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.
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation
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.
The Airbus Corporate Jetliner family has just grown bigger, with the introduction of its newest member, the smaller A318 Elite. The Elite offers less range (up to 4,000 nm) and a shorter cabin than the Airbus 320. Airbus said Germany’s Lufthansa Technik will outfit the Elite with a choice of two cabin layouts seating up to 14 and 18 passengers, respectively, with seats clustered in several lounge areas throughout the cabin.
Amid ceremonies December 12 in Toulouse, France, the Airbus A380 received joint type certification approvals from the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency. At 1.19 million pounds, it is the largest airliner ever built and as an executive/VIP bizliner will offer 6,819 sq ft of floor space. It will be capable of carrying several hundred VIP passengers about 8,000 nm.
Recent changes to the proposed Airbus A350 have rendered the planned A330 variant much more competitive against the Boeing 787 in the battle for the “middle of the market,” according to Airbus. The European airframer has refined the design, which now offers more seats and, consequently, lower seat-mile costs.
An undisclosed Saudi Arabian company has ordered a VIP-configured Airbus A340-200. The aircraft, renowned as the world’s longest commercial airliner, is to be delivered green by the end of 2006 and sent for outfitting to an s-yet-unannounced completions center. Jeddah-based National Air Services will operate the A340 on behalf of he client. NAS already flies a fleet of VIP A320 jetliners, including one for the same customer.