The Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) family is continuing its worldwide sales success, with 11 new orders plus four commitments logged so far this year - including the first contracts signed with Chinese and U.S. customers.
During a briefing to journalists at the U.S. National Business Aviation Association's annual meeting and convention in Orlando, Florida, Airbus announced that ACJ sales have reached the 50-aircraft milestone. The Airbus Corporate Jetliner family is based on Airbus' best-selling A320 series of single-aisle aircraft, and offers the most spacious cabin in its class.
"We have sold Airbus ACJs to the full range of corporate jet customers, including governments, private individuals, airlines and corporations for shuttle operations," explained Edouard Ullmo, Airbus Senior Vice President of Business Development. "In addition to the new ACJ sales, we are keeping up our delivery pace, with a total of nine Airbus Corporate Jetliners to be delivered this year."
The 2005 ACJ orders include three aircraft for an unnamed Chinese customer, one for India's UB Group, the first repeat order from a private customer (the Middle East's Al Kharafi Group, which was one of the original ACJ customers and operators), and six undisclosed orders - including the U.S. sale of an ACJ to a private individual.
"We have focused our U.S. marketing efforts during the past year, and we already are seeing the results with the initial Airbus ACJ sale, which has just been finalised," Ullmo said. "Now that we've added the American flag to our growing international presence, we will be placing more stars on this flag in the future as we widen our U.S. customer base."
Richard Gaona, the Airbus Vice President for Executive and Private Aviation, announced that as part of the ACJ family's evolution, the aircraft's maximum takeoff weight will be increased by one tonne to 76.5 metric tonnes. This option, which will be available from 2007, will not require structural changes to the aircraft, and will provide the ACJ with approximately 200 naut. miles of additional range or one more tonne of payload.
Other product improvements under development include a head-up display (with the provision for an enhanced visual system) and the onboard use of GSM mobile telephones - both targeted for introduction on the ACJ family at the end of 2006.
Airbus also continues to book new business for VIP versions of its widebody aircraft product line. In addition to the order signed earlier this year for an A340-600 aircraft to be used by a Saudi Arabian client, Airbus has received a new commitment from the Middle East for a VIP version of the A340-500.
"This healthy business volume confirms that Airbus has corporate and VIP aircraft for every need - with the ACJ and our widebody family today, and the A380 available in the future to meet the market's evolving requirements," Gaona said.