MEBAA Convention News

Airbus Aims to Sell 15 ACJs in the Middle East in the Next Five Years

 - December 8, 2022, 12:04 AM
Airbus Corporate Jets is bullish on the Middle East. It brought an ACJ320neo to the MEBAA 2022 static display in Dubai. (Photo: David McIntosh)

Airbus Corporate Jets racked up six orders and five deliveries worldwide this year, and expects to deliver its first ACJ TwoTwenty to a Dubai-based customer in the upcoming first quarter, company commercial v-p Chadi Saade said Tuesday at MEBAA 2022.

It expects to sell 15 ACJs in the next five years to Middle Eastern government, VIP, and charter operators. Today, it has a pipeline of 15 ACJ TwoTwenties under completion by Comlux at its Indianapolis, Indiana facility for worldwide delivery over the next four years.

“There is strong sales potential for this aircraft in the region,” Saade said. “It will be important to show it around the world. It has opened the door to many new customers for us.”

ACJ is reporting a significant spike in traffic for its business jets year to date—up 42 percent versus the same period in 2019, in terms of the number of departures in the Middle East. Saade said this had made regional charter very complicated due to a lack of aircraft availability.

Worldwide, he said Airbus had one commitment and two deliveries on the ACJ330, one delivery and three orders on the ACJ320neo family, and two deliveries and two orders for the ACJ TwoTwenty so far in 2022.

The ACJ TwoTwenty offers three times the cabin space of a conventional business jet and a 5,650-nm range. The first completed TwoTwenty will be delivered to Five Hotels & Resorts in Dubai early next year.

According to Saade, the Middle East is a very important, but cyclical, market. And with about half of the 270 bizliners in the region over 15 years old, the market is ripe for replacement orders. “These aircraft need to be replaced, and a decision needs to be taken in the [near] future,” he said.

Annual globalbizliners deliveries peaked in 2009 at 19, with 2015 marginally trailing that at 17 units. Bizliner shipmens are expected to continue to rise in the next decade from the six delivered so far this year. The Middle East is the top global market for Airbus bizliners, with the region playing host to 130 ACJs out of a total worldwide fleet of 420.

ACJ also announced Tuesday an agreement with U.S.-based Citadel Completions to enter the ACJ services center network. “Citadel will provide to ACJ customers a wide spectrum of capabilities, including maintenance, engineering, modification, and upgrade services,” Airbus Corporate Jets said. Its existing service center network includes Comlux Indianapolis, Sabena Technics, Bordeaux, Jet Aviation Basel and Dubai, and Haeco Xiamen.