in 2005 and its intent to become “a major player” in the crowded world of business jet manufacturing, eyebrows were raised and there was a certain amount of skepticism. After all, the ambitious Brazilian airframer had just unveiled its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 entry-level and light jets, and its only business jet in service at the time was the Legacy 600, a 16-passenger aircraft derived from its ERJ 135 regional airliner.
GE Aviation (Stand 1143) is here promoting its 800-hp H80 turboprop engine, which was certificated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Adminstration in March and already has several applications. Meanwhile, the HF120 turbofan program–for the HondaJet–has progressed slowly.
The new EASy II flight deck is in full view here at the EBACE show in the cockpit of a Dassault Falcon 900EX. Honeywell, manufacturer of the Primus Epic avionics suite on which the EASy suite is based, has brought the aircraft to Geneva and is offering customer demonstration flights.
The latest Airbus ACJ319 is making its world airshow debut on the EBACE static display. Operated by Swiss-based business aviation services company Comlux (Stand 227), the aircraft can carry 19 passengers and features a cabin by the group’s outfitting arm Comlux America (see page 42).
Prague-based aircraft charter and management provider ABS Jets recorded its best-ever revenues in 2011, breaking the CZK1 billion ($51 million) barrier for the first time. While this represents an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, gross profits increased by 23 percent compared to 2010, to CZK44 million ($2.25 million).
With financing for business aircraft still far from easy to secure, ExecuJet Aviation has stepped up its efforts to help get more people airborne through its SimplyFly Finance program. The plan is to offer fast-access, simplified nonrecourse financing in the shape of five-year loans or leases for up to 70 percent of the value of an aircraft worth at least $20 million and no more than five years old. An initial fund of $400 million provided by ExecuJet’s main shareholder Dermot Desmond is available to support the program.
Private aircraft makeover specialist Flying Colours is embarking on what may well be the company’s most ambitious project. Known for its Execliner renovations, which turn Bombardier’s CRJ family of regional airliners into well-appointed business jets (also known as Challenger 850s), the Canadian cabin completions specialist has begun work on what it describes as its first “fully loaded” CRJ200 conversion.
Business and VIP helicopter sales are recovering, according to Eurocopter. “After the downturn that hit us between late 2008 and early 2010, we are seeing new demand coming from Brazil, Russia, India and China. Moreover, the U.S. is in a healthier position,” Patrice Royer, the manufacturer’s head of business and private aviation sales, told AIN. This segment, however, is deemed fragile, as it is closely tied to the fortunes to those of stock markets, which themselves remain volatile.
Some 10,120 business jets worth $257 billion are expected to be delivered over the next 10 years (2012-2021), according to the third annual industry forecast published late last month by Zenith Jet, a Montreal-based business aviation services company.
Russian engine manufacturer Salut revealed that its backlog for the AL31F series now exceeds 400, thanks largely to orders from China. At the Engines 2000 exhibition in Moscow last month, Salut confirmed that more negotiations with China took place recently, but it declined to provide details. Salut also revealed progress on increased-thrust versions of the AL31F.