The recent award of three new completions contracts for VIP versions of Airbus and Boeing aircraft have prompted Comlux America to begin construction of a new hangar at its Indianapolis headquarters. The 64,500-sq-ft building is due to open in the second quarter of 2012 and will be able to accommodate four jets up to the size of a Boeing BBJ3.
Air transports of heads of state and government
There were 136 private jets registered in India as of mid-March, according to new data published by the Firestone Management Group. Over the past 36 months, no fewer than 43 aircraft have been delivered to customers in India, representing a growth rate of 46 percent.
A couple observations from the GAMA 1Q general aviation aircraft delivery stats released yesterday. While business jet shipments are down 15 percent–to 350 deliveries in the quarter–from the year-ago period, manufacturers are shipping more of the higher-end jets (large cabin and bizliners), which caused billings to rise 7.1 percent to $4.64 billion.
Jet Aviation recently added three Boeing Business Jets–one BBJ and two BBJ2s–to its managed fleet in Europe. The two BBJ2s are the first of that model to enter Jet Aviation’s fleet, bringing the total number of managed BBJs to five. The Boeing Business Jets are three of nine new aircraft recently added to Jet Aviation’s worldwide managed fleet, which totals 116 aircraft.
A persistently optimistic outlook was in evidence at the first Large Executive & VIP Aircraft Conference: Opening speaker Arnaud Martin, program director of corporate and VIP aircraft for Airbus, noted that while sales are suffering as a result of a depressed U.S. economy, “The market is still alive.” The event, held December 11 and 12 in Hamburg, Germany, attracted some 50 delegates.
• The Hellenic Air Force was expected to take delivery in late February or early March of a new Gulfstream V contracted for in late March last year.
Last month the Indian Government signed for five Embraer Legacy Executives for head-of-state use. Four of the twinjets, which are business-jet versions of the ERJ-135 regional airliner, will replace the BAE Systems Avro quad-jets operated by the Palam-based Air HQ Communication Squadron of the Indian Air Force, which transports the country’s president, vice president and prime minister, among other dignitaries.
Russia’s new airframing consortium OAK has won government approval to continue limited production of widebody airliners. This covers assembly of 15 Ilyushin Il-96s in the 2008 to 2012 time frame, allowing the Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (VASO) to maintain annual production rates of three aircraft.
Battle lines are being drawn as Boeing Business Jets, which saw sales of its BBJ series slow to a trickle over the past couple of years, now faces the serious challenge of an aggressive competitor in a reviving economic environment.
The opening rounds came at the NBAA Convention in October when Boeing Business Jets and archrival Airbus traded barbs.
Latin America’s business jet fleet has seen modest growth over the past 12 months, but it has still not achieved any substantial increase over the past decade. As of December 31 last year there were a total of 907 jet-powered business aircraft registered in 15 Latin American countries monitored by aviation consulting group Airclaims–up by slightly less than 5 percent from the 2003 total of 868.