Airbus Corporate Jets (Static Display) is introducing its new A330-200 “Summit” interior to the Asian market this week at ABACE. Unveiled at the NBAA Convention in October, the interior is designed to increase capacity with both a VIP section in the front and airline-style seating in the rear.
The typical layout would provide options for office, VIP seating and conference area in the front, followed by business class seating for an owner’s advisors and guests and economy seating for support staff.
“What most customers want in a widebody is the ability to carry more people and to fly them nonstop to the world,” said Airbus COO for customers John Leahy, adding that the Summit will provide those capabilities faster and more affordably. The interior is designed to bring the cost of a VIP A330 to below $200 million and shorten completions time to between 24-30 months. The concept could be installed at any completion center with widebody VIP capabilities, but Airbus would install the airline-style seating during production to lower costs and time. “All options are on the table,” said Airbus spokesman David Velupillai.
Airbus has not yet sold a Summit interior, but Velupillai said the concept is generating interest. The company expects the interior will primarily attract interest from government customers that need the mix of higher density and VIP seating.
It developed the concept as customers increasingly are looking at VIP widebody aircraft. Velupillai noted a few governments have moved, or are considering a move, from single-aisle to widebodies, including both the French and Australian governments.
Airbus is introducing the interior to the Asian market as customers increasingly are looking at VIP widebody aircraft, Velupillai noted. Of the 170 VIP Airbus sales to date, 110 have been single-aisle aircraft. The orders have been fairly evenly split between companies, individuals and governments.
Airbus delivered its first ACJ to China in 2005 and has since placed 20 in China, Hong Kong and Macau. Airbus has disclosed sales of ACJ318s or 319s to Deer Jet, China Eastern Executive and BAA Jet Management, among others in the region. Airbus is displaying a Comlux ACJ319 here at ABACE 2015.
The European manufacturer is hoping to capitalize on the trend toward larger cabin aircraft and a growing a growing number of high-net-worth individuals. Last year, Airbus released a study on billionaires that found a growing number worldwide. In China, the number of billionaires is expected to reach about the same number as in the U.S. by 2017, according to the study.
While optimistic long term, Velupillai noted that the market has softened in China somewhat as economic growth has dropped from about 10 percent to 7 percent.
The company sold four ACJs worldwide last year, including one widebody. The value of that business approached $500 million, he estimated. Velupillai conceded that Boeing outsold Airbus last year in VIP sales, but said over the past five years Airbus has outpaced Boeing in the VIP arena.
Airbus also is promoting two new safety technologies that it recently has made available to the ACJ320 family: a runway overrun prevention system (ROPS) and onboard airport surface navigation (OANS).
ROPS combines GPS with an airport database to provide pilots warning of available runway, helping with go-around decision-making and maximizing stopping capabilities. The technology, available for retrofit and forward fit, previously has been available on the A380 and A350.
Like ROPS, OANS fists available on A380 and A350 aircraft. Airbus likens this technology to “GPS satellite navigation in cars,” providing maps of airport layouts and providing greater situational awareness on the ground.