Less than nine months after Airbus Corporate Jets launched the ACJ TwoTwenty with six orders in hand, the first fuselage has arrived at the company's A220 final assembly line in Mirabel, Canada, keeping the aircraft on pace for induction into completions early next year and delivery by 2023, the airframer announced today. Kicking off the EBACE Connect media day on Monday, Airbus Corporate Jets president Benoit Defforge said the development of the TwoTwenty is “progressing in line with our plans,” with final assembly anticipated to begin around mid-year and first flight later in the year, “which means it will be quick.”
Airbus expects to hand over the first edition in early 2022 to Comlux, which is the exclusive outfitter for the first 15 aircraft. Defforge added that the development of ACJ220 completions is also progressing according to plan and highlighted an aircraft configurator application that Airbus Corporate Jets has developed to enable customers to select interior layouts and styling.
While not announcing more orders for the newest member of its ACJ family, Airbus Corporate Jets executives were upbeat about the reception the aircraft has received, with Defforge saying the company has found the “sweet spot” for a model it is positioning as “an alternative to the traditional large-cabin business jet and the bizliner.”
The ACJ TwoTwenty offers six VIP living areas for up to 19 passengers and a 5,650-nm range, but at a price that Airbus Corporate Jets executives say will be under that of an ultra-long-range business jet. Defforge said the model has “opened the door…to a much wider market.”
He was further encouraged by the momentum Airbus Corporate Jets is sustaining in 2021. While conceding that 2020 was a difficult year for Airbus, it marked one of the strongest at Airbus Corporate Jets, with six deliveries—matching the company’s production plans for the ACJ family—and orders for 12. That marked a book-to-bill ratio of 2:1, Defforge noted.
In 2021, he added, “We started the year with the same spirit and the same customer engagement as 2020,” including landing another order for an ACJ319neo and delivery of three ACJs.
The ACJ319neo order, from an unnamed customer, boosts the tally for that model to six. In all, Airbus Corporate Jets has received orders for 16 of the ACJ320 family from 12 customers. The latest order will have the ACJ319neo equipped with CFM International's LEAP-1A engines.
As for the deliveries reported thus far in 2021, two involve ACJ320s and another was for the ACJ350, marking the third of that model to be handed over.
Also on Monday, Defforge announced a partnership agreement with Latécoère Interconnection Systems (LIS) to develop an ACJ Smart LiFi (Light Fidelity) Monitor. Designed as a plug-and-play system, the 4K monitor will incorporate the latest wireless communication technology to offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LiFi connectivity and provide for analog audio output and USB-C ports, as well as HDMI connections.
The system can be used for audio-video on-demand, casting, mirroring, web browsing, live TV, and videoconferencing. Airbus Corporate Jets will offer the monitor for retrofit and new cabin outfitting by year-end.