Airbus is expanding its portfolio of ACJ neos in the marketplace, delivering the first two ACJ320neos earlier this year and preparing to deliver the initial ACJ319neo in the coming weeks.
The European manufacturer kicked off the flight test campaign for the ACJ319neo last month, with an initial one-hour and 55-minute mission taking place on April 24. That was followed with a record 7,000-nm flight. Lasting 16 hours and 10 minutes, the flight was the longest ever for the A320 family, said Airbus Corporate Jets (Booth Z55). The aircraft flew from Toulouse to northern Greenland and back, simulating a diversion under 180-minute ETOPS rules.
Incorporating wingtip mounted sharklets, five additional center fuel tanks and either CFM Leap-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines, the ACJ319neo has a maximum range of 6,749 nm with eight passengers. It further has a lower average cabin altitude of 6,400 feet. The first of the model will be handed over to K5 Aviation and outfitted by Fokker Techniek in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Airbus delivered the first ACJ320neo to Acropolis Aviation in January, and then the second to Comlux in March. The ACJ320neo offers the same engine choices but incorporates four additional center fuel tanks that enable the aircraft to fly 25 passengers 6,000 nm. Airbus Corporate Jets has secured orders and commitments for 15 of the ACJ320neo family in all.
In addition, Airbus Corporate Jets received an order from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for one of the newest members of the neo family, an A321LR. The order, Airbus Corporate Jets said, launches a new role for its family. Four Seasons provides luxury tour packages around the world through its Four Seasons Private Jet service. To enter service in 2021, the A321LR will replace a Boeing 757 currently operated by the resort specialist for its Private Jet operations.
“Building on the tremendous success of our Private Jet program to date, with consistent sellouts, waitlists, and near perfect guest satisfaction rates, our drive to continuously innovate and push the conventional limits of travel has led to this new opportunity to experience Four Seasons like never before,” said Christian Clerc, president of worldwide hotel operations, in announcing the order. The aircraft will be designed with a spacious lounge, 48 lie-flat seats with ottomans, and two large washrooms. EASA and the U.S. FAA granted certification for the A321LR last fall. Also incorporating the new engines and wingtip-mounted sharklets, the A321LR is fitted with three additional fuel tanks, giving it a 4,000-nm range.
Airbus Corporate Jets has experienced a strong start to the year with its widebodies as well, bringing in announced orders for four ACJ350s. Germany became the first government customer for the ACJ350-900 XWB, placing an order for three of the model. The aircraft will be configured for a mix of government, troop transport, and medical evacuation roles, with the delivery of the initial aircraft in 2020 and the next two in 2022.
The ACJ350s will be designed using ACJ’s Easyfit cabin-outfitting concept that involves pre-installed attachments and standardized interfaces to simplify the installation of walls and furniture in the carbon-fiber fuselage. The aircraft can fly 25 passengers 11,100 nm or up to 22 hours. In addition to the German government order, Airbus Corporate Jets said it has received an order for a fourth, also using the Easyfit cabin, from a private customer.
Currently, about 200 Airbus corporate jets are in service, flying on every continent, including Antarctica. At EBACE, Airbus Corporate Jets is displaying an ACJ319 in the static park (SD101). K5 operates the aircraft for VVIP charter and can fly up to 19 passengers. The aircraft can be viewed by appointment.