Airbus remains tight-lipped on the subject of what it calls the A380 “Flying Palace,” but that hasn’t kept rumors from swirling or designers from developing proposals for a cabin on two levels with some 6,800 sq ft of living space.
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation
When Airbus tentatively entered the corporate jet market a decade ago with the ACJ, its expectations for the airplane were modest. Success would be measured in single-digit sales primarily to wealthy individuals in the Middle East who dreamed of creating miniature flying palaces.
This week’s spate of large-airliner orders, many confirming previous announcements, continued on Wednesday as Airbus and Boeing unveiled further business. More new deals could be revealed today. For example, International Lease Finance Corp. is talking to Airbus about its unresolved requirement for about 16 A350 XWB aircraft.
Following two years of record orders for new jetliners, a principal consideration for the manufacturers is how best to manage assembly and provision of supplies to match the higher rates of aircraft delivery. One way European manufacturer Airbus is addressing this challenge is by establishing a final-assembly line for the A320 series of single-aisle jetliners in China.
To meet surging demand for its executive jets, Airbus is appointing Stork Fokker in the Netherlands as an additional completion center and reviving the defunct company-owned Sogerma completion center located within Airbus’ premises in Toulouse, France. This new facility is called Airbus Corporate Jet Centre and will be independently managed to provide the flexibility needed in the VIP market.
Amid fanfare and the sweet scent of jet fuel, Zurich-based charter operator and A318 Elite launch customer Comlux arrived in Geneva on Sunday with the first example of the business twinjet. It was the airshow debut of this newest member of the Airbus ACJ family, which also includes the ACJ itself and the A320 Prestige.
CFM International has announced that New Delhi, India, will be the location for the company’s fourth aircraft engine maintenance training school. It is slated to open in 2010.
EADS subsidiary Airbus Industrie said that “almost 30 ACJ series aircraft” have been delivered to date and are in service in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East. Airbus declined to give an exact figure. The ACJ, which is based on the Airbus A319, entered service in 1999. In addition to the A319’s airframe, the ACJ includes up to six extra fuel tanks in the cargo hold for increased range.
Netherlands-based Fokker Services, a subsidiary of Stork Aerospace, is in the executive interiors business. Actually, the company has been converting Fokkers for private use since the 1980s, but not so much as a core revenue stream.
Landmark Aviation’s Associated Air Center delivered its seventh Airbus Corporate Jetliner last month and has contracts for three more. Its total of 12 ACJ cabin completion orders makes Associated the preeminent ACJ interiors shop in the U.S., but it is not the only one.