Jet Aviation Basel, one of Europe’s largest completion facilities, has to live with the long lead times unavoidable in its business, but they can be a blessing in recessionary times. The company has a several-year backlog for large airline-sized aircraft and a little less for purpose-built business jets, which should allow it to bridge a possible reduction in new orders.
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation
Airbus delivered the 500th A321 ever produced to Air France during a ceremony held last Friday at the manufacturer’s Hamburg, Germany delivery center. The largest member of the A320 family, the A321 seats 174 passengers in the two-class layout chosen by France’s flag carrier. The airline also served as the type’s launch customer when Airbus delivered the first A321 in 1994.
The Al Jaber Aviation order for ACJ and Elite members of the Airbus business jet family announced Sunday (see page one) marks the first in the Middle East to specify long-range fuel tanks, giving longer legs for operations from Dubai or Abu Dhabi. From the smallest in the Airbus range based on the A318, to the giant A380 Prestige, the ability to offer nonstop flights between major cities adds to the attraction of aircraft that set the highes
Airbus this morning is expected to announce more orders for the various executive and VIP versions of its single-aisle and wide-body airliners. The latest sales breakthroughs seemingly vindicate the European airframer’s decision to effectively base this part of its business at a new office here in Dubai.
Comlux Aviation is set to further boost its standing as the world’s largest operator of Airbus corporate and VIP aircraft with the announcement of another new order here at the MEBA show today. At the same time, the Swiss-based group has been expanding its business aviation services portfolio by increasing its cabin completions capability.
The Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) on display here at the MEBA show is the first to be shown with a true VIP interior. The aircraft is operated by Swiss-based charter and management company Comlux Aviation. It makes full use of its ample interior dimensions, starting with a bedroom with ensuite bathroom at the front of the cabin, with a lounge and dining area in the center and 12 first-class seats in the rear section.
Comlux announced the formation of Comlux America and the acquisition by that entity of independent completion and refurbishment specialist Indianapolis Jet Center.
According to Comlux Group chief marketing officer Severine Cosma, the move is part of a growth strategy put into place by Comlux president and CEO Richard Gaona shortly after he assumed control of the Zurich-based charter and aircraft management company last November.
Jet Aviation recently signed two letters of intent with customers for the interior completion of two Airbus A350-900 XWB (extra-widebody) executive/VIP jets.
Airbus (Booth No. 4776) announced here at the NBAA show that it has received 23 orders so far in 2008, including 14 for single-aisle models (five A318s and nine ACJs) and nine for widebodies (eight A350s and one A340). Many of these orders came from undisclosed customers, but Airbus did reveal the names of several buyers, including Jet Alliance (one ACJ and two A318 Elites) and Saudi Arabia-based MAZ Aviation (six A350s).
Call it the super-sizing of the large-cabin business jet. Orders for executive-configured airliners are far exceeding manufacturers’ projections.
“We’ve seen quite a jump in orders for these aircraft,” said David Velupillai, marketing director for Airbus’ executive and private aviation division. “We’ve sold a lot more than we expected.”